Posts tagged flying fish

Change of course

The big island of Hawai’i, with its twin 13600-ft volcanoes, casts a wind shadow that stretches for hundreds of miles to leeward. We’ve finally exited that patch of light winds and are sailing in the NE trades. Unfortunately the NE trades here are blowing from the SSE, and we’re not making any progress to the E, so it looks like Tahiti is out of question. I’m a little bummed, but our new course will allow us to spend more time in other places, as well as shave 1300NM of sailing off our route. Both of these are mighty appealing, especially since we are running about a week behind schedule. Right now we are aimed at Niue, with Perhaps a stop at Penrhyn atoll, but the weather may have other plans for us.
All is well on board. We are close reaching in about 12-17 knots of wind and 5-ft seas. There is quite a bit of spray on deck, and it’s hot but not unbearable down below. Last night during my shift I was chilling out listening to music when out of nowhere something smacks me in the forehead. Eventually I figured it was a flying fish, probably due to the fishy smell and scales on my face. A couple hours later Nick got one in the face too.

Breakfast in bed

I was wondering why the inside of the boat smelled fishy this morning, when I found a flying fish had sailed through the companionway and found its way into one of the quarterberths overnight. Thankfully not the one I was sleeping in. I’ve heard they can get to be up to two feet long, and are quite delicious to eat. This one was the biggest I’d seen at about 8 inches, but I had just finished breakfast when I found it.
Today was finally the clear day I was hoping for to charge my batteries. They’ve been starting to get really low, and I figured the overcast was keeping them from topping up. To my great dismay, I found the solar panels weren’t putting in the 10-12 Amps of power I was expecting, even at high noon. More like 6 Amps. A little bit of investigating later, I found the wires for the cabintop panel had corroded away, so I jumpered them and managed to get 8 Amps for a little while, but it quickly tapered off to 6 again. What’s happening is the solar charge controller thinks the batteries are already topped off, and is giving them only the float voltage of 13.6V instead of the absorption voltage of 14.4V. It’s been doing this the whole trip, but I’ve been attributing it to the cloud cover… I’m going to try rebooting it tonight when the batteries are at their lowest, to see if it’ll cooperate. I can probably survive until Hanalei at this rate, but I’m having to cut down on power use.
Only 439 miles to go, but we are moving excruciatingly slowly. The wind is supposed to build tonight, so hopefully that’ll change.
Sent at 2012-07-12 00:45 UTC from 24°03.02’N 151°46.67’W

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