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Thursday, May 08, 2008

Day 3, Ecuador Passage

0600 Thursday, May 8

On Wednesday I woke up at Noon to go on watch and my eyes felt gritty for the first time. They will feel like this for the rest of the passage as my sleep deficit begins to grow. The bad thing is that we haven't had to do anything to tire us out yet since we're not even sailing. But at this point the most important thing becomes the ability to sleep on your off watch. Our watch schedule is our usual:

0700-1200 John
1200-1700 Linda
1700-2100 John
2100-0100 Linda
0100-0400 John
0400-0700 Linda (my favorite because of sunrise)

John checks in to the Panama-Pacific SSB radio net at 0800 and, because our auto pilot goes wacky when we transmit on the radio, I have to steer while he does this. So I don't usually get to bed until 0900 for that off watch. Then John loses about the same amount of time or more during his afternoon off watch from pulling weather faxes off the radio and sail handling or navigating. It seems like there's always something to keep him up. Plus it's usually too hot by then for him to be able to sleep well. Then there are those pesky things like eating and personal hygiene eating up your precious sleep time.

John got about an hour of sleep Wednesday afternoon before I had to get him up to zig-zag around a few rain clouds. That morning we woke to an almost clear sky with just a few small rows of cloud on the horizon. But by mid-afternoon we were into a row of gray clouds, some of them obviously raining. We didn't see any lightning but you never know what kind of wind is underneath them so we chose to avoid them. Afterwards we wondered if we might have missed out on an easy boat wash!

Earlier in the day, when the skies were still clear and the ocean was glassy calm John spotted a large object off in the distance. We usually don't divert for floating junk, but this was too big to pass by without investigating. It turned out to be a huge tree trunk with the root base floating on its side. Two large black and white boobies (a new kind we've only seen on this trip) were sitting up on the top edge of it, and as we drew closer we could see fish and over half a dozen 3' sharks in the water beneath it. The water was crystal clear and it was so amazing to see the fish swimming from the tree over to their new home base, Nakia. We took some pictures and then had to leave them behind as we sped off south again.

It was soon after our diversion that the weather changed so dramatically. Once we were clear of all the rain John decided it was time to change the engine oil. So we rolled out the jib and shut off the engine to enjoy an hour of blessed silence. John toiled over the hot engine while I walked Ziggy on deck as we slowly drifted along at about two knots. When he was finished with that chore we got to take showers!! Man, did it ever feel good to get clean again, even if I'm sweating already as I write this four hours later.

Distance made good:110
23 hours motoring, 1 hours sailing

Linda and John