Friday, May 02, 2008

May 2, 2008 - To Vanuatu, Day 3

I realized after I posted the blog entry for our departure day that I dated it as of October 30, rather than April 30, 2008. Exhaustion and dehydration could have been contributing factors to the mistake. More likely, it is that we had both been wearing all the cold weather gear we could find on board for the past two days. Pickings were slim. We had been sharing one fuzzy hat and I had found one red fleece glove, but it was too little to fit Sten's hand. Bundled up in our foul weather gear, spending our watches shivering behind the dodger as we dealt with squalls and wind shifts, it felt very similar to a late Fall departure from New England.

On our third day out of Opua conditions improved markedly. Dawn brought Khulula ( sailing over the horizon behind us. We chatted for a while over the VHF, enjoying the rare treat of having a bit of company out here. After sunrise, the seas calmed down, the wind shifted aft, and after a few minutes of trying to remember how to run all the lines for our whisker pole (after five months on the hard we do a lot of scratching our heads trying to remember the steps to do even the simplest of things on board), we managed to get the jib winged out to port. We spent the day running wing on wing.

We both managed to take showers and put on some fresh clothing. Sten optimistically changed into shorts. I stuck with long pants, but it was finally warm enough to consign our fleece base layers to the laundry bin.

Our smoother motion through the water made it comfortable enough to read. Sten convinced me to dig out the recent issues of Yachting World and Cruising World that I'd hidden from him when they arrived in a package from Suzy two months ago. I spent the afternoon resting on the salon settee, total enthralled with the fourth book of a trilogy (funny how that happens) that my friend Jar gave me when we saw her in Washington D.C. this winter.

By midday, Sten was hungry enough to whip up bacon, lettuce, tomato and avocado sandwiches for us. When we spoke with Khulula later in the afternoon I was relieved that we'd stayed far enough ahead of them that they couldn't smell the bacon frying. There's nothing worse than smelling bacon cooking and not being able to have any (right, Charlie?). Overnight, the wind died down, and we ghosted along doing 4.5 - 5.5 knots in 6 - 9 knots of apparent wind in pretty comfortable seas.

The morning and afternoon SSB nets give us a chance to check our progress against the other boats out here, not just in terms of miles logged but also in terms of how everyone else is handling the conditions. The first morning we all spoke, everyone sounded a bit rough around the edges as we all dealt with various degrees of seasickness and exhaustion on board. This morning, everyone sounded a lot better, and by this afternoon people seemed to actually be enjoying themselves again. Of course, we could all just be responding to the irrepressible good humor of Khulula, who is acting as net control for our little net.

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