FIRST BIG CROSSING: Day 19

24 hour run - 118 miles

Week three at Sea and the longing has set in.
We are craving.
Fruit.
Fresh.
It's all anyone can think about, these days.
The tiny herb planter, I made back in La Paz (and have lovingly cared for out here),
is the only thing standing- between us and madness.
(that, and two green apples and a box full of foil-wrapped Anaheim peppers).
We have been making our own bread and yogurt and in another day, the sprouts will start to come in.
But our desperate NEED cannot be filled by Mung beans.
Only a huge, greasy, CHEESEBURGER, cooked-by-someone-else-and-loaded- with- fresh-lettuce-avacado-and tomatoes ...will fix us.
We dream of Mangoes! Pamplemousse! Banana! Papaya!
All awaiting us...only 650 miles away!

The boat is quiet as a tomb a lot of the time-everyone has their nose buried in a book.
Note to future kid-boat cruisers: However you do it with them it will be wonderful, but to make a crossing with children who already know how to READ...is a godsend. Neither child has ever asked "when will we get there?" on this trip. They haven't even played cards or drawn much. Just read, read, read, read and talk about everything under the sun.

We let homeschool be very free-association these days. It has turned out to be a great lesson for US in becoming better at teaching/guiding our children through this (often daunting) experiment of homeschooling them. No text books or work books, no making anyone do a certain amount of "pages" everyday before swimming. They willingly contribute when its time to talk about what they want to write on the blog-as long as I type. Which is fine, because who wants to try and type on a rocking horse-it's bad enough for me. We stick to what comes with no conflict.

2000 miles out to Sea-who needs time-outs? We try and keep it fun.

A year spent in Mexico, has given both kids a real love of communicating in another language. We will forever have the warm and gracious Mexican people to thank for that. They encouraged and complimented and inspired the kids (and us) so much that it made us WANT to practice and try. When we talked about learning French, the kids couldn't wait to start. Everyday, is Rosetta stone and books about fish and whales and lots of peering over the shoulder at Dad's mechanical manuals or Mom's cookbooks.

And the days out here are not as long as one might think. There is always much to do and watches and constant sailing and all the usual chores of running a ship and a household. It's hard to believe its already been 19 days.

Yesterday was a study in a South Pacific Ocean fantasy.
We drifted along on a 10 knot breeze, in perfectly lovely seas, under a sunny sky for 24 hours. We only touched the sails to take down the spinnaker when the wind increased enough to hold out the Genoa. It was heaven. We got caught up on some needed down time, reading, bathing in the solar shower, trying different hooks and lures on our totally empty fishing line.

This morning was a different kind of world out here.
We ran though about six line squalls, with winds and seas and we got hammered by heavy rain but this is now routine. It was no big deal. In fact, it all happened on my watch and other than having to wake Jon up to move the generator off the deck, Hunter and I managed it all just fine-reef in, reef out, head up, fall off, open all the hatches, close all the hatches...we even baked a loaf of bread during the deluge.

Jon came on watch and looked at the weather gribs and tweaked our course. The sun broke through the clouds and the winds picked up and as I went down for my off watch to snuggle and snooze with Hunter-Jon announced that we were in the beginning of those South East Trades. The wind has risen steadily all day-we're in 12-15 doing about 6.5 knots now. If that keeps up, we could have "Land-Ho!" and mangoes in six days!

It's funny how life seems normal out here now- although, I admit, there is, still, that underlying tone of dread, coursing though my veins at all times. I sleep with one eye open and all children are accounted for, at every moment. I still peek through the hatches every hour, on my off watch- just to make sure Jon is still on deck. Even though we are getting closer to our destination, we are still, amazingly, in the middle of nowhere and very much on our own.

I know Jon is the same- he keeps many of our systems on a "need to know" basis with me so I won't panic about anything, I don;t know how he manages to keep his cool all the time-but thankfully, he does. He just tackles whatever daily, potentially, life-threatening problem we are having, one step at a time.
And I try and make sure not to feed us any rotten eggs.

KAI:
What I miss about land is...
Fruit.
Stableness.
Hiking.
What I like about out here is...
I like getting to read all day and the gently rocking back and forth of the waves. It is peaceful being on the ocean for lots and lots of days, in a way that feels different from anywhere or anything else.
My favorite time of the day on the boat is sunset. Everybody takes a moment to calm down and watch the day end. Sometimes we just watch the sunset and sometimes we talk for hours about where we might go and what we might do and sometimes we talk about home.
This is the time of day when we are getting ready for night watch. Mom goes down for her off watch and Dad and I talk about the books we are reading.

HUNTER:
What I miss about land:
Having things stay still for one second!
Walking.
Interacting with other people.
I like it out here because you can't get bored, you always have to do stuff. We have to help with sails and chores but then there is a lot of time to read and cook and play with mommy and daddy and Kai, of course.
My favorite time of day on board is the morning. Mom is usually on the dawn watch, she starts at 5 and goes until dad gets up around 8:00. I like to do this one with her and watch the sun come up. We drink tea and sit in the cockpit and I help her with the sails. We usually make bread then so the boat doesn't get too hot later in the day.

Captain's Corner:
The fine art of squall-sailing. This is something we had read about before leaving but were in no way clear on. The idea is that during stretches of no wind in the doldrums, you can use the line squalls that come through to your advantage and gain precious miles. The idea of sailing AT a line squall seemed a little crazy at the time but hears the thing... It totally works. We had a very unlucky version of the ITCZ. It is normally about 200-300 miles across but for us... 730 miles! 730 miles between anything that could be considered 'Trade-winds". We managed to traverse that huge expanse and still have half of our fuel by Squall hopping. Usually, if we were becalmed, you could look in any direction and see Squalls large and small. The biggest would take up about one third of the visible horizon at a distance. The idea was to guess the speed and trajectory of the squall you wanted to jump on, aim for the intersect point that would have you riding the leading edge of the squall and motor towards it. As soon as you got within a couple of miles of it you you start to get wind on your forward quarter. Off goes the engine, out go the sails and zoom, you're sailing. As you work your way around it the wind would clock around to the beam and then aft and then finally die. If you do it right you get a little rinse off, a little cool down and 1-2 hours of boogie-woogie sailing giving you 10-12 miles and then you look for the next one. Of course sometimes you get it wrong and get overtaken by the beast and soaked and hammered but you still get your miles. For six days this is what we have done and 40 gallons of fuel went a loooooong way!



9 comments:

  1. Sigismund the Fraudulent MMMDXXXLVIIIApril 22, 2013 at 7:57 AM

    Zo, vot iss der meanink ven two great brains kvite independentically offer zee same kvotes on zein Blog. Chilthoot pomes, yet! Dass kan only be der remembrancing of der chilthoot 'oceanik feelinks', ja? Vitch can only be exschpressed in der nonzenzikle rimminks und rittles. Varry interestink, no, zat it voss on zee eggzact samen dag! I'm askink yoo, vot kan be der prognostikations for offenshprink ven ze progeneticles are schtuck zo?

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  2. Hey there, Cap, up to now I'd only heard of bar-hopping ... Salute!

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  3. Hi Kai and Hunter. It will be interesting to see how you feel when you CAN walk on stable ground. It may take a bit of adjustment! It's a very good thing you are all such good sailors and had no trouble with sea-sickness or getting your 'sea-legs'. Wow, what a journey! Not many people get to really experience the 'great ocean of the universe' as you have done. Your lives have been greatly enriched. I love you.

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  4. The Wedding Guest, with profuse apologiesApril 22, 2013 at 8:22 AM

    One very useful expression the greybeard loon taught me, I believe from his time spent in French Polynesia, was what the local people there said when jettisoning something or someone they didn't like. They called it, "Giving it the old Hiva Oa!'.

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  5. Hey Kai, Its so cool that you threw our names into the equator. I wish I could be out there with you and I cant wait til you have internet so we can skype.

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  6. Wow, sounds amazing. It would be cool if you all painted a picture of your boat to reflect back on this trip. And a question for the kids: What is your book so far? Safe sailing!

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  7. hey guys my class have been reading your blog and we have been really injoying it. Are you scared about someone falling over bourd and has that ever happened to you guys.

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  8. Been following since post one and it sounds like an amazing experience! If you had the chance again, would you cross the Pacific once more? Also, how much preparation was done to be ready to sail the Pacific? Did you leave anything behind that you wish you brought? Happy sailing!

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  9. hey my name is Jonah I go to Bowen island community school and I am friend with Payton Grundy i just wanted to say hey and i wanted to ask you guys a few question. first of all how is it to be sailing for that long? what do you guys mainly eat? does it sometimes get annoying and frustrating? do you guys ever regret it? and i have one little comment can you guys put a map on to show where you guys are because that would be really cool thanks for your blog post and comments thanks keep up the good work!!!!!!

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