PACIFIC CROSSING UPDATE: DAY 18

CONNOR'S UPDATE

It's true when they say that "nothing gold can stay".  And I'm not referring to the fact that we seem to have punched through the ITCZ after 15 hours of motoring.  In fact, I am referring to my reign as King of Rummy 500.  After a week of undefeated glory, Chase finally took me down in what can only be described as the most dramatic event to occur within 6N 128W in weeks (except for maybe that floating hard hat.  That was CRAZY!).  
Without going too into detail, Chase and I were both neck and neck (both because the boat cockpit is about 8 square feet and we're crammed on the same bench, and in terms of points too), and due to Chase's incredible poker face, I was brought down by a stupid miscalculation.  And that was how it ended.  Thank goodness we probably have 10 (or more) nights for me to reestablish my dominance. 
But there is bigger news than just some silly card game aboard Sea Casa (just don't let Chase and Stuart know that I called Rummy "silly").  Last night around 3 AM(TimeSteve, AKA our best guess at local time), we began to feel a bit of a southerly while motoring.  We let out the jib to start motorsailing, and this morning, we cut the engine entirely.  We're now sailing around 5 kts in about 10 kts of wind.  Super mellow sailing, and I love it.  I think Chase and Stuart miss the ability to use the inverter to charge their electronics.  Oh well.  My boat, my rules. 
It's another day of relaxing.  Stuart found my copy of "The Marlinspike Sailor" (thank you for that gift, Damon!), and he has been actively "nauticalizing" a mason jar that we keep aboard (reluctantly, as it is glass) for Chase to make cold brew coffee (he used it once, since November, but I'm not bitter).  He is encasing the whole jar in nylon rope, in order to make it shatter proof.  Thus, our old cold brew jar shall now be repurposed as Ye Olde Grog Jar.  More to come on that once we make landfall, I'm sure.  You havent' seen the last of Ye Olde Grog Jar, that is my promise to you!
Other than that, Chase just informed me that this is our third Saturday at sea.  Wow!  Time sure does fly when you have no other options for escape, doesn't it?!  Kidding, it really is flying by.  But not kidding about the means of escape part.  
Chase has adopted the "no shirt, no problem" philosophy, Stuart is still respectable in shorts and short-sleeve shirts, and I still continue to wear long sleeves and a buff over my face to block the sun.  We're going to have such radically different tans when we get there.  These are the things that occupy my thoughts on day 18. 
Our next *big* milestone is either the <1000 nautical miles to go mark, or hitting the equator.  I don't want to make too many dumb milestones, but the equator will be a fun one.  Should be hitting it in maybe 4 days?  Hate making commitments like that though.  If you're reading along, I didn't research equator crossing ceremonies well enough.  Any suggestions?  I have a disgusting braid that needs to come off, and I think Stuart is going to cut off his long hair.  We have a bottle of the *good stuff* to sacrifice to Neptune, but other than that, any fun ideas?

CHASE'S UPDATE

Day 18, and we’re not dead yet! We woke up this morning with the sun shining and winds blowing. Or rather, for three hours at a time one of us was constantly up here watching the sun come up and the winds starting to blow. But regardless, sun and wind are a go, and Sea Casa continues to soldier on under sail. By last night, most of the storm clouds had moved out to the horizon and we were treated to what may well have been a Top 3 Most Beautiful Sunset. Not only did the sky turn brilliant shades of orange and pink, but you could see the sun setting behind individual squalls in the distance, and the sunlight reflected clear across the sky to the point where even the clouds on the eastern horizon were glowing different colors. Pretty good stuff, even compared to the previous 16 spectacular sunsets we’d seen.

This afternoon, as I put away clothes from yesterday that had finally dried themselves out, I realized how much my attitude towards cleanliness and comfort has changed in the past five months. When we left LA in early November, I remember the unbearable feeling waking up after the very first night to realize I wouldn’t be able to shower that morning. I had gutted and filleted a small bonito the afternoon before, and the only thing I could think of were the number of tiny fish pieces I was covered in. Thankfully, we pulled into a marina in Ensenada that night, my two-day showerless nightmare came to an end, and I decided to stick around. Now, we’re 18 days into what could be a 30+ day crossing, I was elbow-deep in ~20 lbs of yellowfin by day 2,  and my idea of getting clean was waiting another week to finally dunk myself in a bucket of saltwater. It’s not like I don’t smell anymore (because oh BOY do I smell), but there’s something quite nice about knowing I can adapt to a trip like this without needing to take all the creature comforts of home with me.

Anyway, I’ve probably written more about body odor than anyone wants to read, but hey, write what you know. Everything continues to move along smoothly, Connor & Stuart are having a lovely craft day drawing doodles and weaving (braiding?) nylon line around a large mason jar to turn it into an old-school maritime water jug. In a miraculous turn of events last night, I came from behind to finally beat Connor in our long-running game of rummy 500 (what, you thought I wasn’t going to mention in?), so spirits are high with this crew member. Day 19 coming up, plenty more updates await.

Chase Jackson