Monday, April 24, 2017

Around South America

Looking at our logbook, I see that today we crossed our outbound track from San Diego, back in 2011.

So, in a veeerrrry roundabout way that involved a year in Tasmania, we have now completed the circumnavigation of the South American continent.

While we've sailed around a lot, I find that we haven't actually sailed right around many things. New Zealand comes to mind, and what a satisfying trip that was. I hope that we're lucky enough to eventually sail around North America as well, some day.

This sailing life. It looks hard to give up.

Meanwhile, our fondest wishes for the day did come true. Elias and Eric did pull another mahi mahi out of the water, just in time for dinner, making it a 2-mahi mahi meal day.

And, sad note. A weld on the quadrant of the Cape Horn windvane gave up with an heroic clang an hour ago, and part of the quadrant fell into the bilge.

The wind vane had been doing such stellar service on this passage. Now we are without its services until we can get the quadrant welded back together.

Hope that autopilot is feeling well rested and ready to steer us for the next 11 days or so...
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This post was sent via our high-frequency radio as we're far from internet range. Pictures to follow when we reach internet again. We can't respond to comments for now, though we do see them all!

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Sunday, April 23, 2017

Champagne

We're now 21 days into this penultimate passage.

Twenty-one days in, and still about 1800 miles to go by the shortest route. Our previous record of 24 days at sea will be blasted far into second best, no matter what happens.

There has been ample time for everything in these 21 days. Ample time for sweating, early on, and wishing for wind. Now, at the dizzying heights of 12° North latitude, we find it so cool that the blokes sometimes wear shirts at dinner time; jackets have even made an appearance in the depths of night watch.

The time has also been ample for considering the limits to the more boosterish views that you hear expressed about the delights of raising children afloat. News flash: it isn't always idyllic. Eric, poor bloke, has struggled to find his footing for much of this passage. He hasn't fought seasickness at all - he has come far in that regard, at least on a flat sea.

But, trapped like this on the boat for day after long day, he has struggled at times with some of the worst impulses of a six-year-old. When he is alone with Alisa or me he is a delight, but as soon as his brother is around he tends to devolve into fighting and teasing and baby talk. And...we're on passage, so he is by force always around his brother.

Alisa, and especially I, sleep deprived as we are, tend to be short of the patience that an energetic six year old stuck on a boat for three weeks demands.

Looking through old pictures the other night, I was reminded that Galactic is the only home that Eric has really known. Most of the time we wouldn't trade these years of raising a young family at sea for anything; but there are long moments, like a weeks-long passage when one of your kid isn't being his angelic self, when the delight can be hard to find.

Life at sea is just normal life in that regard.

Meanwhile, though, we are well into the champagne sailing. Blue blue sea, sparkling white caps, and steady winds. I occasionally look at the weather forecast out of boredom more than anything else. In the trades as we are there is little to look for except more of the same.

Elias caught us a mahi mahi for our lunch today. Two others were thrown back for being too small, and two others got off. I wonder if he'll bring the sixth one aboard for our dinner?
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This post was sent via our high-frequency radio as we're far from internet range. Pictures to follow when we reach internet again. We can't respond to comments for now, though we do see them all!

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Thursday, April 20, 2017

Privilege

I spent yesterday morning on the bow, sewing the ripped seam in our jib.

I had the most spectacular show of pelagic biology to divert me while I plied the needle.

Little tuna were pursuing flying fish, the momentum of their pursuit occasionally sending the tuna skyrocketing high out of the water.

The flying fish, meanwhile, were loth to take to the air to escape the tuna for the threat of the birds overhead. Frigate birds and masked and red-footed boobies followed along just above the tuna. When the flying fish, in extremis, took to the air, they were likely to be plucked out of it by a hungry bird.

All this was playing out all around us, often less than a boat length away as our bow cut through the sapphire water and I sewed and sewed.

It's easy to get caught up in what the world used to be, and isn't any more. I happened to read a scientific paper the other day that estimated the population of yellowfin tuna in this part of the eastern tropical Pacific at about 20% of pre-fishing levels.

But one of the great delights of travel is reveling in what a wonderful place this world continues to be. Like the place that puts on such show of open ocean life and death, such an arresting tableau of blue marble biology, that I didn't even think to mention the 40 dolphins that also milled around the boat for a long moment.
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This post was sent via our high-frequency radio as we're far from internet range. Pictures to follow when we reach internet again. We can't respond to comments for now, though we do see them all!

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