Thursday June 18, 2009
12 degrees, 51 minutes N, 148 degrees, 16 minutes W
Three days of sailing to windward in 17-20 knots. Waves come up over the bow, rush back over the side decks, or appear like invisible critics on the sidelines tossing buckets of water at you, drenching you while you are innocently standing at the wheel. It's as if the utopia of our little boat has been taken over gradually by a tyrant. At first you object strongly but gradually you come to accept the situation and try to eke what joy you can out of life, a little reading, a little star gazing, the odd piece of chocolate.
But meanwhile it takes a lot of energy to do simple things, having to hold on to avoid being thrown across the boat. Fortunately the galley is downwind so things don't come flying off the counters and out of the cupboards when you're cooking, but the head is upwind, which requires agility.
It is not easy to accept that nature is above all indifferent to the beauty and the obstacles it throws at us. It just doesn't care that there are earnest environmentalists here, trying hard not to lose any plastic overboard, or burn too much fuel, simply wanting to make their way, without bothering anyone, to safe port.
The good thing is that we have been sailing steadily at an average of about 150 miles a day and at the moment are just over 500 miles from Hawaii, a few more days of sailing away. We are already noticing the change in ocean regime; the water temperature is 2 degrees colder than Tahiti. Last night we wore sweaters for the first time since leaving Mexico. Soon we will see the first signs of land: contrails, fishing floats, maybe a big 'ol American warship.
Meanwhile, today the winds are lighter and coming from behind the beam. The boat flattens out and we can finally clean up and cook a good meal. Our thoughts turn to the end of the journey, the restaurants, the laundromats, the hot shower and internet again. There are always a lot of unanswered questions on these trips. This time I will be curious to see what I can find out when I get in about the dorado, who always seem to travel in pairs, each taking a lure, port and starboard, as if in some mutual suicide pact; also, the meteor shower which seems to be falling from the northern sky the last few nights.
I hope you are all able to find a find a dark field to walk through in your bare feet, to watch a few falling stars on the solstice.