PACIFIC CROSSING UPDATE: DAY 17
Okay, remember when I said yesterday that I thought we'd be able to sail through the entire ITCZ? That's what you call tempting Neptune. After another beautiful night of sailing (just kidding, it was like an 8 foot swell at one point in the night), we awoke to some super ominous clouds on the horizon. We knew what that meant -- squall city -- so I donned my rain jacket, Stuart got ready to rinse his hair, and Chase queued up the death metal. Seriously, though, I think Chase has been waiting for our *first* squall this entire trip just to play this album. I don't remember the name, but I have high confidence that he'll mention it in his post.
We sailed straight into the squall, because there was really no way to avoid it (it was a big'un), and it was actually quite refreshing. It started with a gentle rain, and then the rain began to intensify with the breeze. As the breeze and rain intensified, the effect was that the wind fetch (wind-generated waves) was reduced by the falling rain, so the sailing became quite pleasant, despite the sheets of rain. It rained pretty intensely for a solid hour - I'm talking visibility of about 50 meters or so, before letting off. To complement the blaring death metal, nature also provided us with some background thunder to keep us on our toes. Whenever we hear thunder or see lightning close by, we put all of our electronics into the oven, hoping that if we happen to get hit, the oven will act as a Faraday cage and save our electronics (GPS, InReach, laptops, etc.). Question for experienced mariners -- do offshore sailors put their EPIRBS into the oven during times of intense electrical activity? Is it better to keep it in the automatically deploying case? I don't know... let me know your thoughts.
Anywho, the squall washed the salt off the boat, along with all the other gunk we've collected over the past 16 days. Once the squall passed, we were left with something worse, which was no wind. I pulled up some new grib files, and unfortunately, it looks like we're in a deadzone for the next few days. Reluctantly, I fired up the iron genny (engine), and it looks like we'll be motoring south for the next 2 days, or until the breeze picks back up again. It'll be good for the engine to run some diesel through it, and it's a good chance for us to relax, recharge, and take care of some boat chores.
All is well here on Sea Casa!
We've been squalled! After 16 days without rain our luck finally ran out around 10:30 this morning. We'd been eyeing rain clouds in the distance suspiciously for the last couple days/nights but had the good fortune of never having one block our course, until today. Overall it was a pretty pleasant experience. It came as a relief almost - having built up the idea of a squall in our minds (or at least my mind). Connor's blog post has a spot on detailed description of the storm, and I'd only add that the way the rain removed the chop from the ocean's surface - combined with the poor visibility and the fact that I was not wearing my glasses - gave it the texture of smooth frosted glass. It was a treat.
Since the cessation of our squal we've lost our wind and have been motoring for the first time since leaving the harbor in Puerto Vallarta. My rain jacket (a windbreaker) hardly repelled any rain and is hanging out to dry with the rest of our clothing. We're running a little behind today due to this morning's excitement and have yet to play our first hand of Rummy 500 - something I'm delaying by writing this post (maybe a little on purpose since I may or may not be losing by a wide margin).
Shoutout to Kali and Tom for some information RE: yesterdays inquiries!
1) Frigate birds have been recorded aloft for around 56 days! They sleep in short 10-second bursts, and tend to stay just at the edge of the doldrums to take advantage of favorable winds.
2) David Crosby of Crosby, Stills, and Nash sailed his wooden schooner, Mayan, around the Caribbean and into the South Pacific - the source for the lyrics of Southern Cross!
The more you know!
Day 17 is upon us! And I’ll bet good money I know what Connor & Stuart are writing about, because today the Sea Casa boys finally got some rain. There was a whole lot of it and it was extremely wet, but that didn’t stop us from enjoying it. Bundled up in our rain gear, we sealed the cabin below, took our positions in the cockpit, and cranked up some Alcest and Deafheaven (mom, check out these bands, I think they’re right up your alley). We got absolutely dumped on from a little after 10:30a until about 1:30p, at which point it lightened into a dreary drizzle and took our wind right along with it. This means that we’re also running the engine for the first time on the crossing; while it gives Connor one more thing to worry about, it makes for a much calmer trip and everyone seems pretty relaxed. Hopefully we can pick the wind back up soon and won’t have to run it too much longer, but regardless, 17 days without an engine is a pretty good stretch.
Other than that, we’re continuing to make good progress south and are happy that the boat finally got the fresh water rinse it needed (those tuna bits only sat up on deck for 2 weeks). A fun thing about this humidity is that our wet clothes are unlikely to fully dry out any time between now and the Marquesas, but who are we kidding, everything was pretty damp to begin with.
I’m hopeful that all this rain news means Connor forgets to mention his absolutely, inexplicably, *mind-boggling* run of rummy victories, but somehow I doubt I’ll be so lucky. More to come tomorrow.