Saturday, May 3, 2014

Day 19 - Arrival -

So it took us 19 days and about 4 hours to make the 2969 miles. Typical crossing.   Times are about 25 days, so even though we were not the fastest, we are feeling pretty good.

The island is beautiful with very sharp points, and steep cliffs. The "Bay of Virgins" is reputed to be one of the most beautiful bays in all of the South Pacific.  The little town is very much like a "Bergdorf" in Europe.  The old houses are all in good repair, the yards are well trimmed and there is basically no trash lying around, and it is nestled in this tiny little valley with near vertical mountains reaching up over 1000 feet. We are taking pictures and videos, but I am not sure that we can really capture the grandeur of the place.  Basically it is a super nice place to make landfall!!

On another note, the side of the boat was covered with a very fine moss/seaweed almost 2 feet above the waterline. It took about 3 hours of scrubbing to get the 230' of hull cleaned. And to top it all off, the bottom is covered with these strange barnacles on steroids.

The other 58-foot catamaran made it in 15.2 days versus our19.2-day crossing.  So Shannon is already pushing for a giant Screecher Sail.  I am thinking that 150-mile days are just perfect, primarily because I would be the one installing the screecher!!!


May 2, 2014 and Counting . . .

So as day 19 comes and goes, we are still sailing gently along.  I'm counting day 19 all the way until tomorrow morning at 10 am, which is the time we left from the Galapagos.  Even so, it's looking possible, but not so good.  It's 9:00pm and we have another 63 miles to go.  We've got very light winds, Windometer reading 5.5 knots on the top of the mast.  We are going an incredible 3.9 knots.  At this speed, we're looking at another 15 hours or actually slightly more.  We shall see as the wind changes, but at this point all predictions are that it only gets lighter . . . I think I'm going to claim a win if we are within their governing waters.  Galapagos had a 40-mile radius that you could not fish in their waters, etc.  Anyone know what the surrounding area of the Marquesas is?  I may need that knowledge in the near future.  Because you certainly claim to have gone SCUBA diving in the Marquesas even if you are off the coast!  It's not like you claim you were SCUBA diving in the Pacific in general when you are that close to an island.  So, I think it's not landfall, but rather land sighting, that counts.  And I'm anticipating that we wake in the morning with views of land!!!  Something we haven't seen hide or hair of for almost 3 weeks!  That will be a welcome sight!  We have seen increasing birds, but not that many more. 

As we approached the Galapagos, we had 7 motorboats blow by us just in the time we were reeling in that gigantic fish.  I'm wondering if we get the same here?  Will there be signs of pangas, motorboats, fishermen or anything before actually arriving at land?

This morning started out with all kinds of activities.  Courage started the generator and water-maker so that we could do a load of laundry.  Un-named people urinated in their bed requiring urgent action.  I washed our sheets also, which was a bonus!  We also added water to the port hull.  Then Courage gave the boys haircuts and everyone went to the back steps for showers, soap and everything!!  

Can you believe it!  We will hit land tomorrow clean as a whistle and smelling like roses!!  (Or at least not smelling like old flying fish that we've been playing with.)

The other two boats we have contact with are ahead of us and are both motoring as of this morning.  The one behind us is still a day behind as far as we can tell.  So we figure Daphne hit land yesterday, Moana Roa and Malua today, us tomorrow and Field Trip probably May 3rd.  Nice spacing, good run for everyone!

We brought in another smaller tuna today. With the generator running and the fish being smaller, so not really pulling, we didn't exactly notice it right away.  By the time we'd reeled it in, it was dead.  We probably would have thrown it back since we already have some fish and it was smaller, but we kept it.  It's nothing to sneeze at, it's probably about 4-5 pounds, but still a relatively little guy out here.  Finished our other 2 fish today and will have him for lunch tomorrow probably.  I had predicted catching 7 fish; we are at 4.  But I hadn't predicted that we would not be fishing as part of the equation.  That always puts a damper on progress.

We had a great watermelon for lunch today.  I was impressed.  Not grainy or anything, like some have been, just juicy and nice.  Had our last pineapple for dinner also.

So, it's been a great run.  You could make an adventure series out of it, but all in all, it's been a very pleasant trip.  We lost our starboard motor to fishing line wrapped in the prop.  Our boom disconnected from our mast, so our mainsail was out of commission.  If that didn't do it, the cars from the very top of the sail jumped the track putting it out of commission.  We wrapped our spinnaker on our Genoa, so our headsails were both useless.  Our bilges were filling with water for days on both sides!  Our port water pump went out.  Our main salon built-in furniture is cracking away from the starboard hull.  We took blue-water through the hatches more than once.  We lost many a lure.  The kids were sick with fevers a few days after leaving.  But none of these were issues that couldn't be addressed.  Everything is up and running as best it can.  The electronics performed well, the boat performed well, the crew performed well. 

Vitality is barely green and has a "summer cut" hairdo as we refer to it in these parts.  We watched the video tonight of her after painting herself.  Boy was she thorough, solid coloring mid-chest down to her toes and a decent amount of her back too!

This evening wrapped up with us doing our French for gummies on the bow - la lune (moon), les etoilles (stars), la nuage (clouds), and la mer (ocean) were the words added tonight up there as we were looking out in a very pleasant warm breeze.  Then we pulled out the iPad and looked at the constellations.  It impressively also shows the satellites, so the boys got a total kick out of seeing where the satellites were since we just watched the video "Earth from Space" which was a summary of findings from images from satellites in space.

No wind, no rain, no waves, just a pleasant 4 knot drift under spinnaker in a star filled sky with a few clouds and a crescent moon.  A great conclusion to what is hopefully our last night at sea after finishing one of the longest possible passages available in the world without hitting land (unless you specifically detour to miss it).  The guidebook actually says Seattle to Marquesas is shorter due to Panama being so far east.  I think I didn't realize how far east we were really.  So here is a pleasant goodnight to all.

Looking forward to experiencing a new culture, new language, and new island navigations.


Friday, May 2, 2014

Day 18 -

Just a wonderful sleigh ride down the waves, with 80.1 degree water, and a bunch of happy naked children romping around.  Cassidy not having learned from her first experience, jumped in again, but this time was able to catch her suit bottom with her toes.  Maybe it is time to upgrade to a one piece! - - or at least not something that is held on with strings.

Looks like we should make landfall sometime later tomorrow.  Now it looks like it is going to be within a few hours of 19 and 20 days. Now Shannon who bet 19 days is saying that we left at 10am Galapagos time, and as long as arrive before 10am Marquesas time she is claiming a win.  What is everyone’s input on that?  My 21 days is not looking good!!

Until tomorrow!!!


May 1, 2014 - Almost There -

Getting close!!  This morning Courage threw out the lures before even breakfast.  Since we are moving slower, we figured we could use the rods and reels.  Within 5 minutes, both fishing rods were reeling.  Courage grabbed the first and I grabbed the second.  As we reeled in, the lines were crossed.  Cassidy took over Courage's reel while he worked on it.  I walked my reel across the back of the boat by climbing into the dinghy so that the lines were together.  My fish came in first, a nice sized tuna.  Not a monster from the sea, but maybe an 8 pounder.  Perfect.  He became unhooked on our bottom swim step as he came up; Courage jumped on him and kept him onboard.  Then Cassidy wound hers in, about a 10# tuna.  Beautiful!  We brought in the lines, as that was enough fish for a couple of days for sure!  Great start to the day!  The kids made a fish stew of tail, roe and heart.  Mmmmmm.

The net was only Cassidy talking to 2 other boats. They are both 50 miles ahead of us.  We have 250 miles to go, they have 200 each.  One of them was motoring.  The other shared a story of when they came into Chile they motored and had only a couple liters of fuel left.  When they tried to resupply, they couldn't get fuel, so had to leave with none.  He said he learned his lesson about motoring to an empty tank when entering a remote harbor and counting on fuel.  It's true.  We've heard that these little remote islands that we are going to have a run on their fruits/veggies when all these boats arrive.  ATMs may be empty for weeks.  I imagine fuel is the same issue.  We couldn't get diesel or propane in the Galapagos.  There were some deals for diesel worked in the cover of night by some of the boats where locals mark up the price they pay $1.25/gallon to $5/gallon and sell it to boats, which is forbidden.  Who knows what the local politics will be at any particular place that you go next.  We are OK for fuel.

So far we have been sailing in the light winds at 4-5 knots.  We can't motor much faster and we'd be wasting fuel and spending money that way.  Courage pulled the spinnaker to the starboard side and opened the Genoa to the port side - - sort of a wing on wing scenario to try to increase our canvas acreage.  The other boats on the net were fascinated that we are still heading nicely downwind under a spinnaker.  We've been doing it for days and holding the same ground with them every day.  They are doing tacks and sail changes many times per day to optimize.  We are going a straight line to our destination, we are going with the waves making it smoother, and we are moving decently.  No need to change that!

We are going to have to start our motors when we get closer, but not for a while.  Our starboard motor is out of commission at this point.  We caught that fishing line a couple of weeks back and it's really hooked down there, so probably wrapped on the prop and/or rudder.  It hasn't been calm enough to dive on it and it's not desperate that we do it, but we can't use our starboard engine until we get that sorted out.

We had tuna for lunch, tuna for dinner, and we love it!  I used my Italian dressing overstock to season the fish for lunch and it was quite good.  I have decided to use canned chicken and Caesar dressing to have chicken Caesar wraps or something.  Looking forward to it.  Couldn't really open a can of chicken when we had fresh tuna and tuna Caesar didn't sound good.  So, it'll have to wait.

Our power is low; we aren't moving fast enough for the hydro-generator and the winds aren't enough for the wind generators, so it's only solar.  With the fish, we needed to run the fridge a fair amount, so we are on the low side for power!

The entire boat has things dropped on the floor.  I guess I've given up.  I get seasick when I change position a lot (like bending down, standing up, turning around, etc.)  So spending hours bending down picking up sounds completely unwelcome.  And despite efforts, gravity is extreme out here at sea apparently, so an amazing amount of things hit the floor every day, making it a futile effort.  I'll admit when I beat, no sense in exercises of utility.  But, it appears that once we are anchored and have been to shore a few times, I'm going to send everyone to shore and spend a little personal time finding the floor.  Better yet, I'm going to employ the children to find the floor if possible.  They can pick up; it's the organizing and storing that they need the help on.  They just pile it somewhere else.  But at this point, I have decided to accept what is, live with it until better circumstances to make a meaningful improvement.

We've been watching the "Human Plant" PBS special (thanks Grandma and Grandpa for the videos).  It's been very interesting.  Our travels make these cultures not seem so bizarre.  There was an 11-year-old hunting tarantulas in the jungle and cooking them on a fire, guys catching bats in nets for dinner, people shooting poison darts at monkeys for dinner, a guy climbing a 70-foot tree freehand for honey, etc.  While I'm not necessarily recommending this lifestyle, I can see the settings in which they make sense.  It's nice to get a perspective of these cultures that is not just foreign and bizarre, but understanding their settings and circumstances that make their solutions actually very reasonable and practical.


Day 17 - Fish

Yes it is true, and not just one fish, but two nice tuna!! Shannon wound in one and at the same time Cassidy and I wound in the other. These were not the giants, but more normal sized. Already ate half a fish for lunch!! It was super delicious!

Now Valiant loves to fish, he loves to hold fish, and he absolutely loves to eat fish. Now the tuna has a strip of dark meat that tastes quite fishy. Most of the children will not eat it, but we changed its name to chocolate, and Valiant just loves it. In fact he eats more fish than anyone, and when there is fish for dinner don't even offend his sensibilities by offering him anything else!

During the dissection process of the tuna, two basically complete squid and a bunch of roe were found. Per Intrepid though the tuna did not have a heart, he took the whole tuna apart, and there just wasn't a heart!

Some of the other boats in the race have started to motor, so we are feeling pretty good that we still have some wind. We are hoping to make it in about 2 more days.


Wednesday, April 30, 2014

April 30, 2014 -

Very slow and smooth describes today.  We haven't made much ground, but it sure is pleasant and calm out.  So it's a trade off for sure.  I think I've traded in my victory on a 19 day crossing for a smooth run instead though.  This evening we basically have 300 more miles to go. That's not much progress for today, maybe 70 miles.

On the net this morning, we are in a day’s reach of a few boats.  We will all likely arrive within a day or two of each other.  No big events reported otherwise.

We are actively fishing today, looking for a big one!! - -Or a medium one. .   We got a bite this evening and we all ran out to see.  Courage was reeling it in, and the line snapped, almost at the end by the fishing pole, not the bit end.  So, we donated another lure to the war again today.  Good news is that we got a bite!  There's something out there!

It's the end of the month, so we restocked our food for another month.  We decided to pull it out of the bilge in front of Costco since the water pump for the washing machine stopped working and it's down there.  Not to mention that bilge pump has been working overtime.  So, since Courage needed to get into the bilge, we emptied half of it out (It has 2 months in there).  I love restocking in the middle of the ocean.  No money and minimal time and effort involved.  And we are lightening the boat every day that we eat.  I hear about the weight of the boat on a regular basis!

So, now that we are on our third month of our 10-month provisioning, I can see a few things that are too much or not enough.  In general, I'm very happy with what we've got.  We've done well with our fresh stuff, so I have too many canned veggies.  I also have too much pancake mix and syrup.  I have huge pancake mix bags for almost every month.  We have Sunday morning pancakes.  Making pancakes 4-5 times per month does not use up a large bag of mix.  I figured on extra so that in case we ran out of oats, we'd have some alternatives because boxed cereal is expensive, gets bugs, and is bulky to store and breaks easily if not protected.  Anyway, we'll need to have a big pancake breakfast for the locals one day somewhere.  Or a cruisers breakfast party??  I also have too much salad dressing.  We have stopped eating all raw veggies, like cabbage and lettuce, after some intestinal issues.  So, therefore salad dressing isn't as needed.  I have Italian and Caesar, so need to come up with other plans/recipes.  Open to suggestions.  We ran out of raisins earlier than we should have.  And we tapped into another month's ginger snaps for the crossing.  Ginger is good for nausea, so I figured it's OK to steal from another month.  We won't want them as much then as we do now.  Otherwise, I'd say we're pretty plush!!  We had some left over canned meats, so I need to get into the mode of using it, not saving it!!  Hard to change gears on that when it feels like such a commodity!!  Also very well off on popcorn, so we had it for snack today and we'll be having it more often.

Unfortunately, my soda cans stored in the bilge have been popping open!!  They are nicely stacked where they don't have pressure, aren't rolling around or anything.  We think though that when they came onboard they were left in the rain, saltwater, and sun for a day on the back swim-steps before being brought up.  This seems to have taken a toll on them.  Every time we open the bilge, a new set of them has exploded their caps!!  This time it's been awhile, so they were molded too.  Very nice to clean up!!  Guess I'll have to stop drinking soda?  Would be good . . .

So initially I was blamed for the washing machine pump going out.  Initially I'm blamed for everything though, so this is not unfamiliar.  Apparently I took a nap before the load of laundry was done.  I looked at it, thought it was done, considered putting it out on the lines to dry, but decided to go lay down during "quiet time" while I could.  The machine was not done; it was trying to fill up for the rinse cycle.  So I was blamed for the pump "burning out."  Fortunately on further investigation today, the wiring to give it power had corroded, so the pump wasn't even trying to give water in the first place.  Hmmm.  I have already declared that I am not to blame for the corrosion.

The bilge had a decent amount of salt water in it.  All of our bilge pumps have been running off and on throughout the past week.  I'm hoping this is related to the waves and motion rather than some new inlet for water!!  So, we're taking on water.  I'm told that the bilge pumps themselves are the leaks.  Since their outlets are made to pump the water out of the boat, when a big wave hits, the water comes in through them or some such things.  Hmmmm again.  Trust but verify!  Anyway, with that much water in the bilge, I can hardly take all the blame for the weight in the hulls.  And as far as the weight, in my defense, it's not like it's a purse and shoe collection for me.  "My" weight items are food for the family, spare sheets, blankets, and the kid's warm clothes.  I don't really feel a lot of guilt on this one.  Every cruiser couple I've me though I think has the same dynamics.  She wants it to be a comfortable home; he wants it to be a performance vehicle.  I've run the gamut of couples we've met and cannot think of the exception to this yet.  I'm sure it's out there, but I don't think I've seen it firsthand.  Every couple has a different balance of course, but the goals seem to be universal.

French for gummies went well again tonight with little bits of repetition at a time.  We'll get there!  Then homemade M&M cookies for dessert!  Chocolate chips were incredibly expensive in Panama and don't fare well in this hot/humid environment.  But M&M's, which melt in your mouth, not in your hands, do much better.

Anxiously awaiting a fish and/or land, but enjoying a very smooth sail until then!  Hard to complain!


Day 16 -

We are just ghosting along.  Going straight downwind with a casual following sea.  The children are really enjoying playing on the bottom swim step.  The waves wash in and out of the stairs making for a perfect play place.

Just found a giant stash of peanuts so as it turns out I am going to be just fine!  Today is the day we dig out next month’s provisions from the bilge.  Looks like we are going to be eating pretty well!!

We have bilge pumps in most of our bilges, and have found that they back-feed water into the boat in rough seas.  The water comes up so high on the side of the boat that the hose allows water to flow into the bilge.  Then of course the bilge pump alarm light comes on telling the whole boat that we are taking on water. 

Now comes the difficult part. Try explaining why taking on water is nothing to worry about in the middle of the ocean.  'Course Shannon's only concern is "is the food in the bilge getting wet?".  The whole trick seems to be to act casual about it, and make up some story about how the water is just flowing in through the bilge hoses!!


Tuesday, April 29, 2014

April 29, 2014 -

Hello from nearer the Marquesas than not.  We are less than 500 miles to go.  Winds are lighter and predicted to do so continually over the next few days, so I am not optimistic about my 19 days.  20 days sounds most likely, 21 is possible if we really slow down.  On the upside, the waves seem to be less also!  And we are slow enough that we've put lures out again!  Come on dinner!!

The net is now at 6 am our time.  Cassidy was in charge at that time.  She couldn't hear much of anything, except our single-handed mono-hull.  She did not check in for us today since she could not hear the net controller.  She didn't get positions for many boats either.  We got an email from our friends on a catamaran that left the Galapagos on the 21st.  They are only at 3 degrees south and flying with 20-25 knots of wind!!  Said the seas were wild to go along with the big winds, but they are moving!  Good for them.  We hardly saw that kind of wind, and had to come to 7 degrees south to get to those trade winds.  By the time we get to the islands in a few days, our winds are predicted to be 8 knots (so we may be able to travel at 4 knots).

Who's to say that homeschooling is boring.  We have many programs going on here on Lil' Explorers.  One is our fly breeding program!  The Galapagos had many flies.  Maybe a protected species, not sure, but we wiped them out as we left the islands.  We've been enjoying not having them.  Well, apparently the original group laid eggs in our first garbage bag that we had onboard.  It's been wrapped up and stored on the top back swim step since it stinks.  We only have 3 bags of garbage in 3 weeks, so that's pretty good for 8 people.  Over the past 2 days we've noticed flies again.  I've been killing them, only to have more the next morning.  We went to check the garbage bag today, it's booming with life!!!  We double bagged it and are working on mitigating the interior options for the flies that have escaped.

We also have had a lovely bloom of fruit flies.  We could do some incredible genetic experiments if we had that ambition.  We've taken our tomatoes and onions outside.  Today, Innocence and I juiced 30 oranges - all we had left.  Our arms were exhausted!!  No scurvy for this crew!!  It was delicious!  We had to add some sugar to take the tang off; they were pretty tart fruits naturally.  We had almost 2 jugs full of juice and drank it all!  We washed the baskets they were in, launching about 30 fruit flies into the atmosphere.  The swatter doesn't get them.  I've taken to clapping them out of the sky and my aim is getting better.  So, we are bleaching and working on removing all areas of interest for them and clapping them out of the sky when feasible.

Our French for Gummies program is alive and well.  We can say, "Hello, my name is ____.  I am ____ years old."  Bonjour, je m'appelle _____.  J'ai _____ ans.  (Right Cindy?)  I've started doing sentences rather than random words.  It seemed they recognized the words, but not what it meant.  Now that we say hello, my name is . . . They get the fact that "bonjour" is a greeting like hello.  Before, I'd ask what is hello, what is bonjour, and they could say it, but the meaning was lost.  We can count to ten.  Today we added colors.  We would ask each other for different colored bowling pins and passed them around the table to the person who asked.  "Je veux deux vert, s'il vous plait"  (I want two green, please).  We skipped saying "bowling pin" since I have no idea how to say it and I don't see it being very useful in everyday conversation.  Vitality asks 3-4 times per day to do French for Gummies.  She participates, but only through repetition.  Active participator in the gummies though!

Vitality can really swing on the ropes!  She gets a running start from the deck, runs out in a circle, launches off the deck over the trampoline, landing back on the deck as she finishes her circle.  If she looses her grip, she drops onto the trampoline.  She loves it.  No mischief today, at least not blatantly.

For whatever reason, we had tons of power today.  Ran the fridge for hours.   This evening we are watching a PBS special about Earth from Space, which talks about satellite images analyzing the ocean, arctic ice, ocean floor topography through radar images, and weather patterns.  Quite interesting.


Blue Skies, Blue Ocean

Blue skies, blue ocean, and warm weather!  What else could a body want?  I think that we could all use a little land.  We are projecting our landfall in 4 days.  Looks like with our current projected wind conditions we should be able to spinnaker all the way there!

The children have been keeping a stockpile of flying fish.  As it turns out when you dry a flying fish they lose their smell.  So they play with their flying fish, and even Valiant has to get in on it!  I took some video but it doesn't always capture the true essence of the moment.

We have our lure out again in the hope of catching not to big of a fish.  We are hoping that with our slower speeds we will actually be able to haul it in!


Day 15 -

We moved along pretty fast last night.  Wind hit 25 knots, and we flew over the waves. In fact the flying over the waves wasn't the issue, it was the landing that really woke me up. How it works is the big waves sneak up behind you, gently lift the stern, and off you go surfing down the wave. Now at the bottom of the wave there is a lot of water that stops the boat, and wakes whoever is sleeping with a jarring sound/pound.We are still sailing under spinnaker, primarily because we can't get it down, but also because the mainsail has issues when we head downwind. All in all though everything is working very well.

Looks like we should be arriving around the 20-day mark. Shannon is sticking with her 19-day wish, and I am staying strong at the 21-day mark.


April 28, 2014 -

April 28, 2014 -

Our clocks indicate that it's 4-28.  Isn't it?  Doesn't really matter I suppose, they run together.

We had a great day for movement yesterday!!  In the evening, we had winds up to 25 knots behind us - - and that's measured wind, not true wind.  Adding our rate of travel it was 8-10 knots at the time, so we had up to 35 knots of wind!  We were traveling up to 15 knots, especially as surfing down waves.  The waves were getting bigger, at least 10 feet.  Our boat would disappear (not the mast) between the waves.  Since we were really moving, Courage turned us straight downwind (180 degrees) rather than the 120 degrees to the port so that the waves weren't rocking us sideways and we weren't going to backwind the spinnaker at that rate.  This takes us somewhat off our rhumb line, but is safer and smoother.  Yesterday was a record day for us - 190 miles in 24 hours!!  I was impressed.  We've slowed down dramatically today, but still 6-7 knots much of the day.  I think we can arrive in 20 days easy, but 19 will need another banner day.  This evening we have 570 miles to go.

When I woke this morning, we were heading off our rhumb line by quite a bit.  Cassidy was up and had been on watch since 2:30 am.  I asked why we were going that direction.  She didn't know.  She said that at about 5:30 Courage came up in a panic and cranked the wheel.  She wasn't sure why, the sail was fine, the winds hadn't changed.  He does have very vivid dreams sometimes, especially when he's on watch and not sleeping much/well at nights.  He changed it back some and went to bed.  She wasn't sure where it had been or where it should be.  He and I woke at 6 am when the spinnaker was back-winding and flapping.  Cassidy turned the wheel then to realign us.  Despite all these strange events, it seemed we'd been 20 degrees off our line for longer than that.  Who knows, big winds, dark nights, and crazy dreams, but I took a 20-degree left turn when I woke up and we got back on track.

Only 7 boats checked in on the net.  Cassidy was the one that checked in for us.  She could only hear one other boat and another faintly.  The other boat positions were relayed for her.  Everyone threw up big numbers last night!!

I laid Vitality down for nap, took Valiant down to cuddle with him for his nap.  Valiant was screaming, so we woke Courage.  I told him Vitality really needed her nap today.  He got up to have lunch and found Vitality in ‘Costco’.  She had found her way to the sprinkles we use to decorate cupcakes and helped herself.  She has also found our gummy snacks that we use for "French for Gummies" that were for another month and tucked away in a bedroom.  I'm thinking of changing her name to either "Stir Crazy" or "Cabin Fever".  Intrepid came up with a plan at dinnertime tonight, "we need to set up a surveillance on her.  And we need to make sure she doesn't see us."  So they want to set up a spy schedule to help manage her.  

Sheryl - for a boat we are large, for a living space for 8 people, we are small.  But there are many places on here to "get away" and have personal time.  Silence with children is never a good sign even though it may feel welcome at the time.  The good news is that all her activities are safe, just destructive.

We did not fish today; we cannot pull in lures at this speed and force.  So our only hope is for a nice Dorado, sierra, tuna or something to jump and land on our deck like the flying fish do!  Although today we had 6 flying fish and the kids have been playing with them all day.  Who needs Wal-Mart when you have fish landing on your house?  We have rules about the fish staying outside, but Valiant doesn't always comply.  I hope we don't lose one inside only to rot and find later!

We had a nice burrito dinner with the ground beef I canned in January.  It seemed good, the variety and protein at dinner was welcome!!  We cut up our few surviving tomatoes and a pepper.  I didn't watch, but Courage mentioned someone not eating it so that someone can manage the boat and kids if there is an issue with the meat.  I volunteered to throw myself on the sword and eat it.  Not sure what he decided.  I'm not worried, the seal was tight, the meat smelled good, and it tasted good!  We'll know for sure in 6-8 hours.

The kids were stoked this evening.  We set the clock back an hour, so they got to watch a movie.  We've done that a few times so that we can keep with the sun and be on schedule when we arrive.  We just arrived at Pacific Standard Time according to our clock.  Not exactly sure what time zone we're heading for, but we'll be based on the sun I guess.  This will also help my 19-day arrival plan, eh?  Turn the clocks back a bunch more times.


Sunday, April 27, 2014

Sunday at Sea - April 27, 2014

We had a nice day, traveled really well yesterday.  Good winds.  The waves are mostly behind us, sometimes hit us a little bit sideways, but even the waves coming from behind sometimes are taller than the boat and wash the whole bottom of the boat as they pass forward.  We surf forward sometimes, but inevitably it passes us by. We had one wave this afternoon though that hit us with some sideways movement that threw things off our counter including a couple of glass objects.  The half watermelon also flew.  It was quite a hit!!  Another one this evening while Courage was on the trampoline with the kids was such a tall wave that our bridge-deck worked like a plow and just pushed the entire wave ahead of the boat, made it break over and splash the trampoline (and kids!)  I was taking a video, not sure if you can see it well or not yet.

On the net this morning, 7 boats checked in.  All moving along in about the same formation we've been.  One boat caught a billfish, brought it in, even got it with the gaff, and somehow it wiggled away.  Bummer for both the fish and the boat on that one!  Another boat had a car jump out of their main track, found some areas of chaffing, etc, so they are not going to be able to use their mainsail until it gets repaired.  They were thinking Tahiti, but another boat offered that he has crew flying out to meet him in the Marquesas, so if they email her in the next day or two, she can maybe order and pick up parts and bring them.  Sounds like that may work out.  Good to have communication helps speed things up.

We always have Sunday morning pancakes.  This morning, we went fancy.  We were running the generator and water-maker, so I used the waffle iron and we had waffles and peaches for breakfast!  It pegs the amp meter when I use it, so it's a rarity for sure.

Then we fired up the washing machine to use the water and power we were making.  The pump coming from the port water tank to the washing machine wasn't working.  So we hooked up a garden hose to the sink and filled up the washing machine.  We did the same thing for the rinse cycle.  We were filling up with water fast, but still needed the power to finish the washing machine, so we put some water to the port side tank.  Then Courage and I went to the back swim steps and used the hose for a fresh water shower.  Very refreshing.

The guys are having a great time when they play on the bow in the morning and afternoon.  They are rigged up with rope swings tied to the sails, so when the sails rise, so do they.  When the boat rocks, the ropes also tighten.  The randomness adds to the ride.

We caught a fish today, but it got away with the lure.  Totally straightened out the metal connector to the leader. We think we are done fishing for a while, at these speeds there is such pressure on the line even just towing the lure.  We'll wait until we slow down a little and are closer to the islands.  Give us better odds.

We are counting down the miles.  We did 90 miles today in a 12-hour period.  That makes for a good mileage day for us.  We have 20 knots of wind and are still going downwind with a spinnaker.  We are on our rhumb line now, not even veering north for the winds.  This evening we have 750 miles to go.  We've all been excited about our progress.  If we keep this speed or even an average of 6 knots after this, we can make it in 5 days from this evening.  If we do that, it's the evening of day 19 and I'm calling it a win!!  Keep the wind coming!!  As we were impressed with ourselves, Courage pointed out that what we have left is the same distance as Panama to Galapagos, which took us 10 days and our longest crossing before this.  Hmm, that was a bit of a damper, BUT there was another kid boat, a mono-hull racing boat, which made it to the Galapagos in 5 days.  So we can do it!!  We're kind of like a racing boat.  Courage heard the average time from Panama to the Marquesas is 40 days!  Whew!  We were 10 days to the Galapagos, then 14 thus far, at the most probably 20 unless things change, so a total of 30 days.

We finished our celebration with a key lime pie.  Well sort of.  Made with fresh squeezed naranja limones (orange limes), which are orange inside and citrusy, so not key lime, but definitely good.  So we are fresh and well fed and traveling at almost an average of 7-8 knots with clean laundry (that got rained on, so will be out all night and into tomorrow . . .)


Day 14 - Flying Along

Looks like we may have our first 200-mile day. The wind is up to 20 knots, good thing we are just going down wind.

Lost another lure today. The snap for that hooks the lure to the leader just straightened out. Part of the problem is that we are going about 8 knots. Even a small fish puts up a huge amount of force.

So little Valiant learned to walk on the boat, and has no issue walking around as the boat moves under him.  As he drinks water in the kitchen, he casually braces himself against the stove, and his two chubby hands gently hold the cup, as the whole world around him sways and rolls to the waves and wind.

We have taken some extra ropes and tied them to the spinnaker and various parts of the boat. Now the children grab onto these ropes and ride them up and around as the spinnaker fills with wind, and the boat rolls with the waves. It provides hours of fun, and miles of smiles. The hilarity factor is also quite high, as nobody really knows when the ropes will tighten and lift you up! Integrity is of course the craziest spinnaker flier of them all. We think he gets it from Vision.