I'm pretty sure it's sailing upwind that classifies this odd obsession as a sport. When one is heading downwind, there is much rolling and lolling and things are certainly unstable but it is when you are rushing along as close hauled to the wind as the boat can handle, that it really puts both ship and crew to the test-physically, anyway. I feel like I've done 5000 sit-ups in the past 48 hours.
It's excellent fun though, especially when the days are warm and sunny and the ocean is 86 degrees, so when it comes surging over the rails and whapping you in the face, it makes you laugh --most of the time.
Jon has been driving us as hard East as we can make, so it feels a little like being on a race boat (with a large handicap) and so far, both boat and crew have been handling it pretty smartly. Jon is consumed with our navigation, plotting and re-plotting our heading, depending on what we get of trade winds balanced by the inconsistent squalls and small fronts that pass by and toss everything into a jumble. His hope is that by putting up with a bit of a hard-to-wind beating now, we can make enough Easting to give us plenty of wiggle room when we turn for Hawaii-and perhaps we can make the last leg on a beam reach and things aboard might settle into something less...athletic.
Long gone are my fears of handling the boat myself in anything more than 25 knots. I know her (and how she sails in different conditions) well enough to avoid the worst of the flapping and smashing of sail and ropes that used to intimidate me and at last, I have a keener eye when it comes to squalls and the unpleasant little surprises that lay inside them. The kids are a couple of sea hardened whelps, poking rumpled heads through the hatch and declaring, "what a day!" and stripping naked to stand in the gusty, roaring, downpour of a passing squall before disappearing into whatever corner of deck or cabin they have deemed their "spot for the day".
These past night watches are the first I can remember, where we had the moon in full view at the beginning of a journey. In the past, it seems we've always managed to head off shore at moon dark--which makes the first, freaky, night watches even freakier... but these past two have been lovely. The moon hangs directly above us, bright as a polished egg, edging the clouds with silver and turning the great ocean swell rolling under us into a vast and liquid, black pearl.
I haven't read a single word of anything so far this trip. I have stacks of stuff that I'm dying to get to but just being out here this second time around, has put a real ponder on me. I can stare and stare (with slightly less trepidation than the last time out) and the wonder of it all is even more enormous. Its not like I'm coming up with any profound thoughts or anything, simply sitting and looking seems to scrape the soul completely clean and even though this poor, tired, body is slightly ravaged by the careening of my soulship, inside all is completely chill and serene.
Looking up at the epic, horizon-less night sky is like having a tiny peephole into the mystery of our little corner of the universe, and from 12*04.28S X 144*04.01W... its all good, baby.
24 hour run- 122 miles.
HUNTER and KAI's tips:
We just spent six weeks learning about and exploring a coral reef and living with people who's survival also depends on this resource. The main thing you notice, when you spend any time on a reef is how incredibly beautiful they are but they are fragile too. COral reefs are being threatened around the globe by human activities such as boat groundings, overfishing, and pollution. Just like protecting endangered species and natural habitats like, rain forests, glaciers, deserts and wetlands... it will be up to us, humans, to stop the damage being done to them and learn how to protect our planet for future generations.
Here's some things you can do to KEEP OUR WONDERFUL, AMAZING, PLANET, HAPPY...
Adopt a Wild Animal
A symbolic adoption helps save real animals in the wild.
Send a message to government leaders about the issues that concern you.
Speak Up for Wildlife
Learn how you can be a powerful advocate for wildlife.
Sign up to receive instant alerts and updates about important issues affecting wildlife.
Become a Defender of Wildlife
PUT a PHOTO of your 'ADOPTED" animal or habitat on you iphone or computer so you can inspire other people to do the same thing.
Here are some resources to help you do these things:
Marine Conservation Organizations
Organizations to Follow on Twitter
Top 100 Environmental Organizations