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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Pacific ocean Passage. Days 13, 14, 15, 16 &17

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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

Day 13

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.

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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!

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Day 14

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…

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Day 15

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.

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Day 16

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.

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Day 17

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…”

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DAY 18
To be continued…

Watch our newest YouTube video: Pacific Ocean Passage

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Support us on Patreon @The Life Nomadik
Watch us on YouTube @Fata Morgana

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