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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Days 8&9 Tuamotus to Hawaii

Tuesday afternoon

We finally seem to have reached some wind we can think of as not completely on the nose! This is very comforting, even though it sounds kind of like, "Now that I've hit my thumb with a hammer, I barely notice my toothache." But it is truly a relief to be sailing slightly off the wind. We don't pound so much and we can make much better speed. The strategy now is to just head north. Theoretically we want to arrive in the NE trade winds around 142 West Longitude, but if it's 142.25 or even 142.5 that will have to be good enough. We are looking for that to happen in about nine days.

As an example of how nasty sailing hard on the wind is, I (John) would like to relate an even that occurred night before last. First some background. Since we are sailing on Starboard Tack the boat heels with the port side down. This is not so good because our natural place to sit while on watch, the Starboard Settee is constantly on a downhill slope. Every once in a while a wave comes along that increases the slope drastically. Not only in angle but in position. Basically the waves try to throw you out of your seat. To counter this, we sit with one (or both) legs braced against the saloon table. That's fine, except it's kind of like a long boring workout. Like doing one half of a deep knee bend for 15 minutes at a time, 12 hours a day. In an attempt to make the Port Settee a place where you can sit or lie down without having to brace yourself, I came up with the patented 'Bean Bag Lee Bolster.' I took a beach towel, folded it in half, placed our tubular bean bag pillow in the fold and then wrapped the towel around the settee cushion. The pressure of your body prevents the towel from slipping and the bean bag prevents you from rolling off the settee. (Note, normal sailors use something called a lee cloth which is basically a canvas wall holding you on the cushion). The patented 'Bean Bag Lee Bolster' was working pretty good. Over time the towel would slip a little but it was easy enough to put back in position and we both felt very secure laying down on the Port Settee.

Then it got rough. I have trouble sleeping in the Quarter Berth when it's rough so Linda suggested I lie down on the Port Settee. I stayed secure behind the Bolster for about 45 minutes until a big wave came by. As NAKIA leapt off the wave, my body weight was no longer sufficient to hold the towel in place. The bean bag rolled off the cushion and I landed on the floor. Thankfully it's only a 20-inch drop and my head was well padded with pillows. Now the Bolster is secured with a bed sheet that wraps all the way around the cushion instead of down only one side. The re-design has yet to fail.

Last night I (now Linda) was absentmindedly staring at the GPS and AIS displays watching the longitude hundredths tick down as we slowly regain our Easting. It was almost time to log the 0100 position report when an unfamiliar icon popped up on the AIS. Although I know it defeats the whole purpose of alerting you to ships before you can see them, I was glad the alarm wasn't activated because it can be quite alarming! John came on watch and pulled up the icon list to learn that it was a vessel "Engaged in Fishing." When I "saw" it on the AIS the boat was 12-14 miles off our bow and not yet visible on the horizon. Sure enough John saw its lights later on in his watch when we passed it.

John was dozing a bit later and missed the tell tale flopping sound of a flying fish hitting the side deck. Instead, the first thing he heard was the familiar sound of crunching and a very rank fishy smell coming from the galley. Ziggy had managed to eat the head before John threw the rest out. Later on John had to clean up another round of upset tummy from Ziggy (at least John saw what was happening and got Ziggy off the carpet in time). I guess instead of catch and release Ziggy is on a regimen of gorge and toss! That may have been the cause (albeit far more delayed) of his last round of bulimia. (Why, oh why, do the pet food companies insist on putting so much dye in their kibble? Do we humans really care what color the food is, because the cats certainly don't, and it just leaves an orange stain in the carpet when it happens to come back up.) Not an hour later, after eating his breakfast, I heard a flying fish and found Ziggy on the side deck just watching it. Either it was still flopping around too much for him to grab it, or he finally realized he'd had enough. I didn't find out which was the case before tossing it (back into the ocean) myself.

Day 8 Stats
Course: 353 degrees True
Trip Mileage: 95 nm
Water Temp: 80.8 to 81.5 F
Engine Hours: 0

Day 9 Stats
Course: 011 degrees True
Trip Mileage: 107 nm
Water Temp: 80.4 to 81.3 F
Engine Hours: 0

{GMST}03|27|S|143|42|W|Tuamotus to Hawaii Day 9|Day 9{GEND}