Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Day 21

Some morning random thoughts from the captain:

-let's see...now that the sun is up, maybe the massive dark gray rain squalls that hammered us all night long will finally dissipate. (A quick glance on the horizon and the radar)...huh, looks like the answer this morning in a definite, NO.

-If a rain squall is about 5 miles away and traveling towards us at 1 mile or so every 5 minutes, that would give me plenty of time to go make some oatmeal, right? Of course, boiling water on the stove in the disgustingly hot humid cabin will be a bit of sweaty work, and having to hold the pot of water the whole time so that DK's incessant rolling doesn't throw it off the stove. Hmmm...10-15 minutes down below...worth it? ok, what else can i have for breakfast?

-nic hasn't moved a muscle since she bedded down an hour ago. she is by far the lightest sleeper i know...must be really really tired today.

-what's that smell? more flying fish casualties on deck? no, just my shirt. when was the last time i changed it? hmmm...must be 5 days now. wonder if it will make it until xmas? :)

-and why does my head itch so much? well, let's see, when was the last time i took a proper shower and scrubbed my head? Cape Verdes, 11 days ago i think. last time showering on deck and scrubbing my head using the cockpit hose?? hmmm...must be 4 days now....ahh, so that's why my head itches. i'll make a note of it.

-i'm enjoying my cup of black tea (with 2 bags in, of course) this morning while watching the rain squalls build and the sun's "God's rays" filter down behind. sure is beautiful, but, man, i sure am missing a cup of coffee. wonder when i had a cup of good coffee last? oh yeah, the Cape Verdes, 11 days ago, and the only one i've had since we left the Canary Islands 21 days ago. sure wish i didn't feel seasick if i drank coffee on passage. wonder if they have eggnog in the Caribbean? oh yes, i do love some good 'nog'. what a Xmas present that would be...a cup of dark roast with some eggnog in it. i'll let ya know...

-these booby birds sure are fun to watch hunt for flying fish. but, boy are they stupid birds. they are still the only seabirds who have circled and dove on our fishing lures in the past 4 years of sailing. plus, it was a booby who actually did decide to circle, contemplate, then, yes, land on our spinning wind generator in the Pacific Ocean. expecting a blood bath of booby parts, we were elated to see that the wind generator wasn't spinning fast enough and instead only threw the booby into our mainsail where it lay for an hour, stunned, unscathed, and just stared at us with this perplexed look saying, "wow. that wasn't what i expected. where am i again?" An hour later it flew away, thankfully, with no blood residue left behind all over our boat and sail.

-here comes the wind again. (watching my instruments while i write this i see the wind jump from 15 to 25 knots). the boat heels over. outside it is black again. rain squall coming. better head out to the cockpit, trim the jib, put on my raincoat, remove all books and pillows from the cockpit, put companionway boards in to protect the cabin from getting wet, and go deal again. let's see, how long has it been since i just did this....30 minutes...not bad, not bad.

-nic said she might have seen a glimpse of the full moon eclipse last night. very red, just a slice of moon peeking out from the layers of clouds above. bummer it wasn't a clear night, last night was our cloudiest in 21 days. guess we are picking up the rain vibe from the western US, as it sounds like everyone is getting wet this Xmas.

-the dolphins sure were cool 2 nights ago. after not seeing a pod in almost 2 weeks, we had visits from 2 different pods in an hour. the first was a smaller group of very large (7-8') "roughtooth dolphins". big, mellow, dark mottled-grey with lots of scratches...they came and hung with us for an hour surfing our bow-wave and just saying hello.
then, the spinner dolphin pod came at sunset. i could see them coming from all directions at one, springing 10 feet out of the big rolling 10-15 foot waves, and racing to our boat. they reminded me of a big pack of ecstatic tail-wagging golden retrievers, so excited to come play and visit. and play they did. there must have been hundreds of them, all around our boat. 20 of them often vying for position at the bow-wave at front and the rest launching out of the waves sometimes 10-15 feet in the air in two's and three's and four's. so fun. you couldn't help but have a perma-grin just watching them through the last minutes of twilight.

-should i even say this. ok, knock on wood, the captain is super pleased...DK is holding up really well on this passage. yes, we have had some issues with reef lines chafing through, our Monitor wind vane temporarily not working, needing to re-set and program our Balmar charging regulator to work properly, and, of course, some small glitches with our Raymarine instruments (imagine that)...but, we are so thankful that is it. DK is holding up amazingly well considering the miles we are putting under her keel and the constant wear and tear of the ocean.

-unfortunately, our friends on the boat, Magnum, who are only 100 miles in front of us and whom we speak to on the HF radio every evening, aren't doing as well. Anne is battling with seasickness still....this is the rolliest she has ever been on the boat before, she says. also, their steering cable has now broken twice. Uwe has it held together with clamps and it seems to be working right now. their whisker pole to mast attachment broke yesterday, so no 'poling out the jib' for them anymore. and, they drained there first fuel tank and plugged up the fuel filter with algae. not a good sign, means that at least that particular tank has a thick covering of algae in it. a big job for later. bummer.
but they are hanging in there and thrilled that they are on the 3 day count down. they should drop the hook in St.Lucia on Xmas eve day.

-only 500 miles to go until landfall in Bequia, in the Grenadines of the Caribe. Looks like landfall on Xmas morning if all goes well....only 3 more full days after today.

So, Happy Solstice everyone! On the shortest day of the year, Nicole and I wish you all more light to bring good health and good energy for the new year!
Thanks for all of you who have been reading our words, writing us emails on passage, and/or for just sending us positive vibes for a crossing! We feel it.

el capitan


RichC said...

Just so you know "el capitan" and Nic, I've appreciated your daily updates (enjoyed the not so regular ones this past year too). I wanted to wish both of you a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year as you look forward to a safe landfall in the land of warmth. It's good to hear that DK is holding her own, although the banging and slamming over and over can't be good?

FYI ... I do appreciate and enjoy your sharing the 'realism' that is part of bluewater passagemaking -- itchy head, coffee and seasickness, holding onto the pot for cooking, etc. Keep that coming as it does tend to separate your blog from others.

Best wishes for a great 2011!

Anonymous said...

Hey Dreamkeeper, pretty big passage you are on rightnow. Sounds like things are going well. Too bad about Magnum, but I'm sure Uwe will manage. That guy is amazingly calm and smart. Merry Christmas, hope you get that hook down and are able to enjoy it.
Kevin Todd