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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

HI to MX Day 34

We should arrive early tomorrow morning and none too soon. We've been dealing with ship after ship. I'm not sure if we just happen to be off one of those points on the globe that sees a lot of shipping traffic or if all these ships are going in and out of Manzanillo (I can't imagine the latter, it would make Manzanillo busier than San Francisco).

We had a little extra excitement last night at about 1 am. Linda had started the engine after the wind died and had just put it into gear when BANG! there was a very loud sound. She said 'what was that?!,' and I said 'turn off the motor!' We looked over the side to see if maybe a line had caught in the prop, but saw nothing there. We took the engine cover off and checked the belts and shaft coupling, all good. I checked the oil and it was a little low, but not milky or anything out of the ordinary. Finally I noticed sitting on the floor a small chain that holds up one of our large aft port holes. Ah, that's what it was. These port holes are about 10 inches in diameter and are very heavy. If you drop the opening part from the top, stowed, position it will make a serious BANG. Kind of like slamming a door. Why the chain chose the very moment that Linda put the engine in gear to drop off, we have no idea.

Counting the hours to arrival ...

4:30 PM local time (which converts to MST in the States), Wednesday, February 16. Linda here:

Well, it's been a busy last 48 hours what with all the ships and trying to keep the boat moving. We kept track of all the ships yesterday and last night, but finally gave up entering them into the log book today since there were so many. Closest one was eight tenths of a mile away on John's watch. I had one at 1.5 miles but I turned away quite a bit to increase the distance or it would have been closer than that. Both in the day time so not bad, but with the humid haze we only have about 4 miles of visibility.

So "land ho" became, "yeah, I can sort of see the white guano on those rocks off the coast." We still can't see much more than the outlying rocks and we're only four miles from shore. We've been motoring on a mostly glassy sea all day. I was excited to see my first turtle again, but then I was sad to see that the top of it's shell was dry and it was barely moving on the surface of the water. I thought it must be dying until I saw a dozen more just like it in the space of 20 minutes. Some even had booby birds which had been sitting on them for so long that they had left their "mark" like whitewash all over the shell.

I had a bit of an anxious day yesterday. Maybe the lack of sleep caught up with me, but I find I usually have a brief period of depression during the last 48 hours of a long passage. I think it's partly the thought of re-entry into "normal" life and the small stresses we have to look forward to. We've been in this self-absorbed bubble for so long, entirely focused on sleeping, eating, keeping the boat moving, and entertaining ourselves. So it's somewhat of a transition to get back into shore mode again. And partly the enormity of what we've accomplished finally sinks in, and there is a bit of a let down to think it's finally over.

I'll state here for the record that I have never (and I don't think John has either) experienced the hallucinations of extra crew members or things like that on any of our passages. Many cruisers report vivid experiences of talking to an extra person on board. Maybe we are lacking in imagination, but that's never happened on Nakia.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank my captain for bringing me safely across another part of the ocean. John does these passages practically single-handed, doing all the sail handling, navigation, repairs, and maintenance, and I get to come along for the ride. I wouldn't be doing this without John and I can't think of another sailor I'd trust my life with out at sea.

We'll be finishing up this passage just in the nick of time - we only have one page left before we finish our current passage log book and have to start a new one. Hey, John's calling me to come out and watch a pair of whales. And so ends another day at sea.

{GMST}19|08|N|104|48|W|Hawaii to Mexico Day 34|Day 34{GEND}