PACIFIC CROSSING UPDATE: DAY 20
Today is probably the best mood I've been in since we left on the trip. I'm freaking stoked. Here we are, day 20, with less than 950 miles to go, and over 2000 miles already traveled. The breeze has freshened, we're making 5 knots with 3 reefs in the main (could make 6 but it'd be pretty uncomfortable with the 7 ft swell), and the forecast continues to look good for the foreseeable future (AKA 3 days). The equator looms in front of us. I'm guessing it will only be another 36 hours or so until we cross. Life on board continues at the same rhythm, though Stuart and I definitely slept in a bit today.
Last night was a bit of a rough night watch, mostly for Stuart. Chase and I have been lucky to only have to sail through light drizzles, but I think Stuart has been on watch for every major rain event we've had at night. Last night, as soon as Chase's watch ended and Stuart went on deck, it began to rain. The rain continued throughout his shift, varying from a drizzle to a full on downpour. I was already up a few times during Chase's shift to take down sails and start the engine, and then again to turn off the engine and get the sails out when the breeze freshened. By the time it started squalling for Stuart's shift, I had been up pretty much all night. At least as soon as we got some reefs in the sails during Stuart's watch, I was able to get an hour or two of sleep, while Stuart was forced to stay on deck. We ended up both sleeping in, thanks to Chase taking a long watch in the morning.
Another interesting thing that happened during my shift was that I spotted another vessel on the horizon! I don't know if I've mentioned it yet, but we haven't seen any other marine traffic since (I believe) day 4, when we were still in the vicinity of Mexico. The vessel was "Mar Camino" (MMSI 538003890), a 189 meter long cargo ship. My AIS showed him passing 2 miles behind us, but I decided to make VHF contact for the hell of it. He was curious what we were doing out here, so we explained our situation, and he told us he was headed for the Straits of Magellan, Chile. His English wasn't fantastic, so I just wished him a safe voyage and we went our separate ways, but now I have a ton of questions that I regret not asking.
Can anyone look up his MMSI number and find out where he left from? I'm guessing somewhere in Asia based on his heading, but I'm not sure. Secondly, can anyone find out if his final destination is indeed just Chile, or if he is continuing through to somewhere in the Atlantic through the Strait? I just assumed that all traffic bound for the Atlantic passed through the Panama Canal, but now that I think of it, I remember hearing reports of tankers bypassing the canal due to backlogs and the expense. I wonder if that's what he was doing. Let me know if you find anything out!
Anyways, that's about all I have for today. I've spent most of my afternoon reading through the guidebooks loaned to us by the Mather family, and I'm getting so, so excited. Cheers!
It’s day 20, which puts us at half the time of Moses in the desert; however, our access to a reliable GPS should give us the advantage over him when it comes to finding our destination. We’ve just hit the 2,000 mile mark, and with less than 1,000 miles to go, it’s safe to say we’re getting pretty excited.
Weather has remained a bit inconsistent over the past few days, with winds seeming to die down late in the evening, only to pick back up overnight. It’s frustrating to have to run the engine, but luckily we haven’t had to keep it on it for any real serious length of time. One of the few consistent weather patterns, though, has been Stuart’s own personal rainstorm; the last two nights, the sky opened up and poured down only during the hours of his watch. There is nothing lonelier than standing watch in the rain at three in the morning, and I hope we’re out of this weather pattern ASAP. After the rain stopped a few hours later and Connor was handing his shift off to me, he alertly spotted a tanker on the horizon! It was the first boat I’d seen since leaving Banderas Bay (except for Sea Casa, I’ve seen so much of this damn boat), and Connor was able to hail the captain over the radio. He confirmed that yes, it was him out there in the middle of the Pacific, and that no, he would not run us over. Whew.
Our next major milestone will be crossing the equator in the next few days, and it’s going to be wild. My general understanding is that immediately after crossing, everything becomes the opposite of what it was: hot water will come out of the cold tap, turning the steering wheel right will move the boat left, my armpits will smell like daisies, etc. Please don’t spoil any expectations I might have. Until tomorrow, adios.