May 10, 2016 – S 07 55’40’’ W 115 40’34’’ Dist to Dest 1373 NM, GPS heading 245, wind ESE 16-22kts, clear, air temp 26 C
We are in the middle! Maya released the bottle with the messages (in four languages) shaped as a scroll wrapped in a fake 100-dollar bill to attract attention, in case someone finds the bottle and decides not to open it.
The wind and waves have picked up a lot. We are sailing with 7-8 kts. It’s bumpy now with 4-meter waves and it’s getting uncomfortable.
When it’s bumpy and you try to sleep, bouncing up and down in your bed, you wake up and your whole body hurts and it feels bruised, as if you have been in a fight, and lost. I can’t sleep well in bad weather; I wake up with panic at every sound and I tend to dream a lot if I fall asleep at all. There is so much happening and so many people visiting me in my dreams; I wake up exhausted.
When it’s bumpy and you try to cook, you have to be really careful not to spill things or cut yourself, as the whole galley becomes alive and everything is in motion- the dishes, the food, the stove. Making soup or anything liquidy is impossible and ridiculous. Even poring water in a glass is a challenge. Once, an entire bottle of oil fell down and the floor became deadly for a long time.
When it’s bumpy and you try to go to the toiled, you have to be really careful and skillful too, or you might hurt yourself. I have developed a strategy. First, I stand outside the tiny toilet with my back propped on the wall opposite the open door. Now, with both my hands, which until this moment I have used for holding on while walking towards the toilet (you can’t stand up or move around freely on a shaky boat without holding on to something), I pull down my pants without falling. With my pants down, I use my hands for holding on again, and I make the step inside the toilet. I flush while I am still sitting (we have two electrical toilets and flushing is easy enough with a push of a button), and I step outside to pull my pants up with my back to the wall again.
Ivo decided to restart the Iridium Go Satellite and now it works just fine! We can finally not only receive but also send messages!
May 11, 2016 – S 09 01’54’’ W 118 18’32’’ Dist to Dest 1210 NM, GPS heading 230, wind E 20-30kts, cloudy, air temp 27, barometer dropping
The wind picked up even more and worse is predicted for tomorrow. The waves have built up and are coming from all directions. The main is reefed and we are moving with only 6 kts.
Squalls. Gusts to 32 kts. I am scared. In such moments I think I should stop sailing.
The sky is dark, covered in thick low clouds and there is a strange glow in the distance- some orange-pink light. Looks like fire on the water. Could be some opening through the clouds and the sun playing tricks on the sea, but I don’t know…
May 12, 2016 – S 10 11’57’’ W 120 36’54’’ Dist to Dest 1068 NM, GPS heading 275, wind E 20-26kts, cloudy, air temp 26
We are tired. Didn’t sleep much last night and the night before. The sea keeps building up; we are kind of used to the constant movement now.
At 05:00, still dark, a squall hits us with 40 kt winds and rain. We ride it with the main and jib reefed. The waves are huge- they are the scary part. The autopilot fails and Ivo is hand steering through the shit. A few times he thinks the boat will turn over and cannot hold her. Surfing with 12 kts.
The boat is too heavy on the front. It’s filled with books. Hundreds of books, which I couldn’t throw away (because I love them too much- pathetic) and we are carrying them around the world like idiots for four years now. And now we are in big trouble. When the boat is heavy on the front and the waves and wind are pushing from the back, the bow could dive under the water and we could turtle. We need something to stop us from surfing and going so fast, like a drogue or sea anchor, but we don’t have anything.
We decide to drop the main and leave just a bit of the jib out. But this means turning against the wind and waves quickly. Big waves, as big as the boat. We do that successfully.
I send messages to Mel and Krisha with our position, in case of search and rescue. 40 knots wind for one hour is not a huge deal, but for me is supper scary and seams like a deadly storm. For a more experienced sailor 40 kts is “a fresh breeze”.
One hour later, the storm has passed. Sunrise. We are OK. Ivo is fixing the autopilot.
Squalls all the rest of the day, but nothing over 25-30kts. We prepare two big plastic yellow beer crates we got in Galapagos (now empty) attached to long ropes and we use them as drogues in the next squall. They work perfectly, stabilizing the boat and prevent surfing. Now it feels much safer.
May 13, 2016 – S 09 22’58’’ W 122 35’33’’ Dist to Dest 955 NM, GPS heading 305, wind E 16-20kts, clear, air temp 26 C
A fishing boat 11 NM north! Yahatamaru. GPS heading 182. We are not alone for a few minutes!
Finally smooth sea and gentle slow sail. Spinnaker is up again. (It took a while to lift it, but we are getting the hang of it.)
Ivo and Maya are fixing the old jib (16-years old, original sail), which got another 40 cm gash during the big squall. This is the eightieth time we are fixing the jib since we got the boat so the sail looks like an abstract quilt now- patches all over it. Definitely need a new jib.
Another day in the Pacific.
We need fish again.
May 14, 2016 – S 09 23’22’’ W 124 36’13’’ Dist to Dest 836 NM, GPS heading 265, wind E8-10 kts, cloudy, air temp 27 C
Ivo slept all night, exhausted after the storm and squalls and bad weather in the past few days.
I stay behind the wheel trying to remain awake for 6 hours. I don’t mind staying awake; I just don’t want any more storms and squalls. We are moving slowly, the wind is calm and that’s OK.
The night is spectacular. Tiny organisms explode with green light around the boat and in the foam behind it, flickering magically among the reflections of billion stars. We are in space, suspended in the center of a black glass sphere filling with bioluminescence, when you shake it gently.
The moon in this liquid universe is bright and friendly. When the moon is round and big like that it feels like there is someone watching over you and you are not alone. The moon is also the saddest most tragic of faces I’ve known. I have always talked to the moon, since I was a kid and my dad was away on a big cargo ship for a long time, somewhere on the other side of the Black Sea. I used to send messages to the moon and she would relate them to him. That’s how we used to communicate, me and my dad. With the help of the moon. That’s how we still communicate, me and my dad, now that he is no longer with us…
“Tell him, that I miss him…”
To be continued…
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