Pacific Ocean Passage
April 29, 2016 – S01 28’49’’ W091 25’ 40’’ Dist to Dest 2887NM, wind 6-8kts, clear sky, air temp 25C.
In the morning we can still see Cerro Azul behind us. The wind is too light and we are barely moving. All night we have been drifting with 1-2 knots. Sails are flapping. We furl the jib and leave only the mainsail up. Our progress is about 50 NM for 24 hours.
The sea is calm. A few booby birds are flying low looking for fish and one gentle storm petrel- the soul of a drowned sailor doomed to spend eternity flying over the sea – is fluttering on the water surface around the boat. These tiniest of seabirds have the elegance of flamenco dancers on water and I can spend hours watching them, their skinny legs barely touching the surface, skimming the sea for tiny planktons. It’s nice to see a living creature near us.
April 30, 2016 – S02 44’ 06’’ W092 29’ 06’’ Dist to Dest 2811 NM, wind 1-2 kts, few clouds, air temp 27C.
Our speed is 1-2 kts, sails are flapping. We barely move. We had better progress last night with 4-5 kts and a bit more wind behind us. We are tired from flapping sails.
We have received a message on the satellite from our friend Scot on S/V Beach House. He is only 2 degrees south of us some 150 NM ahead and is sailing with 8 kts! We can’t answer back. Something is wrong with our IridiumGo and we cannot send any messages but at least we can receive messages and can download the weather forecast. No idea what is going on. This is strange. Ivo is trying to find out what the problem is and how to fix it.
I spotted a giant mantaray following the boat. At first I thought it was a shark- a big triangle fin sticking out of the water- but then I saw the whole creature- big and square as a table!
We are getting used to our new routine, which by the way is not much different from our routine when at anchor. Preparing breakfast, then school with Maya- she is doing one math test every day from the end of her math book- 23 more tests to go. We play cards, make food, sleep, talk, watch films in the evening with dinner. At night Ivo and I give 2-3 hour shifts, but mostly we sleep and check the electronics and chart plotter every now and then to see if something has changed or if there is another boat nearby. There are o other boats. We are alone.
May 1, 2016 –S03 29’08’’ W093 33’41’’ Dist to Dest 2738NM, ind 8-12 kts, few clouds, air temp 25C.
A booby bird landed on board! We are extremely happy to have a visitor. He is as big as a chicken but more slender and aerodynamic, grey, with duck feet and ugly face, mostly because of his bill- thick at the base, wide and long, getting thinner and pointy at the end like a grey carrot. A curious funny expression.
There are many species of boobies. There are blue-footed boobies, which have baby-blue feet as if they have stepped in a bucket of baby-blue paint, with snow-white bellies, brown wings and yellow eyes. There are red-footed boobies with bright red feet as if they have stepped in a bucket of bright red paint- with darker bodies (the brown version) or white bodies (the white version), their red feet contrasting marvelously with their blue bills and colorful faces- strikingly beautiful birds. Our friend Scot from S/V Beach House wrote that he has a red-footed booby resting on his deck since couple of days. Ours is neither blue-footed nor red-footed, but rather a colorless-footed, somber, uglier version of a more boring brown booby or some other uninteresting discolored kind of the same species. We like him all the same, even more, for being so ugly and in need of company and a place to rest. When a seabird finds you in the middle of the ocean and lands on your boat it’s a privilege. It kind of feels safer with a bird on board- because the bird thinks it’s safe and trusts the boat. It also feels like you are helping a fellow traveler – someone who needs a place to rest- an oasis in a vast blue desert of nothing but sea.
A whale passed directly under the boat. Another one took a slow breath in the distance. Wow! Seeing whales so close to the boat is a miracle and we are blessed to witness it. It’s also a bit scary- the story of Moby Dick always at the back of your mind.
Then we saw them. A small red one-person helicopter buzzing like an insect low above the sea- a spotter, and four speed boats racing under it. Further- a floating city- a big fishing boat with tall cranes reaching high up in the air- cranes capable of lifting heavy catch. They have no AIS. They don’t answer our VHF radio calls. We realize they are after the whales, hunting them in international waters, most probably illegally, unless there are tunas at the same time at the same place. The whales that we have just seen are probably fugitives from a horrible, illegal hunt. This is so sad. Our excitement and joy are drowned in painful mournful sadness. Damn you, whale-eating monsters!
To be continued…
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