Across the Pacific
June 30, 2007 Day 36
Winds died at midnight, pretty much the same as last night except the barometer has fallen 5 points and we are again surrounded by fog. The flogging of the sail made the main sheet pop loose which Chuck has just gone out to fix.
Still no wind but we are at least pointed in the right direction. The easy motion of the boat means pancakes for breakfast.
Chuck just took our noon position. We have 851 miles to go. Temperature in the cabin is 62 degrees. We have the forward hatch open and the canvas aside for the first time in two weeks. Our main concern now is the rising temperature with a falling barometer which has dropped twice in the last four hours.
Still banging around. We had breakfast this morning of oatmeal/raisin pancakes with peanut butter and maple syrup. Lunch was of a can of chili with spaghetti, leftover from dinner last night. Today has been a totally peaceful, get nowhere kind of day. We had a nice leisurely breakfast then ran the water maker for 2 ½ hours. The day tank was completely empty. The afternoon was spent cleaning the boat. The rug forward is completely soaked. I don’t know if it is from the mast leak or somewhere else. We had the canvas open on the companionway for most of the afternoon so the boat has gotten to air out a bit. Nothing is dry but it smells better. The cat is curled up on my lap and Chuck is reading beside me. We are currently moving along at one knot heading slightly east of our intended course. Chuck had to toss out his beloved Panama hat today. Fortunately the peacock headband which he has had for many years can be saved. Chuck loved that hat and it was hard to watch. Everything in the forward bunk is now covered in mold.
Still banging and flapping about. Going nowhere.
Dinner was another hearty curry dish with tofu and pasta followed by a dessert of freeze dried raspberry crumble over a cold Stallone pudding. Really good. I finally got the coffee to taste halfway decent using 7 scoops and allowing it to steep longer.
Note for next trip: Don’t buy coffee you have never tried before.
We’ve been reading the information on the Ha Ha. Hopefully we can get all our repairs done and re-supplied in two months and be ready to leave the Seattle area to start down the California Coast by Mid September. There is a lot of work to be done but we have a complete list and with the experience of getting the jobs done like we did for this trip we should have an easier time prioritizing this time. We have a lot to do but I look at what we have accomplished in the month prior to us leaving and we should have no problem doing this. We just need a good place to “hole up” and get the work done. Any marina with a good, cheap work dock and good facilities close by including a cheap restaurant that might substitute for our beloved Harbor Pub. There is absolutely no wind. Water is flat and we have been drifting in circles all day at roughly one knot. My only worry now is my Mother. I told her 30 – 45 days and if we don’t get some wind soon we will be longer than 45 and I really don’t want to be listed as overdue by the Coast Guard. Chuck and I have spent the whole day just sitting on the settee, eating, talking and relaxing and my Mother is probably worried sick we are in some sort of mortal danger.
July 1, 2007 Day 37
We had pancakes again for breakfast, meaning another low to no wind day. We were thinking if we had just a bit more wind we could fly the #1 jib without attaching it to the forestay but that will only work with winds of 10 – 15 knots of , any less and it would only flog and be more of an annoyance. Temperature in the cabin has come up to 64 degrees. The barometer has not moved so far this morning. Sky is bright grey with no cloud definition and the winds are blowing approximately 5 knots. Unfortunately without the genoa we are unable to use the light air. We have good size swells coming in from the West. Chuck is outside now trying to coax a better heading from the boat than we are currently getting. There is nothing worse than going slow in the wrong direction. At least it’s not raining. Bree has her full appetite back. Chuck and I have both been filling her bowl whenever we see it empty and I suspect she is getting extra rations. Sneaky cat! We still have 824 miles to go. We’ve had three days of light winds and three days in the 800’s. If we weren’t having such a good time I would be depressed but with good food and great company as far as I’m concerned we get there when we get there. My only concern is my mother and the worry she will be experiencing with us even being one day overdue.
811 miles to go. Winds are light and variable coming from due South. The barometer has not moved since yesterday but the winds have shifted counter clockwise from W to S which, according to our weather book, is an indication poor weather to come. It has started raining again. Did I mention the cold already?
July 2, 2007 Day 38
Temperature in the cabin 58 degrees but seems a lot colder. Barometer dropped 5 points sometime this morning and is now at 29, the lowest we’ve seen yet. There is some cloud definition but is still pretty solid overcast. We have light, intermittent rains and it is chilly. Oatmeal again for breakfast. We only have one egg left so I’m saving it. Lunch yesterday of chili and pasta with baked beans for dinner. Bree had another accident on the bed this morning. I’m moving her cat box back to its original spot to see if it makes any difference. Looking more and more like she will be a land cat after this passage. We’ll have to make that decision before leaving the Seattle area. She is such good company the rest of the time but we can’t we can’t do laundry and our bedding is being ruined..
Average 3 knots
764 miles remaining
Clouds are still solid but I can see some lighter definition on the horizon. Scattered light showers and still cold. There was a 30 minute period when the temperature got noticeably colder and we could see our breath. This happened almost the same time yesterday too. I suppose that means another snappy evening sleeping with two layers of clothing under a polyester fleece blanket plus the sleeping bag. This also means we will have to keep the lanterns lit to stay comfortable. I don’t want to run out of lantern fuel before we arrive. It’s possible we might not to be able to buy fuel for a few days even after we get in. Note: Never run out of lantern fuel.
Today is turning into a repeat of yesterday’s conditions but we do have a bit more wind. We made 57.3 miles from noon yesterday to noon today which was better than the previous two days but still not the distance either of us had hoped for. We are still waiting to see what the drop in barometer pressure will bring our way. The boat is currently steering 270 degrees with the tiller lashed. She has been steering between 210 – 300 for the last two days. The winds have been just enough to keep the sail full. At least they puff back and forth rather than crack. Chuck has really started enjoying the whole meal planning process. We have enough time before lunch and dinner to banter back and forth different suggestions.
There has been no change in the barometer. We are seeing a slight increase in wind and the swells growing in size.
No major changes in the weather. Winds increased slightly but nothing major. Chuck has gone out to see if we can make better than the 330 – 0 degrees we were getting a short time ago. Lunch consisted of cornbread cakes cooked in a pan with olive oil and a can of chili. Went through my supply bin and found two more packages of ramen noodles plus a package of Sesame Sweet tortillas I had forgotten about. Moved 8 cans of chili stored under the bunk up into the pantry and have since then used two so we have six cans of regular chili plus one can of vegetarian chili left. I need to find a way of making biscuits. I’ll try making them with pancake mix made extra thick but it might be to sweet. Worth trying out on our next calm day.
Just after 6 the winds increased and the seas became larger and more confused. We have taken a few hard hits and I’m beginning to wonder if we should have spent the money on the windows. They are the only vulnerable area on the boat. One more item on our must do list when we get in.. Bree just slid off the settee, sleeping bag and all. Hmmm, I think she just gave me stink eye. Dinner was split pea soup with bamboo shoots, a can of tuna and lots of curry powder. Wind and waves are causing us to sail due South in seas that have a distinctive ”Victory at Sea” look to them. We’ve decided not to change course in these conditions. Bree has used her box three times in the last hour and heartily finished all the food in her bowl. We learned a good lesson from the falling barometer. The good news is that it just took a jump and is going up. Hopefully this weather cycle is coming to an end and we have fair weather ahead. It is supposed to be summer after all. Oddly enough there are no clinks, clangs or bangs coming anywhere from the cabin at this moment. I haven’t felt comfortable enough to stand up do the dishes and since they are not threatening to jump off the counter at the moment they can wait.
July 3, 2007 Day 39
Wind and waves blew constant all evening then started dropping just after 4am. Waves had been large and confused, breaking over the boat regularly. The windows are leaking directly over our bed. Chuck and I both dozed in semi alert status until after 4 then climbed into bed.
The winds have again completely died down and Chuck is headed out to run the motor for an hour or so to charge the batteries. The thing about solar panels is you need sun. We will run the water maker today and get the boat cleaned up from last night.
Motor is running and for the first time ever Bree didn’t pee when the alarm came on. Maybe there is hope for her yet. I moved her box and there have been no further incidents, so far. She still hates the sound of the motor though and is sitting with her head buried under the anchor up forward. We had a bit of a time getting the engine started and had to lift up the cockpit sole to access the charging bulb. We need to install an access hatch so we don’t have to go through all that just to charge the bulb. The barometer rose dramatically this morning and is back up to 30 and YEA! It is a nice day out. There are high thin clouds with several large bands of blue and large clumpy cumulous clouds directly above that look to be dissipating. Battery #1 read 0 when we checked it this morning. When the battery gets below 5 the backlight for the stereo comes on. We turned off #1 last time we noticed it but not this time and it completely drained the battery. Not cool. We’ll have to find out why that is happening. Also the stereo will not work unless the battery has a full charge, any less and it skips and will not eject the CD. Last night wasn’t scary but a bit uncomfortable since the windows were leaking on our heads and I wish we could have had both lanterns running and a cup of hot cocoa. But other than that the boat handled herself very well. We ate the Sesame Crepes last night, chewy good.
Temperature in the cabin is 60 degrees. We made only 20 miles yesterday. We really need a good stretch of weather and wind. Difficult to get the mileage we need with the main alone.
The hint of sunshine this morning never came our way. Cumulous clouds grew tall ahead and had us worried we might be in for some squalls but they flattened out and disappeared. Winds shifted around 3pm and started coming from the SW. According to our weather book a wind shift from S to SW accompanied by a rising barometer should bring clear weather in a few hours and should stay fair for several days. That sounds like good news. Lunch of mushroom soup with the remainder of our brown rice and the last ½ can of bamboo shoots.
Light and finicky winds have backed and changed directions several times today. Bree seems to show no ill effects from our ride last night. I know she got tipped off the bunk and on her head a few times. We fell asleep with one lantern burning last night and it was out when we got up early in the morning. Can’t do that again. We used the last of our mineral spirits to re-fill the lanterns this afternoon but they are only ¾ full. Light rain has begun. Winds still coming S to SE. The boat is steering herself on a course of 60 degrees. Supper of leftover spaghetti sauce and sea shell pasta with a can of tuna added in for some protein.
Barometer holding steady. The clouds went through several interesting changes throughout the day. Our Weather Guide is just that, a guide. You look at the clouds and try to interpret what they mean. Hand me the dice would ya? “Rugged” would be my description of the weather out tonight. Seas are not high but they have small white caps with tails. Still, not the victory at sea type we had last night. We are still getting several good smacks from waves but certainly not anything like we had last night. I made apple/cinnamon cakes for dessert by mixing the batter extra thick then lightly fried them in a pan with some olive oil. They turned out pretty good. We are pretty cozy at the moment. Lantern is on and we are listening to the sound of the hull slapping the water. Bree is crashed in my lap on the sleeping bag which Chuck and I are sharing. Sigh, at least my toes are warm.
July 4, 2007 Day 40
Happy Independence Day!
We decided not to break out the flag. We probably won’t be able to open the locker and I’m afraid it will be covered in mold. Our warm front has arrived. Temperature in the cabin is 64 degrees. It’s not bright and sunny but the cloud cover has gotten lighter and we can see some scattered breaks of blue in the distance. Oatmeal/Blueberry pancakes for breakfast to celebrate our 40th day at sea. Boiling water for the thermos then heading out to shake out the reefs and see if we can make some distance today. The jelly fish are back in multitudes. We’ve had several wash onto the deck and they have stained our genoa blue. Need to take a closer look at them and find out what kind they are. Barometer rose again slightly this morning to 29.8. I might try to wash my hair today. One more night’s full sleep then back to regular watches. Once we are within 500 miles of the coast we will need to renew our diligence.
Finished taking out the reefs and found five jellyfish scattered on the deck forward. We were in the middle of Chuck’s log when he spotted a ship heading North. Alaska/Japan?
The weather is warmer, sweeeeet! Currently on a heading of 30 degrees at 3 – 4 knots. I wish we could use the jib as it would certainly help our speed. 690 miles to go. We made 57 miles yesterday, at that rate we will be another two weeks. Opened the forward hatch for the first time in a long while, we can certainly use the air circulation to dry things out.
July 5, 2007 Day 41
Sunshine! Beautiful sunshine. We will open the boat up and air it out again today. Little or no wind for most of last night and so far today. Will shake the reefs out and catch what we can. The barometer has risen again this morning to 29.9. The cabin temperature is sitting at 60 degrees. What winds we do have are blowing from the West. Jonesing for a strong, hot cup of coffee, I think I’ll try and make one later. Chuck gave me the equivalent of a Christmas present last night. Clean, dry wool socks. The pair that fell in the cat’s water bowl weeks ago and have finally dried out. Probably the ONLY pair of dry wool socks on board. My feet are starting to peel from wearing wet socks for so long. Yuk!
The sun didn’t last long and with its departure the cold has set in again. Still, the hatch is open, Chuck is not in full foul weather gear and although I’ve got three layers on top and two on the bottom I am not wearing any socks. Jellyfish are drifting by everywhere in huge green rafts the size of football fields as far as the eye can see.
Our noon position shows we made just over 40 miles yesterday. Lunch was one of the two found packages of Ramen noodles. Winds are still picking up from the West and we are currently on a heading of 30 degrees. We should make some good distance today. Since we don’t have any sun today and we ran the anchor light for the last two nights we will need to run the motor and charge the batteries today.
Engine run for one hour. The winds died down around 4:30 for the third night in a row and we are reefed down again for the night to reduce flogging. . Supper time….
July 6, 2007 Day 42
Chuck and I are both dying to go for a long walk. Breakfast of loaded oatmeal. The barometer is holding steady with no movement this morning. Skies are bright but overcast with some thin spots but no blue. We will have to run the motor again this morning so we can run the water maker. Winds have veered and are coming out of the South again. Bree is getting better about us starting the motor. She still remains hunched over looking uncomfortable no longer wails and pees. I guess after 42 days she is finally getting used to things. Temperature in the cabin is 60 degrees. We are hoping to see some sunshine today. Yesterday was very pleasant with mild weather and a welcome break. There are still rafts of jelly fish in the water. Stereo has given up the ghost. It won’t even eject our CD for us. It would be nice to listen to some music. We are almost out of paper towels, there are maybe 4 pieces left, after that we just have a box of Kleenex.
Spotted a container ship on a course of 75 degrees.
Late in taking our noon position. Distance remaining 608 miles. The 9th of July will be our 45th day out and the day my Mom will become really concerned. Unfortunately there is nothing to be done but send prayers for her to believe we are safe. Winds are consistent and we are averaging 4 knots. Clouds around are still high and happy. Hopefully this wind and weather pattern will continue for a while. Ran the engine for two hours and the water maker for one and a half. The batteries are fully charged and we also charged the camera battery using the inverter. Lunch of chili and spaghetti with fresh parmesan cheese. I made enough spaghetti to use for supper tonight. Went through and reorganized our stores which are looking pretty good. We have enough to comfortably go for another month, heaven forbid.
Since we’ve sighted two ships in the last two days we’ve decided to get back to 3 hour watch schedules. Weather was perfect at sundown and the barometer had risen during the day so we decided not to reef for the evening. Around 9 the winds picked up. The boat is handling very well with the tiller lashed but it is a wet ride. The window drips are back since the water is washing over the deck regularly.
July 7, 2007 Day 43
Wind is still up but not as bad. It was a rocky, wet ride and we had several waves break directly on the hatch getting the galley wet. We will definitely be taking in a reef tonight. We’ve been on a course on 330 degrees since around 2:30am and Chuck is very unhappy with that but there is nothing we can do. Bree continues to handle the weather like a pro. As long as her food bowl is handy she is fine.
We took three reefs in just before lunch and are still making 5-6 knots. There are large waves coming from behind and it is hard to keep her on course. We are trying to steer 60 degrees but the boat seems to prefer 90. With the swells coming from behind the boat will instantly swing from 90 to 30 if not closely watched. Chuck banged his forehead up pretty good this morning while he was pulling on his foul weather gear. A wave pulled us over and he went head first into the wall above the stove with both his arms stuck in his jacket. He bled through his hat and has a pretty good knot on his forehead but is o.k. Lunch was chili and spaghetti with fresh parmesan. Breakfast of loaded oatmeal with pine nuts this morning instead of walnuts. Weather is bright overcast at the horizon but dark immediately overhead. Not as warm as yesterday but considering the amount of cloud cover it’s not bad. We had a disconcerting moment just before we reefed this afternoon. The pin holding the boom to the mast was halfway out. After we snugged up the topping lift Chuck went forward with a rubber mallet and tapped it back in. Whew, good catch. We are 540 miles from Cape Flattery and GPS shows us 89 miles off course due to unfavorable winds. We won’t be able to get the boat to steer herself in these conditions so we will take in another reef and heave to this evening.
Took in two more turns on the roller reefing and we are in for the night. Wet, cold and dreaming of some better weather. At any rate it looks like we made good distance today. Current position 45.40N – 135.15W
Drifting North at 2-3 knots.
Chuck is on first bunk watch. We are on a different tack and the boat is sitting much easier tonight than last night. Now the waves are hitting our port side so no water drops on our bunk. The number of reefs makes a big difference.. Dinner, although not a repeat, was interesting. Corn Chowder mix, or maybe it was split pea, one can of yams with pine nuts and lots of curry powder. Realized after I mixed it that I had made too much so we will have for leftovers for lunch tomorrow. Desert was more experimenting by pan frying Choc. Chip muffin mix in olive oil. Crisp and Chewy and way too good. This is a cruising treat only and absolutely no good will come of eating this in port.
July 8, 2007 Day 44
After a good hearty oatmeal breakfast we shook out the reefs and are once again on our way. Weather and waves are mellower this morning. We are steering 30 degrees at 2-3 knots with 516 miles to go. Clouds are bright grey overcast with some cloud definition horizon to horizon. Temperature in the cabin is 58 degrees. The barometer rose this morning to 30.2. Rugs are wet from water that made it past the hatches last night and the night before. No more dry socks on board. Jelly fish everywhere in the cockpit and on deck this morning. Don’t seem to be harmful and Chuck and I are now unafraid to pick them up barehanded and toss them overboard. Their blue has stained the sails and ropes but leave no permanent marks on the non skid. They are not decreasing in numbers but are the ones we can see are much smaller. Chuck’s forehead is much better this morning. He might have a small scar to brag over later. Busy morning of chores. Clean and fill stoves, shake out the bedding, clean cat box and rugs, boil water and run water maker.
Took in our reefs at 5pm and went below. No wind. The winds were consistent all afternoon and had us moving along at 3 – 4 knots until just after 4:30. It seems at night the winds go to bed and wake again in the morning. Dinner was onion and carrots sautéed with garlic and a couple of vege burgers made with a dehydrated mix. Desert was the last of the Jiffy Pop popcorn with mochi crunch. Drifting in the direction of 45 degrees, the barometer remains steady. Weather at sundown still overcast “a grey bowl”. The battery powered lantern on stern lights up our sail quite nicely and we’ve decided not to put on the anchor light tonight to save power.
July 9, 2007 Day 45
Over Due Day
We are 481 miles from Cape Flattery. Crashed last night around 11 and we both got a good night’s sleep. The closer we get to land the more diligent we need to be so this will be the last good night’s rest until we get in. Breakfast of oatmeal pancakes with cranberry jelly, walnuts and maple syrup. A good cup of coffee sure would have made the meal even better. Weather this morning is overcast, misty and foggy. Seas are calm and flat. Barometer has not moved and is steady on 30.3. The temperature in the cabin is showing the warmest it has been in a while at 64 degrees. Turned on the VHF this morning and received a weather forecast but it was for Cape Mendicino which is much farther South. Winds are light and variable from the NW. We will leave the main reefed for now to reduce flogging. One of the two lanterns is dry. I think we’ll pull out the anchor lantern tonight and see if it gives off any heat or if we can find a way to safely transfer the oil. I doubt it but it’s worth a try. Jelly fish are still everywhere drifting along at the same pace as us.
We took our position at noon and adjusted the time on our watches forward three hours. Lunch of chili with the last of our sea shell pasta. We opened the forward hatch to ventilate the v-berth but of course it is going to take a lot more than that to dry everything out. It looks like everything up forward has formed into one giant ball of mold and I wonder how long it will be until we can sleep in our bed again. Hygrometer reads 65 percent and there has been no movement on the barometer. We have been teased all day with patches of blue ahead but the fog hasn’t lifted and the blue has gotten no closer. The sun is showing through a haze with a hint of warmth in it.
Dinner while it’s still light. Spaghetti with red sauce and a leftover vege patty re-fried and tossed in. Nummy. Our dilemma tonight, the weather shows no inclination to change but we’ll wait until sundown to see if the wind dies down again as it has the last 4 nights. If so we will reef again to reduce flogging. If it stays the same we’ll leave the main full to take advantage of what we have.
Chuck just spotted a planet in the sky. Venus or Jupiter? With only one showing we can’t get a reference. We might see some stars tonight for the first time in weeks.