Pacific Ocean Passage Days 18, 19, 20, 21, 22 & 23

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Pacific Ocean Passage Day 1
Pacific Ocean Passage Day 2, 3 & 4
Pacific Ocean Passage Day 5, 6, 7 & 8
Pacific Ocean Passage Day 9, 10, 11 & 12
Pacific Ocean Passage Day 13, 14, 15, 16 & 17

Day 18

May 15, 2016 – S 09 21’ 50’’ W 127 05’ 28’’ Dist to Dest 690 NM, GPS heading 265, wind E8-10 kts, cloudy, air temp 28 C

Very calm sea. Slow progress with 3-4 kts. No fish.

I cook potatoes with corned beef for lunch. We wish we had some fresh fruits and vegetables. Some fresh meet. Almost nothing left to eat, except canned and dried foods. Most of the 100 eggs we got in Galapagos have gone bad, even though I kept them in the fridge. I think, half were already bad when we bought them. Who knows how long they have been traveling before reaching the small stuffed shop on Isabela Island. The fresh stuff finished after about 10 days of sailing, except the potatoes. We love potatoes. But they are starting to go bad too- soft, wrinkly, with dark spots and some stink like hell- these go in the ocean.

Cabbage, carrots and onions keep the longest, as well as apples and oranges. In the fridge, they can easily last for over a month, but outside the fridge, when the air temperature is 30 C day and night- couple of weeks is the max. Too bad there is not enough space for all fresh provisions in the fridge. Our boat fridge is not the same as your fridge at home. Our boat fridge is a box half the size of normal fridges and you have to open it horizontally. If you need to take out something from the fridge (like a block of cheese), you have to remove all the stuff that’s on top (like cartons with eggs, bottles, salads, tomatoes, open jars with olives or strawberry jam) to reach the thing that you need on the bottom. Because the thing that you need is always at the bottom of the fridge.

Good thing we have tons of flour- I make pretty good bread.

No fish.

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Day 19

May 16, 2016 – S 09 27’45’’ W 129 03’42’’ Dist to Dest 573 NM, GPS heading 265, wind E8-10 kts, a few clouds, air temp 28 C

Another beautiful night with bright moon. Calm sailing. It’s getting too hot.

Ivo pulled out a nice tuna! Sushi is once again on the menu today! And tomorrow…

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It feels kind of lonely in the middle of the ocean, yet, we are never alone. We’ve been seeing birds- day and sometimes even at night- almost every day of this passage. We thought there will be no birds in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, but there are. Not many- just one or two at a time. And they don’t seem lost or tired. They fly low, looking for fish, or float on the water and rest; they even come to check us out with curiosity before flying away to wherever they are going.

Even when there are no birds in sight, we know the sea beneath us is alive with creatures. Dolphins come up for air every now and then and play around the boat, even whales occasionally. Entire schools of flying fish suddenly emerge with panic from the sea surface all around the boat. They fly in long curves sometimes up to a meter high like huge dragonflies making helicopter sounds and splash with tiny belly flaps as they enter the sea again. We find dead flying fish and squid all dried up on the deck almost every morning. And then there are all the fish and other sea creature which we never see but we know they are there, right under the boat- fishes of all kinds and sizes, and sharks too. Deep underneath us.

Hostile environment in which humans are unable to survive, the sea is vastly unexplored. It’s unnatural for people to be in the sea- we need air and land. Yet, here we are.

Day after day- in the sea.

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Day 20

May 17, 2016 – S 09 45’09’’ W 130n52’47’’ Dist to Dest 464 NM, GPS heading 260, wind E6-8 kts, clear, air temp 28 C

Slowest progress since the beginning. It has been 19 days. Alone in the ocean. With only birds and sea creatures around us.

We’ve been moving the watch adding an hour every few days a few times already.

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It somehow doesn’t feel like we’ve been moving at all, or going somewhere. Not because of the slow speed. It’s as if we are staying in one spot- at the center of a big blue never-changing circle defined by the horizon. Never getting closer to or further from anywhere.

The blue circle around us doesn’t move; remains the same day after day. Sometimes it feels as if the Galapagos Islands are just behind the eastern horizon, and it was yesterday we last saw them. Or that the Marquesas Islands are just behind the western horizon and we will spot them any minute now. And sometimes it feels like there are no islands at all and we are sailing forever on a planet made entirely by oceans. We have lost the sense of time and distance.

Imagine… Some things are hard to imagine- watching out of a window of a slow-moving train crossing an endless desert.

If it’s not the GPS to determine our position on the chart, we would be completely confused about time and space.

The art of determining your exact position by looking at the stars have been almost entirely lost our days. And many other arts… The connection Man-Nature has been replaced by Man-Technology, and sailing has become so much easier, but also- we have become so much more dependable on gadgets that can break any minute.

Maya finally finished her math book and all 23 tests at the end- a huge accomplishment! It’s been two years of torture with this thick boring math book we got in Trinidad and Tobago and now it’s finished. No math for Maya for the next few weeks.

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Day 21

May 18, 2016 – S 10 02’37’’ W 133 05’40’’ Dist to Dest 332 NM, GPS heading 265, wind ENE 12-14 kts, clear, air temp 29 C

Good progress with 5-6 kts and smooth sailing. Spinnaker day and night.

We are washing the boat, cleaning, doing laundry (by hand in the big orange buckets). Our freshwater tanks hold 800L and the Catalina MK II Spectra Watermaker desalinates 42L drinkable water per hour. We keep the water tanks half full in order to reduce the weight on the front, but we still have enough water for cleaning, washing and showers. The solar panels produce enough electricity for the watermarker and all other electronics aboard, so we haven’t used the engines at all, not for a single second.

Last time we used the engines was in Galapagos, during the tsunami alert. There was a major earthquake in Ecuador- about 500NM away and we had a tsunami warning just after sunset one evening, so we had to evacuate the anchorage in a hurry with all the rest of the boats- about 20-30 vessels of all sorts- and wait for a few hours in deeper waters away from land. The tsunami never reached us, or was so insignificant, that we didn’t feel it, so we all motored back to the anchorage, and went to bed. That’s the last time we used the engines.

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Day 22

May 19, 2016 – S 10 21’07’’ W 135 11’38’’ Dist to Dest 207 NM, GPS heading 270, wind ENE 14-16 kts, cloudy, air temp 29 C

We are getting really close to the Marquesas, it’s exciting.

Six squalls one after another. We call it “the squall tournament”. They are not too strong and now we have the beer crates ready, so we are not worried.

After the “big squall”, we attached long ropes to the two yellow plastic beer crates we got in Galapagos- big and sturdy , for 1-litre bottles- and we used them as drogues deployed from the stern in strong wind and waves to prevent surfing and stabilize the boat. We prepared them after the big squall a few days ago and we tried them already in one squall. They perform amazingly. I wish we had them ready earlier.

It’s extremely hot. Suffocating. The thermometer reached 31 C. it’s not much cooler at night. We are cooling ourselves pouring buckets of seawater on our heads.

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Day 23

May 20, 2016 – S 10 26’52’’ W 137 56’08’’ Dist to Dest 44 NM, GPS heading 275, wind E6-8 kts, cloudy, air temp 30 C

At noon, there are only 44 nautical miles left to the first island of the Marquesas.

A strange thing is happening with the three of us. We are kind of nostalgic, rather than excited. Instead of happy and ecstatic, we feel profoundly sad and reluctant at the thought of land and civilization. Maya even cried a tiny little bit. We wish we could just keep sailing. Maybe there is some scientific explanation for this unusual psychological state of mind.

Ivo pulled out another tuna. Two others got away.

The wind is dying out. We are slowing down. We can see a mysterious, almost transparent silhouette of an island slowly emerging from the western horizon. Our perfect blue circle has suddenly changed to become a diamond ring. We are staring at Fatu Hiva shining not too far away.

Sunset. We will arrive at night.

In a place beyond reality.

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