60 miles to go.
An epic Dawn broke through the clouds this morning, ending a seemingly endless night watch. These last hours surely go the slowest...
The sun rose, in a blazing orange fire dance to our port side, while to our Starboard set the full white moon, backed by the palest pink sky. A rainbow broke through the clouds a moment later, framing the whole thing in impossible to describe, shifting, traveling colors. Pretty...absolutely, stunning... but... Rainbows at Dawn (for a sailor) foretell squalls. Sure enough, we had a morning filled with them. The wind and seas were high enough that even with a double reef in our main and a scrap of jib out, we were doing six knots. At this speed we will arrive in Hiva Oa during the night, meaning we will have to either heave-to and lie off or simply pull down our sails and drift until dawn when we can make a safe approach during daylight hours.
Patience, young Jedi's...
We need lots and lots of the stuff at this stage.
We are tired.
The boat is showing signs of a heavy past few days of confused, lurching seas. This morning, our first and second reefs were chaffed nearly through--in spots too tricky to see at night (but now we're onto them and will take precautions) only a last minute save by our one-armed captain kept it from fraying completely through. In the gusty morning that would have been a drag, to have our reef blown out durng a squall. I fabricated a temporary chaffe guard from a old plastic can of Pringles potato chips and it seems to be doing the job--for now.
But land IS near...for the first time in weeks, we spotted two groups of GULLS. They were too far away to identify but they clearly were not their sea-going relatives, the Boobies and the Terns--these were LAND based birds--feeding on something in the waves!
Early this morning before the sun rose, I had a visit with some sort of small dark porpoises, it was too dark to make out their markings but I was happy to listen to them take those deep gasping breaths of air. You always hear them before you see them, when they surface and hurtle through the tumbling waves that rush past the boat.
It's cleared up, but the horizon is still hazy. If we were to spot land in the daylight, it would be visible somewhere around the 30 mile out zone--if it was optimal conditions, which it's not really, these past few days. Hiva Oa does have rather distinct peaks, so hopefully, this should give us an advantage.
We are already placing bets on who will be the first to shout; "LAND HO!" If I were you, I would bet on MOM. Anyone who knows this family, knows that they are all totally useless at finding ANYTHING. Usually, this entails things like, keys, wallets, socks, the other shoe... "MOM! HONEY! Where's my...I can't FIND IT!" is the constant refrain around here--I don't see why spotting an island chain in the middle of the pacific after three weeks at sea should be any different.
I think I got this one locked down.
Hunter came to me with this poem (all on her own-some), she had just read in her book (Alice in wonderland) and wanted to add it to the blog...
OH! HUSH THEE,
THE NIGHT IS BEHIND US,
AND BLACK ARE THE WATERS THAT SPARKLED SO GREEN.
THE MOON, O'ER THE WAVES LOOKS DOWNWARD TO FIND US,
AT REST IN THE HOLLOWS THAT RUSTLE BETWEEN,
WHERE BILLOW MEETS BILLOW, THERE SOFT BE THY PILLOW,
AH WEARY WEE FLIPPERLING CURL AT THY EASE!
THIS STORM SHALL NOT WAKE THEE,,
NOR SHARK OVER TAKE THEE,
ASLEEP IN THE ARMS OF THE SLOW-SWINGING SEAS.