PACIFIC CROSSING UPDATE: DAY 25

CONNOR'S UPDATE

I don't have too much to say today, other than that I'm very glad the conditions have eased up since yesterday.  There's still quite a lot of wind (17+ kts) on the beam, and the associated wind fetch, but the big swells from yesterday seem to have abated somewhat.  In hindsight, yesterday's seas were pretty gnarly.  I'm ashamed that I don't have a reliable way of measuring the swell height, but a boat about 100 miles from us was calling it 3-4 meter, short interval swell, and I'm guessing it probably wasn't too different where we were.  Glad we're through it, and I'm glad to know that we can handle it as a crew and boat.  The scariest part of yesterday was during the radio net.  I was down below as net controller, and Chase was on watch.  I felt a huge slap, and it felt like the entire boat had been knocked down.  Next thing I knew, a few gallons of water had splashed in from the companionway all over the galley.  We had the companionway sliding hatch closed, and one of the companionway boards in as well.  It was only the second sliding hatch that we had out to ventilate the cabin.  I'm glad we didn't have more open than that, or we would have suffered more than a few wet Kindles.  It sounds like it was just an unlucky slap from two waves converging right under us, but still not the most comforting thing to have happen right before the sun goes down.
That said, everything did ease up overnight, and we've had a great run today, averaging 6 kts since early this morning.  We're now 450 miles to Hiva Oa, which means that we can either try and continue to push out 120 mile days (AKA, a very fast pace), or we can maintain a comfortable 100 mile/day pace, and forecast a Thursday arrival.  Is it too early to forecast yet?  Maybe...  We'll see what our 24 hour moving average looks like tomorrow morning, now that we're firmly in the South Equatorial Current!  
All seems to be very well on board.  I've started re-reading the Harry Potter series after watching the movies, and so the days are flying by.  Will send an update tomorrow as we get closer.  Cheers.

STUART'S UPDATE

Woo! Day 25! That seems like a lot of days to be on a 31 foot sailboat, but we are getting close! 400 some-odd miles left and the mood on board has turned to one of quiet anticipation. What am I most excited for? Probably laundry and a real shower - two things that I'm not sure are readily available on Hiva Oa. I'm still holding out hope that when we pull the dinghy up to Hiva Oa we'll see a Cracker Barrell within walking distance (not super likely, but a guy can dream!). Speaking of delicious breakfast food - Chase pulled out all the stops and put together breakfast tacos for us this morning - unexpected and very much appreciated!
Obviously Neptune was not going to make the last week of our crossing too easy! We spent most of yesterday in the rain furling and unfurling our sails depending on the strength of the gusts of wind. We had some serious size swell in the water as well - giving us an exceptionally bumpy day. It's big enough that when in a wave's trough you can only see a wall of grey-blue water in front of you, extending far over your head. 25 days ago this would be a frightening experience (for me at least!), but now we're all taking turns napping. Luckily, the winds and swell eased up over night and we all were able to get some well-earned sleep. The swell has remained relatively low all day today, but we ran right into a number of squalls this morning - soaking anything that managed to dry out over night. Since then we've had great conditions! We are currently cruising along under blue skies, drying out our wet clothing, reading, and counting the miles!

CHASE'S UPDATE

Well, nobody can say that we didn’t get our money’s worth. It’s day 25, and with fewer than 500 miles to go until Hiva Oa, mother nature is laying it on thick. 

We’re continuing to deal with some pretty aggressive swells, and every time you think you’ve learned to live with them, they show you one more tiny way to make life difficult. I’m typing this post using an external keyboard with my phone screen lying flat on the table, and every 10 seconds or so, the orientation of the screen flips as the table, the phone, and myself lean sharply to starboard. And sorry if you’re squeamish, but last night I found myself in an interesting situation where I went to give myself insulin and ended up with a syringe dangling from my stomach after I needed to let go of it and grab onto the boat with both hands to keep from tipping overboard. Always an adventure here on Sea Casa! Thankfully, the seas calmed and the skies cleared during the night, but after some heavy rain this morning during—you guessed it—Stuart’s shift, we are back on the roller coaster ride. 

Everybody seems to be handling everything well, though, with Connor & Stuart devouring Harry Potter books by day and Harry Potter movies by night. There’s even a little Tang surprise coming up tonight(don’t tell the crew, but I mixed half a packet of orange powder with half a packet of jamaica powder for some true exotic flavor). I think everyone’s a little ready to reach land and get a good night’s sleep, so if we’re forced to deal with the swells, then hopefully at least the wind keeps up and allows us to make good time. Until tomorrow!

Chase Jackson