Pacific Ocean Passage- Days 5, 6, 7 & 8

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Pacific Ocean Passage Day 1
Pacific Ocean Passage Day 2, 3 & 4

DAY 5

May 2, 2016 –S 04 29’24” W095 55’23’’ – Dist to Dest 2572NM, GPS heading 245, wind ESE 10-16 kts, clouds, air temp 26C

The wind is picking up and we are making better progress with 6kts speed, the jib and mainsail on a broad reach. We headed more south the first couple of days and now we are sailing west. The seawater temperature is rising. The nights no longer cool and humid.

We had a few hours of stronger winds- over 20 kts doing 7-8 kts speed with bumpy sea. During that faster sail we hooked a heavy fish. Panic on board. Ivo holding the fishing pole and fighting with the beast; Maya and I handling sails and boat. We furl the jib and drop the main, as the fish is about to take all the line soon, so we have to really stop the boat, even follow the fish if we can. All that work and stress for nothing. Fish got away together with the lure. It was a good lure. Probably it was a good fish too. Wind dropped to 14kts.

We are receiving messages via the IridiumGo Satellite- a few friends are sending us the weather forecast: Krisha a Bulgarian friend living on a boat in Australia, Mel a friend we met in the Caribbean who is now also in Australia and another friend- Boyko, who we’ve only met via Facebook. The weather forecast looks good. Mel is somehow tracking us using the MarineTraffic website and knows exactly where we are, even though we cannot reply to any of his messages and cannot send exact position or let anyone know how we are doing. Bummer.

The booby is gone. He slept on the solar panels, made a big mess pooping all over the place and left in the morning. We are sad that he left us so soon.

On the AIS we detect a ship heading northwest, about 8 NM away from us- too far to actually see it. It’s a big containership Hanjin Isabel. The AIS gives us information about the ship’s name, position, dimensions, GPS heading and destination, speed and time to nearest approach. We also have an alarm that sounds if the AIS detects any vessel within 2-mile radius- very useful at night. We contact them on the VHF radio and ask them if they can send an e-mail to our friends Mel and Krisha. The officer on the radio has a funny accent and is really polite. He says, most of the ship’s crew are from the Philippines, that they are heading to Singapore and will be back home in a couple of months. And no problem, he will send our message. I spell our friend’s e-mails and a couple of lines: “We are receiving your sat messages, but cannot reply. Keep sending weather up-dates.”

In the afternoon, our booby is back on board! We are happy.

The night is calm.

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DAY 6

May 3, 2016 – S05 11’10’’ W098 13’35’’ Dist to Dest 2428NM, GPS heading 255, wind ESE 14-18, few clouds, air temp 26 C

Last night we celebrated one sixed of the way. We have divided the distance in small portions. First, we have rounded the total to 3000 nautical miles and then divided it in 6, 5, 4, 3 and 2 equal parts. 2500NM left is a sixed of the way. 2400NM is a fifth of the way. 2250NM is a quarter of the way. 2000NM is a third of the way and 1500 is half. Counting nautical miles while crossing the Pacific Ocean is like counting the days in jail, I suppose.

It’s a nice calm perfect sailing all day, 1 meter waves, smooth, 5-6 kts speed. Sunny. Good progress finally! Also – fish finally! A small tuna. Sushi for lunch.

We got messages from Mel and Krisha. They got our news from MV Hanjin Isabel. Weather forecast looks fine.

Maya is reading a book in Bulgarian. She did an excellent job in geometry today too.

I have discovered about 30 packets of Betty Crocker cake mix deep in our stores- four different flavors: chocolate, vanilla, lemon and strawberry. We must have them since two years at least. They are all expired and smell of mildew- some more than others. But we are determined to eat as many as possible. Now I make muffins sometimes twice a day. The chocolate and vanilla ones are pretty good, only slightly smelling of mildew. The lemon ones are worse but I mix in large pieces of chocolate for better results. Maya eats them holding her nose. The trick is not to smell them. Taste is OK. The strawberry ones are beyond the beyonds, completely uneatable. I guess the strawberry mix has more moisture in it and has created better conditions for mold. Good thing we only have 3 of these. So we disperse the pink powder stinking of mildewed strawberries in the sea. The inner plastic packets from the cake mix we keep with the rest of the garbage in a big black garbage bag which we store next to the water tanks, and the outer packets made of recycled cardboard we tear in 2-inch pieces and throw overboard. There is not enough space on board to accumulate all the garbage we produce for a month. Any paper, glass or metal packaging and containers can go overboard and will eventually biodegrade on the bottom of the ocean, except plastic. So anything organic, paper, glass bottles and tins we send to the bottom of the sea legally and with clear conscience, doing our best not to pollute. But sadly, the ocean is already full with plastic due to improper waste disposal and waste management. Even though our path is not crossing the pacific garbage patch or trash vortex, we often see fishing buoys, plastic bottles and jerry cans floating on the current. Trash and manufacturing products, including plastics are being dumped illegally in great quantities on land at marinas, ports, rivers, harbors, docks, and storm drains, or generated at sea from fishing boats, platforms and cargo ships. The trash floats on the sea surface to create high concentrations of marine debris accumulating in regions governed by ocean currents. Today there are five distinctive oceanic gyres- the largest one being the North Pacific Gyre.

Another calm and uneventful night. We move the watch one hour.

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DAY 7

May 4 2016, S 05 36’ 45’’ W 100 37’ 56’’, Dist to Dest 2282NM, GPS heading 260, wind ESE 16-20, sunny, air temp 27 C

It’s getting much hotter.

I am having lots of dreams at night.

In the morning, we found a few small squids and flying fishes on the trampoline, all dried up.

Ivo managed to hook and pull out a big tuna. No screaming this time. I made lots of sushi. Our booby bird is eating all the fish guts and skin directly from Maya’s hands. He is still with us, feeling confident, walking around the boat, leaving to fish and coming back after a few hours, and if we let him he will enter inside the boat. He is now acting rather cheeky.

The wind is getting stronger 20-24 kts, we are doing 7-8 kts with big waves. I wish the wind and waves drop down again.

Quarter of the way.

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DAY 8

May 5, 2016 –S 06 04’ 59’’ W 103 14’ 42’’, Dist to Dest 2123, GPS heading 260, wind SE 16-20, air temp 25 C

Choppy bumpy seas all night and morning.

Calm day with less wind.

I make bread in the morning and muffins in the afternoon. The boat smells like bakery, leaving a sweet, slightly mildew trail behind, and surely those following us will be wondering where this vanilla-chocolate smell is coming from in the middle of the ocean. We know there are other boats sailing west, so there must be someone not too far. The radar and AIS can detect boats up to 20-30 NM away, but there may be someone 40 or 60NM behind us. At this time of the year, from May to August, lots of sailboats are doing the passage west. Probably at least 20 boats are crossing the Pacific at the same time as us. But this ocean is so vast, the distances are so great and sailboats are so small and so slow, that even those who leave together get separated by the difference in speed after 1-2 days. Many cruisers keep in touch via SSB radio and now we have the affordable IridiumGo Satellite option to chat between boats. We don’t have an SSB radio and our IridiumGo is not sending messages, so our communication with land and other boats is restricted to receiving messages only. Ivo cannot figure out the problem. We feel pretty isolated and alone.

Our booby-bird is gone. We imagined he will sail with us the whole way. But he didn’t. Hope he will be OK and find another boat, as he is now too far away from land. We miss him.

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DAY 9
To be continued…

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