Posts tagged mahi mahi
The previous part of this story is here.
The 15th was windier and we made our switch from the #4 and 2nd reef to the genoa and full main only shortly before the evening check-in. Hopefully the squalls wouldn’t make us have to switch back. It was a lazy day and I spent most of it in my bunk. Peter remained in the cockpit, trying not to get seasick. Weatherfaxes brought bad news of the high moving north and east, blocking our path. But it would be a while before we got to it, so I didn’t despair too much yet. At the evening check-in Max on Solar Wind reported: “I’m so bored I could take up fishing”.
On the 16th I once again spent most of the day in my bunk. The night had been rough, with frequent wind shifts and a number of waves soaking me in the cockpit, and I hardly got any sleep. The day was proving to be much the same, close reaching in about 18kts from the ENE. That evening we decided to cancel the morning radio check-ins, as we were having difficulty making contact. I don’t know much about HF radio, but one of its peculiarities is the position of the sun in the sky has a tremendous effect on reception, which is why boats within a couple hundred miles of each other might have no problem contacting each other in the evening, but can’t make contact in the morning.
The chop eventually abated and the boat started making very good progress, putting in about 150 NM per day, while the boats behind us reported lots of waves and wind. I was glad we’d left a couple days before them, in a relative lull in the tradewinds. Peter and I traded night shifts, so that I would have the first shift until about 0300, then sleep until 0900, which worked much better for me. On the 18th, at about 35 degrees North, the sky was overcast, and temperature had cooled appreciably. We were definitely not in the tropics anymore. It had been almost a week since we’d left Hanalei, and I decided to mark the occasion with a hot freshwater shower, while there was still enough sun. On Idefix, taking a shower requires laying a 2-gallon solar shower in the cockpit for a couple hours, then hoisting it from a spare halyard at the mast to about 6 feet above the deck. The rest is self-explanatory.
The 19th was an eventful day (relatively). We marked one week at sea, passed the latitude of the Golden Gate, and were now closer to Unalaska Island than any other land. Every new weatherfax showed the high moving further and further North, and without an engine we were bound to follow it and pass to the North of it, lest it come back down on top of us and strand us in no wind in the middle of the ocean. We spotted some little dolphins broaching, and a basking shark, before catching a very nice dorado. Once Peter and I had stuffed ourselves with fish, I threw a sizeable chunk of it back into the water, which brought on a second visit by dolphins.
The next morning, the water had turned color from the brilliant cobalt blue I’d been seeing for most of the trip to a steely gray-blue. Every day now would be colder than the previous, and we started wearing more and more clothing. Fork-tailed storm petrels escorted us through the night, orbiting the boat and attacking the masthead light, chirping all night. In the mornings they would disappear. We crossed our first ship since leaving Hawai’i, a container ship headed ESE. A couple hours later another ship appeared on AIS, and it was the beginning of a steady stream of ships.
On the 21st We had reached 43 degrees North, and the winds started clocking from NE to ESE, and lightened substantially. It seems we may have rounded the North end of the High. Peter and I took advantage of the light wind and flat water to take the rudder head off and re-shim it with a can of tuna, as it had come loose again, and I was worried the rudder stock would split. That night the birds came out in force, at least twenty of them, and at 0430 Peter was attacked by a fork-tailed storm petrel. The next morning I found a strange dark red stain on deck, that left a pink stain after I cleaned it up. Jellyfish? Squid ink? The middle of the ocean is quite a strange place.
The next part of this story is here.