Across the Pacific
June 15, 2007 Day 21
Up at 6:00am for a breakfast of hot cocoa and oatmeal. We had some maintenance to perform this morning before we got started. Alcohol stove needed re-filling which meant pulling the jug out of the aft locker. The cat box needs changing so we also have to dig into the starboard locker. With those chores done it was time to start the motor and slog along. We plan to run the motor for at least an hour to charge the house bank. I hate running the engine but not as much as Bree who is currently skulking in her hidey hole, at least she isn’t yowling. We made 10 miles drifting in the correct direction last night with just a bit of west thrown in. Chuck looked much better this morning but after digging around head down in the lockers and the motion of the boat while under power he is looking pretty green. The weather is brisk this morning and the skies are still overcast but at least it’s not raining.
Hygrometer is at 90 percent. Temp in the cabin is 66 degrees. We ran the water maker for 1:15 minutes and the engine for 1:50. It is raining again.
Rain has stopped for now. Fog is thick all around with no hint of a sun. I feel like we are sailing through "The Twilight Zone" or a Stephen King novel. We are averaging 6 knots but it feels like we are going nowhere.
I forgot to mention my shark yesterday. At first I thought it was a small oil slick but when it was within 20’ of the boat it detoured around us and I glimpsed a dorsal fin. He looked to be 5-6 feet long.
Barometer has not moved and we are still surrounded by fog of gloom. We will heave to again around 8:00 when it gets dark. Hate to make a habit of this but it is positively miserable on watch when you can’t even see your hand. I will make supper for Chuck when he comes in and we can visit for a little while again tonight. Cold but at least not wet, temp in cabin is 62 degrees. I will light the lanterns soon to warm the cabin up a bit before Chuck comes down.
Hove to. Chuck has spotted thousands of jelly fish floating by on the surface. They look like little pieces of plastic. Their body is clear with a small fin sticking out of the water which catches the wind like a sail. They are surrounded by a dark blue ring with delicate tentacles about an inch long. (Velella Velella)
June 16, 2007 Day 22
Rain, rain, rain and more rain with little or no wind to speak of blowing from the West. We had breakfast of oatmeal with blueberries and walnuts along with a cup of hot cocoa. Listening to “The Beach Boys”. It is getting harder and harder to get up in the morning and go outside to face the weather.
Put up the main and saw a small boost in our speed, 5 to 5.5 knots. Barometer is holding steady. The bedding is now getting wet from the condensation dripping on it. It’s going to take some time to dry the boat out when we get in and I foresee many long hours at the Laundromat. Bree has become our official lap and hand warmer. Nice cold hand on nice warm tummy, feels so good and she never complains. I’ve been thinking about the book Berserk, I cannot imagine how three guys managed to stuff themselves in a Vega and sail to the Antarctic. It’s hard enough with the two of us shifting around in the cabin with wet, cold gear, let alone three. Winds have taken on a more Westerly direction. We are now heading 45 – 60 degrees. A good sign.
Winds decreasing, our speed has dropped to 3 – 4 knots and it’s still raining. Chuck has been fantasizing about propping his feet in front of an open fire. I suggested we could build a fire in the cockpit since we have plenty of spare oak and some lighter fluid on board…maybe tomorrow…
Hygrometer is at 95 percent and the cabin temp is 58 degrees. O.K it’s official. BRRRRR
It wouldn’t be so bad if everything weren’t so wet. Still sprinkling outside but there is some blue sky ahead, a long way ahead, but it is there. Current heading is 350 degrees and our speed is 4 knots. Barometer is holding steady and we have mild seas.
THE SUN. We have broken through the Fog of Doom. Clear skies ahead, for the moment. I remember us discussing buying a heater for the cabin but I can’t remember why we decided not to. What were we thinking? Add to our “West Marine” list for when we get in.
We are drifting at 1.7 – 2 knots on a direct course toward Cape Flattery.
June 17, 2007 Day 23
Cabin temp 60 degrees
Breakfast of oatmeal with raisins, walnuts and hot cocoa. I’m pleased to report Chuck had no symptoms of seasickness at all yesterday or so far this morning. He has lost a fair amount of weight and I was pleased to see him eat heartily last night. We had mushroom soup with crackers shared out of the pot followed by a cup of hot cocoa and a few squares of Ritters Chocolates. It was nice not to have him pass out from exhaustion before, during and immediately after the meal. Bree was very playful for most of the night, jumping around and poking into nooks and crannies that she has “never seen before”. Her appetite is still not up to par but is getting better every day. Day 23 also brings our official turn towards Cape Flattery. Yesterday we had Westerlies blowing on and off but mostly on during the last half of the day, so we are now on the downward leg of our trip. I can tell Bree was ecstatic! We still have 8 degrees North and 35 degrees East to go. With the show of sun and the absence of seasickness Chuck is merrily talking to himself and the boat and will occasionally break into song. Temperature is the same but with the sunshine and the absence of rain it feels much warmer.
Yowza! Rocking along at 7 – 8 knots. There are some large waves kicking us around but otherwise the boat is handling very well. Barometer is up again and the sun is still showing. I think dinner will have to be a freeze dried meal again since the boat is moving about way too much to attempt cooking anything.
Hove to at 10 but did not log our GPS coordinates. We had a great day of sailing and pulled the main down at change of watch at 8pm. I stayed on watch until 10, as long as I could in the cold then came below for some cocoa and chocolate. The boat is moving about quite a lot so sleep tonight should be interesting. Chuck, so far, remains free of seasickness making this Day 2 although he is still perpetually tired. Bree, on the other hand, is leaping and bounding around the cabin this evening having a great time with the rocking motion. Our butane lighter for the stove is giving us trouble which I believe is related to moisture. I’ll store it in a plastic bag from now on to see if it helps. We will be in big trouble if we are unable to light the stove or lanterns. Chuck’s lighter has stopped working as well so it must be related to the dampness. The starboard winch drum was giving me problems tonight. I tried using a winch handle to tighten the jib sheet when heaving to and it wouldn’t turn. Guess it will need servicing when we arrive in Seattle. We had to raise the radar reflector another 6 inches as it was rubbing on the shrouds and almost wore through the line. All the sail ties lashing the genoa down needed to be tightened during deck check tonight. Everything else is looking good.
June 18, 2007 Day 24
The sun is shining. We hove to again last night just after 10. I stayed out as long as possible before it just got too cold. Winds are blowing out of the North this morning. “That’s disappointing” was all Chuck had to say about that. We ran the water maker for 1:45 yesterday. At least with the sun shining we don’t have to worry about the batteries.
My chores are done and the water maker is running again. Morning chores consist of washing up the breakfast dishes, putting away the bedding, cleaning the rugs, cleaning the cat box and putting a pot of water on to boil for the thermos. By the time I finish the chores I generally have half an hour to relax before I need to get ready for my watch. Only 3 packages of Ramen noodles left. Chuck has been making me a cup of noodles after he gets in from his watch and I eat them in the cockpit. They are a perfect, crap day, easy to make lunch. Note to self for next voyage. Bring more noodles. We started with only 10 packages. I did not count on this weather and had planned on being able to cook more. Learned a lot so far…and it’s all good.
We have changed our watch schedule 2 ½ hours. It’s long enough to get cold but not thoroughly chilled. Hopefully we won’t have to continue on this schedule for the rest of the trip. We’ve lost major mileage by heaving to every night for the last week but I think it was necessary for Chuck to get better. We definitely have some mileage to make up. At our current speed and distance we are still 2 weeks away.
I thought the crew could use a morale boost so I made a Chicken and Bean Chimichanga for lunch. Tasty. Bree was pleased since she got the water from the can of chicken. Tuna is her favorite but chicken will do in a pinch. This treat did, however, use up the last of our tortillas.
June 19, 2007 Day 25
A long, long night of 2 hour watches being woken up 15 minutes before the start of watch so you have time to get ready. Chuck has been doing O.K. these last few days but with the cold and lack of sleep he became sick again last night. Thankfully the tiller is lashed and we are able to relax a bit on watch but our presence is required since it needs adjusting every 20 minutes or so. Water is on the boil, we ran out last night with so many watches. I had been planning a good hearty breakfast but we’ll have to wait and see.
I have no idea what Bree is making of all this since she is being awaken every 2 hours as well and must be wondering why we keep getting up and going outside. She has been very attentive to the process of us putting on our foul weather gear and frequently walks on mine giving it a thorough sniff after each watch.
We are currently on a heading of 30 degrees with a speed of 5 – 6 knots and have been doing so for most of the night. Chuck says we were on a heading of 0 degrees for a few hours. If Chuck continues to be sick we will have to start heaving to in the evening again or I will not have much of a husband left by the time we arrive.
“Were doomed. We’re going to be out here forever” – Quote from a seasick Chuck.
Huddled in the companionway. The tiller is lashed and steering consistently so we are able to take a break out of the cold. Chuck is huddled in the sleeping bag with Bree doing her part to keep his feet warm. Breakfast of freeze dried scrambled eggs with bacon and oatmeal pancakes with a cup of cocoa. We needed something substantial for breakfast this morning. Currently writing and munching on some crackers with a cup of hot water. The simple things in life. Jelly fish are still everywhere passing by dozens every second. One washed on deck this morning and I was hoping to get a picture but it washed away again leaving only some broken blue tentacles in its place. Chuck saw a large ray this morning floating on the surface which he estimates was about 6 feet. We’ve seen no other animals except birds riding the currents looking for a meal. Will have to run the engine tomorrow if we don’t get any sun today. The house bank is down and will need to be re-charged but we don’t need to run the water maker today. Down to the last roll of toilet paper. We wouldn’t have used so much except this was the environmentally friendly stuff which dissolves quickly….while you are using it. Yuk!
The tiller is lashed and we are on a course of 60 degrees. I am on watch, clipped in, but sitting below out of the cold and poking my head out very 10 or 15 minutes. It is a nice evening, the clouds are thick but not menacing, I would give a lot right now to see a glimpse of the moon or stars tonight. It seems like forever since we’ve seen them and I am eager to do so again. Chuck and Bree are dozing on the couch. I’ll try to stay on watch as long as possible tonight to give Chuck some extra sleep as he did for me earlier. I got a solid 4 hours of sleep and it felt good. My problem now is boredom. I am still determined to read only one book on this trip, deliberately not bringing any others, but my problem now is light. I don’t want to disturb Chuck so most of the time I am alone with just my thoughts in the dark. We talked about getting an IPOD but I’m not convinced they are such a good idea. I believe you need to hear what is happening outside. Of course, Beach Boys, Chris Isaac or Hawaiian Slack Key does sound like a real treat right now….
My neck and shoulders are getting terribly sore from being hunched against the cold for so long. The thought of a hot tub at the moment almost makes me want to weep. Yes indeed, we’ve learned a lot on this trip. I am looking forward to cruising in the beauty of the San Juans but we have a lot of work to do on the boat when we get in and before we can proceed. I am already thinking a short stint at a West Marine in Seattle would be a good idea. We need to buy some stuff and could certainly use the discount. Very disappointing to think we might miss the rendezvous. I am so looking forward to visiting with our Vegatarian friends. Mostly I just want the rest of the trip to go as smoothly and as quickly as possible for Chuck’s sake. With last night’s watch schedule he says he only got about a half hour sleep which explains why he was sick again this morning. Hopefully he will be able to get more tonight since we are at least able to sit below and he can stay warmer. Please let there be just a hint of sun tomorrow. Sitting in the dark I can see the light for the stereo is on. Switching it “off” does nothing. I wonder how much that is draining our power…..
June 20, 2007 Day 26
Brrrr, another cold morning followed by another cold night of two hour watches. The sun is coming up, or at least I think it is, since the sky is getting brighter. We are still surrounded by dark grey clouds that never seem to go away. World Cruising Routes talks about this route as being nearly impossible to accomplish by celestial navigation. The author should have simply written “Don’t plan on seeing the sun, moon or stars for 2 – 3 weeks.” The time passes so quickly when you are in the bunk and very slowly when sitting up. It would be a sweet thing if the reverse were true. Just a glimpse of the sun today would lift both our spirits tremendously as well as the re-charge the batteries. Both could use the boost. Bree stayed up and played with me for a good portion of my last two watches. It was certainly nice to have the company.
O Glory! The sun does still exist. A much needed break for both our morale and the batteries. For the first time in weeks I’m in the cockpit not wearing a full set of foul weather gear with five layers underneath, rather only three with just my bibs and no gloves. The breeze is still brisk but the warmth from the sun is marvelous. No dark clouds anywhere to be seen. We are currently averaging 5 knots under the working jib. The tiller has been lashed and unattended for the last six hours. Filled alcohol burners and both the lanterns this morning. We have plenty of alcohol but are down to just one re-fill for the lanterns. We still have 2 spare lanterns which are full that we can pull out and use if needed. We have several items drying in the cockpit that have been wet forever. Hoping no waves break over and soak with salt water. These are wet from the last rain so should dry out O.K. I had to go forward last night and adjust the sail ties on the genoa. Thankfully Chuck noticed it was hanging in the water. I had checked them that morning but not that evening. Lesson learned. Fortunately floggings are no longer in fashion. We had a hearty breakfast of oatmeal cooked with raisins and walnuts, and three eggs and are waiting to see how much the batteries charge today before deciding if we need to run the motor. We need to run the water maker sometime today. I had one of my killer headaches this morning. It has been on the edge for the last two days which I put down to our watch schedule. It’s been so long since I’ve had one I had forgotten the signs. Chuck picked up on it as soon as I mentioned it so I took two Tylenol and laid down for an extra 20 minutes and woke up with a whole new self. Chuck took an extra long watch to let me sleep longer and by the time I finished cleaning up from breakfast, filling the stove and lanterns he had been on watch nearly six hours. Would love to open the forward hatch to get some air circulation through the boat and try to dry some things out but we are still taking the occasional wave over the bow, a risk I’m not willing to take.
Current heading is 60 degrees, speed 5 knots. Chuck’s noon position still puts us at least 12 days out. We could push the boat harder but it’s not worth it. We’re not out to make any records and we don’t want anything to break. If we hadn’t had to heave to for so many nights in a row we would be farther ahead but I think we made the right decision. Winds are not consistent enough to lash the tiller and neither of us would have lasted long in the cold and pouring rain. Sun has poked behind some clouds for just a few minutes to long and it’s getting cold so time to get below.
A day of rest. The sun had been shining on and off for most of the day but mostly “on”. I got out of bed at one and Chuck climbed in after and is still there dozing on and off. Our course has been holding steady all day with the tiller lashed. I spent most of my afternoon reading the Bible, cleaning the boat, playing with Bree and talking to Chuck whenever he was awake. Lunch of mushroom soup with crackers shared out of the pot with a cup of tea and two squares of chocolate for a treat. Moved Bree’s litter box forward and got a dirty look for it. She has been extremely playful today and her appetite is improved. Her “port gut” is gone and she is looking lean in the haunches but looks good.
Sweet day. Both of us got in some well needed rest. Unfortunately, Chuck didn’t get much sleep. He lays down but just can’t get to sleep. We have spent most of the day inside the cabin staying warm. I am currently on watch, dressed and ready to go outside but sitting at the table with a lap blanket and a hot cup of tea. The tiller is lashed as it has been for the last two days now and only needs a minor correction now and then to stay on course. Winds are consistent and our course is 60 degree. We are still opting for two hour watch schedules, which has been much harder on Chuck than me. We haven’t seen another boat since the last sighting well over a week ago, but the need to keep constant watch doesn’t go away, as much as I would love to curl up beside Chuck right now. Cards or some sort of simple game would be a welcome diversion at the moment. Endless cups of tea only go so far to keep the mind awake.
June 21, 2007 Day 27
My first watch was uneventful. Chuck spent 30 minutes in the cockpit re-setting the tiller when the wind died down. So far everything is going smoothly.
Temp in the cabin showing 58 degrees. I’m convinced the thermometer is broken because it can’t possibly be that warm in here. It is so hard to crawl out of the sleeping bag when it is your turn for watch. Both Chuck and I have started sleeping with some of our clothes in the bag with us so they will be warm when it is time to put them back on. I’m sitting here drinking another cup of tea and planning breakfast. So far it doesn’t look like another sunny day which means we will likely be running the engine today. The batteries got a bit of a boost yesterday but not enough to run the water maker for the length of time it needs to be run today. Bree has taken to sleeping with her face completely buried in the blankets. The only reason I can think of is that her nose is cold. Of course, Chuck and I have both taken to sleeping with our heads buried under the sleeping bag too so who can blame her.
Finished with our breakfast. Chuck ate and fell back to sleep again.
Started the motor and plan on running it for two hours. I put Bree in her box to piddle when the alarm sounded then made her rest on the bed. She positively hates the motor. By the time we are done cruising in the San Juan area she should be used to it. I can’t say she is all wrong, I hate it too. I just don’t pee every time it comes on…..
Sigh, it’s going to be a long two hours.
Another easy day. No sun but it was definitely warmer. We ran the engine for a total of four hours to fully charge the batteries. Water maker run for 1:45. We re-charged the batteries in the camera and laptop with the inverter and downloaded all material on the camera onto Chuck’s hard drive. I went forward and put two more sail ties on the geonoa as it came free again this afternoon. Chuck took down the radar reflector and made some adjustments to the harness since it was starting to chafe the halyard Lunch of mushroom soup and crackers again, starting to be a favorite, and dinner of chili with corn and parmesan cheese. Chuck is still getting sick. He had a relatively good afternoon but got sick soon after fixing the radar reflector. He is getting extremely frustrated with his inability to do anything physical without paying for it immediately after. We shared a cup of cocoa and each had two squares of chocolate then sat on the couch for some quiet time together which we haven’t had for some time. Bree is getting more adventurous every day. She has taken to casually walking by the companionway on the way to her food bowl and sitting just inside the canvas poking her head out for 20 – 30 seconds at a time. If the weather continues to improve I expect to see her venture into the cockpit soon. Still sitting on the couch with Bree curled up on my lap and Chuck curled up with his feet tucked under my legs for warmth. I guess I have first watch. A nice ending to a nice day.
June 22, 2007 Day 28
Off to a rambunctious morning. The tiller is still lashed and the boat is inclined to steer 0 degrees no matter what. We’ve been taking some rather large amounts of water over the bow and into the cockpit. Hot and hearty breakfast of Corned Beef Hash with ½ an onion plus some crackers and a cup of coffee. Chuck wasn’t able to finish either and was looking a bit green but hasn’t been sick so far. Sky is bright but completely overcast. It doesn’t look like we will see the sun today. Bree is acting pouty like she thinks we are going to start the motor again. Temp in the cabin is 60 degrees although, again, it feels much colder. Hygrometer has come down and now reads 78 percent but there is still water dripping from several places in the cabin. Chuck’s birthday is tomorrow. I spent most of my watch last night mentally going through food our stores thinking of something special to make for breakfast and dinner. I figure blueberry pancakes for breakfast, weather permitting, chicken curry with brown rice and a raspberry crumble for desert. All of course subject to change if I think of something better. I would have more fun planning if Chuck were feeling better. He won’t even be able to enjoy a glass of wine or a shot of whiskey and a cigar on his birthday. Guess I’ll have to give him a rain check. I’m dreading the thought of pulling everything out of the forward bunk when we get in. I’m sure the foam is soaked through even though I put a piece of canvas over top. Learned a lot and I will definitely stow differently the next time. There sure is a big difference between a cruising boat and your home. All our belongings are on board and even though we culled quite a bit of stuff before we left I know we will be down sizing again when we get in. We have way too much stuff. We also need to find a better place to stow the anchor as it is blocking the head door from being opened. We don’t need anything in there but one of the tool kits is mounted on the backside of the door which would be nice to access and the wine is stored in there as well….
The pants locker has turned out to be an excellent space to use as a cold locker. Even before we left Hawaii that area always stayed cool and it’s turned out to be a great place to store the cheese. We still have some fresh parmesan, half a block of hard cheese and a jar of mango salsa. A reminder to myself for next trip, look at the supply list and follow it. If I hadn’t second guessed myself we would not be short on several key items. Paper towels, toilet paper, tortillas, noodles, apples and cookies. I had all the correct quantities on my original shopping list and at the last minute decided it looked like too much.
No change in the barometer this morning, Mostly grey skies with one small patch of blue to the West.
It was good until it was bad. Beautiful afternoon of sunshine and I let down my guard by going into the cockpit with only my foul weather jacket and light waterproof pants. We took a large wave in the cockpit and I got completely drenched. My only set of dry underwear and fleece are now soaked through. Talk about ruining your day.
Bad words, bad, bad words…..
The tiller is lashed but not being very cooperative since there is very little wind. The sounds of a flogging sail are getting most aggravating to listen to. The good news is we can see the moon and stars for the first time in weeks.
June 23, 2007 Day 29
Had to go out and adjust the tiller last night around 11:30pm and the coolest thing happened. I was looking at the water thinking there was an awful lot of phosphorescence in the water because there were bright flashes about 30-40 feet away from the boat. Suddenly another one flashed brightly then curved directly toward the boat. Next thing I know there were dozens of curving trails headed toward us. The dolphins crossed back and forth under the boat and played in our bow wake for about 15 minutes. By the time I got the tiller set they had left and it was time to go back in. A natural laser light show of sorts-it was beautiful!
June 24, 2007 Day 30
Chuck is just heading out to get the boat moving. We slept in and have not yet had breakfast. Last night was as nice and relaxing as either of has spent for any of our birthdays. We hove to around 7ish when supper was made, put the boards in, lit the lanterns and cozied up. We had our blueberry pancakes yesterday morning as planned and I made a Chicken Curry for supper, both turned out great. I had planned on making a dessert but we were both so full from dinner we decided to pass. Around 9 we broke out the last of our chocolate, made a cup of hot cocoa and talked until after 11. We had light winds last night so we decided to take down the working jib and main and run with just the genoa. Good thing we did, the jib halyard was almost completely chaffed through at the top of the mast. We will have to drop the mast when we get in to find out the reason why. It would have been a very bad thing to have halyard let go from the top.
We’ve got good winds this morning and with just the genoa we are making 7 knots. Chuck has started reading the first of the “Left Behind” series which brings up some interesting stuff so we pulled out our Bible last night and started reading Revelations. Because of the light we couldn’t read for very long but will try to read a bit every night. Had actually planned on popcorn and a movie last night but we decided we were having more fun just sitting and talking. I probably should have made breakfast before we got started this morning. The winds are challenging enough that Chuck won’t be able to eat and steer at the same time. Temp in the cabin currently 58 degrees but feels way colder. I am still comfortably tucked in the sleeping bag but my hands are icy cold. Our wool gloves we brought are packed in the head and are inaccessible. Will probably sail with the Genoa for a few hours longer then put the working jib back up. The boat balances better with that sail and we will be able to lash the tiller again.
Well, so much for lashing the tiller. I think we hit the hit the edge of a mild storm or at least the waves of one. Barometer did a major dip this morning just before we pulled the genoa. It has been dropping every morning but not usually this much. Winds are not bad but it has started raining and there are large sets coming on our Port quarter that are knocking us around pretty good. Present course is 0 – 30 degrees. I’ve taken several large breakers in the cockpit and so has Chuck. Breakfast consisted of Creamy Chicken and Rice soup with an extra can of chicken added. I ate mine and left the remainder on the stove for Chuck to eat after he finished his watch. Bree is taking this all very well, walking around the cabin a little slower but doing fine with the benefit of four legs. We are doing 6-7 knots under these conditions and making good distance but if it gets any worse we will have to heave to. Registered a 9.6 knots on the GPS just before pulling the Genoa.
Heaving to. Weather is too rough. I was hoping to keep going for another few hours but rain and wind are very cold and neither of us has warmed up from our previous watch. I had to go out and help Chuck heave to as it was too rough for him to manage the tiller and jib sheet at the same time. The jib is a bit big but it would mean going forward and replacing it. Hope our choice not make the change will not come back to bite us in the ass.
After we hove to Chuck and I gathered in the cabin and discussed our options. We both decided that “Hoping” the working jib would be O.K was not one of them so we went out again to put up the storm jib. The boat is riding much easier now and we will rest easier knowing we did everything we could rather than hope the way we had it was “good enough”. I’m thinking dinner, movie and popcorn is on the menu for tonight. Bree is either getting antsy or rambunctious. We were taking off our gear, both of us soaking wet, rain was pouring in with the wind howling and she was walking around us trying to see out the companionway. “What’s going on out there?” She got tipped out onto the floor several times today as she was prowling around non-stop.
June 25, 2007 Day 31
Glad we made the decision last night to put up the #3 jib. The ride was much smoother and the sail behaved perfectly. We had a dinner of Chili and brown rice, lit the lanterns and snuggled in for the ride. The rollers eased up enough later in the evening that I made some Jiffy Pop with Mochi Crunch. Woke up late this morning, around 7:30 and got breakfast started. Loaded oatmeal with raisins, one egg and sliced dried apricots plus two tablespoons of peanut butter. We were on deck and ready to rock by 9 and pulled down the # 1 jib and replaced it with the working jib. I made an uncomfortable discovery while doing so. Our forestay has a broken wire. Of all the things on this trip that have broken and need fixing this one is in the MAJOR BAD category. With 1100 miles to go I’m not looking forward to being worried every minute of it that we might lose the mast. After we got the working jib up we checked our heading and speed and decided the main should go up as well. It only took a few minutes to put up the main then Chuck and I sat in the cockpit and discussed Plan B if the forestay gives way. Bad, yes. Catastrophic, depending on how it gave way but we could deal with it.
Temp in cabin is 56 degrees. Barometer is rising. Current heading is 30 degrees and the sky is bright but overcast with no cloud definition. Chuck showed no signs of seasickness yesterday and has lost that completely exhausted look but I think it will take him a long time to completely recover from this trip. He has lost a lot of weight, some areas needed but not all and I know it will take some effort to replace. Have no idea if I’ve lost or gained. Seems I’m eating all the time even though we’re only eating 3 times a day compared to my pre-trip training diet of 6-7 small meals a day. It will be good to get on land and go for a very long walk. I think both our butts are mostly recovered, however it’s impossible to sit in the cockpit without a cushion for any length of time. At least the excruciating pain has stopped. Water maker running, the water is boiling and I only have a few minutes before it is my turn at the tiller. Hate to disturb my foot warmer but Chuck can use her skills too.
Back to 2 hour watches. We pulled the jib down for the last time just after 5:00. We kept a close eye on the forestay all day trying to decide if it would hold for the rest of the trip or not. When we pulled the jib down it was difficult because the hanks were catching on the break about 12’ up. We could not take the chance of having the jib get caught on the snag and not being able to bring it in. After a lengthy discussion we decided the jib was no longer an option and we would proceed on main alone for the rest of the trip.
Almost immediately after the jib came down the waves picked up and Chuck made the call to take a few more turns on the roller reefing. The boat will not steer herself on just the main with the tiller lashed. There went our only bit of relief. We are still 1100 miles from Cape Flattery and with no tiller pilot and the inability to lash the tiller we are in for a rough remainder of a trip. Also with no jib we will no longer be able to heave to if needed. Chili and brown rice again for supper. Waves are rolly tonight making for a rough ride. It’s going to be a long night.
June 26, 2007 Day 32
The main backed last night and despite Chuck’s best efforts we could not get turned back around. Chuck determined we were drifting South, in the wrong direction, but there was nothing he could do so he came below to get some sleep. Breakfast at 7:30 of loaded oatmeal and we got the boat turned around and headed back in the right direction. Bree had a traumatic morning. Not sure what happened but she started walking around yowling like she had to throw up. Chuck picked her up and set her in my lap, I was still lying in bed with the sleeping bag and both blankets, and she promptly started to go pee. I tossed her into her box and she lept back into my lap and went some more. ARGHHHHHHHH! Deep breaths, don’t kill the cat. Deep breaths, you love the cat. Deep breaths, don’t throw the cat over the side. Deeep… breaths….Damn! I have no idea what got into her, she has been using her box this whole trip without incident and now this.
While I was making breakfast I heard a loud thunk and then a groan out of Chuck. Our plaque with the document numbers fell off the wall and hit him on the head. Luckily no damage and they can be re-mounted. Chuck has been a true Captain through everything. Despite his being sick and exhausted he has made the decisions that needed making and has taken everything in stride.
Regarding weather we would love something besides heavy overcast and cold. The last time I saw the moon or stars was the evening the dolphins were playing around the boat. Both left around the same time. The sun, well, we have gotten a small tease this morning however it looks like we are sailing into another bank of fog. The barometer has dropped slightly. Cabin temp is 56 degrees. The only real discomfort we are having is our feet. Neither of us can get our feet warm during the day despite our off watches being spent under the sleeping bag. The only time they are warm is just before getting up in the morning and that doesn’t last for long. We are down to two packages of hot cocoa. Chuck and I have both taking to just drinking hot water. We have 4 eggs left and two tomatoes which should be used soon. We have not yet touched the oranges, one granny smith apple, 2 ¼ heads of cabbage, 4 small potatoes. Our canned goods are in very good shape, crackers are running low. Four squares of chocolate and no other treats except for one package of freeze dried Raspberry Crumble and four packages of Li Hing Mango. We have hardly touched the almonds. The walnuts should last until just before we get in. Dried apricots are about half gone and blueberries ¾ gone.
We have four pairs of wool socks hanging up which will never completely dry on this trip The boat in general is tidy but there are piles of wet clothes and piles of dry clothes taking up a lot of space. Not thrilled about the location of the cat box but there isn’t really any other place to put it.
Just finished lunch of mushroom soup with brown rice and lots of curry. It would be very good with a dollop of mango chutney. Barometer has held steady since the slight drop this morning. Heading 30 degrees with the main still reefed to it’s last point. Average speed 4 – 5 knots. Sun has poked out several times today, just for a few minutes but it is a welcome sight. Bree is back to normal from this morning’s trauma. Acting very sorry for herself but playful and talkative. She has used her box several times since. I have no idea what happened.
June 27, 2007 Day 33
Rough night. Two hour watches and it’s getting harder to get up and out of bed for both of us. Boat was steering reasonably well with the tiller lashed and Chuck’s new steering system. He rigged lines going from the tiller to blocks attached to the stanchions and into the cabin. It’s not perfect but better than being outside. I gave Chuck an extra hour of sleep this morning to make up for the extra hour he gave me last night. I can see how some couples don’t do well under these conditions. It’s hard not to snap when you are cold, wet and tired. All the cruising couples we know are extremely close. I know that as close as Chuck and I were before we are even more so now. If you can be kind and polite to each other under these conditions you can survive anything.
Bree had another incident this morning. This seriously jeopardizes her standing as a permanent member of the crew. This cannot become a regular ordeal as the boat is just too small and our comfort to precious. The weather is rough but she has her sea legs and should be well used to this by now considering how many days we have been out. Loaded oatmeal again for breakfast. Chuck had a Cliff Bar in the cockpit and will have to eat his later. Barometer is holding steady. Temp in the cabin is 56 degrees. Hygrometer is M.I. A. I think Bree was playing with it. Weather conditions are grey, cold and drizzly. We were taking a lot of water in the cockpit this morning which only adds to the discomfort.
Distance to waypoint is slowly ticking down but we are still 9 – 10 days away. It’s looking like Neah Bay will be our first stop where, hopefully, we can stay a few days and rest up. After getting in our only immediate plan will be to repair to the boat. Since we will have missed the rendezvous we have nothing else planned except a rough sketch to visit my Mom in Gig Harbor and my girlfriend in Victoria. Both of us are looking forward to this part of the trip to be over. Overall weather conditions are unfavorable and have cost us more time out here than anticipated.
No sun again today. Waves still large and visiting the cockpit regularly. We ran the water maker for 1:45 today. I broke out Bree’s favorite treat of Li Hing Mango. Not a good day meal wise. Lunch was freeze dried mashed potatoes out of the Chicken meal I made for Chuck’s birthday. Chuck has only eaten a Cliff Bar and some oatmeal today. It’s too rough to eat in the cockpit
Happy Birthday Grandma.
June 28, 2007 Day 34
Our prayers for an easy night were answered. Lashed tiller needed very little attention so the watches consisted mostly of popping your head out the hatch and keeping a constant eye on the compass. Waves have decreased substantially in size and the winds have remained constant. Breakfast was loaded oatmeal shared out of the pot while still comfortably tucked under the blankets. The winds have held us on a constant course of 30 degrees for the last two days. The barometer has risen slightly and the hygrometer is at 80 percent. Chuck is still in bed with Bree on his lap, hopefully the winds will hold for most of the day to give us both a much needed rest. Doesn’t look like the sun is planning on a visit today but its hard to tell. Sky is brighter than it has been in a while but still completely overcast with no cloud definition. Temp in the cabin is holding at 56 degrees. Outside temp is warmer than it has been in a while. Several chores need to be done today. It is time to refill the stove and Chuck will have to move the anchor again to access Bree’s extra food in the forward locker. Bree had no problems this morning and used her box as usual. I wish I knew what set her off. She spent all night with me, either sleeping with me in bed or sleeping on my lap during watch. She has turned out to be a real lap cat something she never enjoyed before. We had chili with orzo last night for supper topped with fresh parmesan cheese. I think that will be our new favorite. Very easy to make and the orzo cooked down perfectly so there was no remaining water that had to be drained. To bad that was the last of the orzo.
Have no idea how long it will take to get the boat dried out. Everything up forward is damp or wet. Absolutely everything will have to come off the boat to be dried and all lockers need to be cleared and cleaned. I think if we can get two weeks of solid sunshine we can get it done. The mold will be a completely different matter. I think it will be impossible to be completely rid of and there is mold growing everywhere-Yuk!
At least our bunk is dry.
June 29, 2007 Day 35
The Rendezvous begins today. We are still at least 9 days out. We’ve had a much needed rest yesterday and this morning but we must start sailing again. Winds shifted sometime in the night and we need to tack and let out a few reefs.
Finished tacking and the winds are steady enough for Chuck lash the tiller so we can stay below. Last night was a wonderful evening, actually the whole day was but there is something special about the evenings with the lanterns light. I made a chicken curry stew for dinner based on Chuck’s input which will be a repeat on our regular menu. After dinner we started going over the supplies list and I thought of something to make for dessert. Stallone Chocolate Pudding with a chopped granny smith apple, drizzled with peanut butter. Wow, it was good. We tried to watch a movie but only got 20 minutes in before the battery went dead on the laptop and we decided against plugging in the inverter. We shared a hot cocoa and finished off a perfect day.
Lunch today was a can of Chicken Corn Chowder with a can of water chestnuts added for extra crunch and some crackers followed by a few pieces of Li Hing Mango, which always gets Bree’s vote. Bree was perfectly normal again this morning. I’m starting to think she was picking up on our stress of being tired and cold and needed to show her displeasure as well. I guess Chuck and I didn’t realize how much it was showing.
We were able to sail all day with the tiller lashed and have another relaxing day below. The winds started picking up around 5pm and we put back in the reefs we shook out this morning. We are getting much quicker at the process and were below again 30 minutes later. Hopefully the winds will remain constant and the lashed tiller will work again as well as it did last night. It would be nice to have another quiet evening. Waves are smooth with a little chop and the occasional roller. The barometer has dropped twice in the last two hours and it is misty and drizzly out. Temperature in the cabin remains steady at 56 degrees.