Day 6
24 hours-116 nm.

The seas stay confused and get bigger.
By nightfall, our whole pitching, careening, world is shrouded in total blackness.
No moon. Stars completely blocked by clouds.

The wind fools around, a naughty child trying to play hide and seek when you don't want to. It gusts from 17 knots at the beam and then sneaks around to the stern and dies completely. No amount of sail trim will steady the boat on the rolling sea but we try anyway.

We pass Clarion Island, 90 miles straight South of us and the Westernmost  of the Revillagigedo Islands. We never see it,  but it will be the closest we come to land in the next 24 days (give or take).

The night passes, the watches are the hardest to get up for so far on this trip -I think we have peaked at our exhaustion level now- but as soon as you are on deck, you stay busy enough to stay awake for three hours.  Then down you go, wake your mate or Captain and try and  grab some sleep if you can before the next watch. Luckily, It all goes by incredibly fast (and is even pretty thrilling) when the weather is yucky and you need to stay on your toes.

During the night, I see some phantom shapes rush towards the boat. In the darkness, I can only see the outlines of the small sleek bodies as they rush by, trailing green bioluminescence in their wake. They do not come to play in the bow, as the Bottlenose Dolphin, who visit every night- I wonder if they are Dorado, but the water temp out here is only 74* ...too cold for them, I think.

The sun comes up at 6:30 and I make coffee and get ready to wake Jon for the morning broadcast nets. I feel the boat slogging differently in the waves and see the headsail wanting to flog. The wind is moving behind the boat again but this time it keeps going, "please, go just a little more...!" I think. "Ten more degrees..." I look at the waves, they seem to be forming into a slightly more uniform pattern. I wake Jon and by 7:15 we are poling out the headsail...We have entered the beginning edge of the Trade Winds!

We run wing on wing for the first time this trip. We sip our coffee without having to brace ourselves to balance! We do our check in on Amigo net and look at our weather charts. Our course looks good, if things go as we hope and the gribs are right-we should be on this course for another 900 miles before we need to start thinking about where we will cross those Doldrums. The rest of the day is bliss compared to the last few-It's still rolling but the swells are mostly from behind and the winds are a pretty steady 12 knots at least-Life is Pura Vida, again!

Later in the day, we are visited by a small group of Pacific White-sided Dolphin and I realize this is what I saw last night. They are much smaller than the Bottle nose and the Spinners we usually see and a good deal more shy about hanging out with us and playing in our bow wave. Jon takes a salt water shower on deck with our sea bucket and we see a very large Oceanic White tip Shark cruise by us, going the opposite direction. We both run to the aftdeck to make sure he doesn't turn around and try to make lunch out of the hydro generator Jon has begun trailing behind the boat. Lucky for Jon, Mr. Shark is not interested. Good thing, too, as Jon spent the entire day yesterday in that maniacal swell, upside down in the lazarette, re-soldering the diode on the charge controller (with a butane powered soldering iron, in 17 knot winds on a moving boat)!

Oceanic Whitetip Shark

Ahhhh....cruising, so luxurious .

Special note : Thanks SO much to everyone that is signing up for Project Shellback and to all of you who post messages on the blog. I cannot connect to internet so I send our posts via Saildocs to our friend Emily, who is managing the blog for us while we are out of range. She sends us the lists of new names and copies of all of your comments, everyday. It is a big highlight of our day (way out in this crazy yonder) to hear from all of you!

KAI'S Ocean trivia:
People Estimate near 100 million sharks are killed each year for their meat and fins, which are used for shark fin soup. Hunters typically catch the sharks, de-fin them while alive and throw them back into the ocean where they either drown or bleed to death.
Sharks are very important to our Ocean's ecosystem because they keep it in balance. They are Apex predators at top of the food chain, Eating Apex predators is a bad idea because they contain more mercury in their meat-so Shark fin soup isn't even good for you anyway. Next time, order a nice hot bowl of clam chowder. Also don't buy stuff made out of sharkskin.

Hunter's helpful hints:
Help clean up our beaches!
Everytime you go to the beach bring a bag to pick up trash you find, then take it to recycling if you have one.
Out here in the ocean we have only seen one plastic water jug floating by. I wish it was that way everywhere.

Captain's corner:
If we have in fact reached the Trades then I should be able to contribute a little something here once in awhile...Starting tomorrow. By the way, Butane soldering irons DON'T work while upside-down in 17kts!


  1. Hey Guys,
    Fantastic you finally hit the Trade Winds. Let's hope it is smooth sailing for a while. All my love CB

  2. I have merrily posting comments all along but for some reason they don't go anywhere from my computer. Grrr! So happy you have it the trades. I hope that pesky hydro generator is working for you. Love the ocean factoids from Kai and Hunter! Excellent! Hope you get some nice smooth sailing now
    xoxo all round. Lots of love, Mom/Gramma Sara

  3. So that arrow on my silly old wall map wasn't so daft after all. Maybe you'll have some smoother days now. I'm feeling apologetic to Kai and Hunter that they are learning how merciless and cruel their fellow humans can be. But as the great poet E E Cummings said we must 'pity this busy monster manunkind'. And move on .... which is what you're doing!

  4. coming home at end of day and rushing to computer to read the days update! so thrilling!! sending more love and light then you can imagine...look for it when it's darkest.

    xoxooxox to you all!

  5. Yoo hoo from Toronto, where there is still snow in the air! Kai and Hunter, excellent and important work on the factoids. (Maybe your old schools, on Bowen and in LA, could be encouraged to follow the Pura Vida...) Suki your ocean at night is a so beautifully conjured up, thank you...Hang in there, Jon, love Mare

  6. Dear Cap'n Butane and Bos'n Blog, you are two awesome human beans. I'm watchin' out for ya!