Greetings from some 700 miles west of continental California. The sun is setting, we have one of our kites up, we’re making miles and life if good. We’ve made better mileage each day. Today we also got quite a bit of sun. When the sun comes out, the ocean turns an amazing shade of blue… something you just never see closer to land. Clouds skid along the horizon, beams of light fall through the gaps, and the blue sea has the occasional punctuation of small white caps. We’re sailing through a beautiful bit of the planet, and it doesn’t cease to amaze.
The ocean has served up a few interesting tidbits. We’ve seen quite a few fishing floats. Some have entire ecosystems growing beneath them. A bearded soccer ball floated by on Friday (saluted by cries of “Wilson!”). The largest thing we’ve seen was a large blue plastic container the size of a porta-potty. On the SSB, we heard of a 4 by something building panel. No way to know from where any of it came. It’s a bit of a crap-shoot sailing at night. No way we could see something floating that could damage the boat. However, this is one really big ocean, and the chance of hitting something that matters is incredibly small. On the ocean, we can only worry about the things we can actually do something about.
Not much visible wildlife out here. Bob G spotted what we think was an albatross (given it’s huge wingspan). A pod of porpoise came by for a look yesterday, but after a few rides on our bow wave, they took off again. That’s pretty much it. We’ve heard on the SSB that some other race boats have caught fish which quickly became sushi and poke. That’s about it for ocean life. Oh yea, the bio-luminescence. At night, our wake it illuminated by darts of light as the algae are agitated into glowing for a split second. Sometimes the small breaking waves also glow from the life within. Further down the line, we may see whales, or more porpoise, perhaps some pelagic fish. No matter what, we just keep moving down that line to Hawaii.
As a newbie to this world west of the Faralones, I’ve found the routines easy to fall into. Sail, eat, sleep, repeat. When not sleeping, there is always something to be done. Preparing food. Cleaning up. Cleaning one’s self (not an easy task out here). Fixing things is also important. We’ve broken very little so far, but that always could change. I’ve patched a couple of kites, but they’re all still intact. Non-sailors would think this is all crazy, and maybe it is. However, if you have the bug, you just have to do it when given a chance. Even though we’re well prepared, and the race is well run, we’re all on the edge out here. I feel lucky to have such competent crew mates, and we’re all getting along with good humor. We place our trust, indeed our lives, in each other hands. I trust these guys without hesitation. Live has become very predictable and simple. Do your job, trust the boat, trust your mates, and try not to be late for the parties in Kaneohe!
Dave P. Electrical guru and sail patch guy