Tuesday, May 05, 2009

May 4, 2009 - Chagos Crawl, Day 3

For a slow, upwind slog, we've had really beautiful sailing so far this passage. The wind has been strong enough to keep us moving, except during the occasional lull after a squall. The sky during the day is a Carolina blue, dotted with white puffy clouds. And something in the atmospherics is keeping the clouds along the horizon pink throughout the day. It really is beautiful.

The night sky is lit with a golden waxing moon, until about 2am when the moon sets. For the next few hours before dawn, there is no other light to compete with the stars and satellites. The Milky Way is as brilliant as we've ever seen it. Each night after the moon sets, a planet rises on the eastern horizon. It is initially so bright and low in the sky that it has fooled both of us into thinking that it is the masthead light of another sailboat. As we sail south towards the equator, the Southern Cross sits just above the horizon.

Over the past few days the southwest breeze has allowed us to make a lot of southing and easting, but none of the westing we need to reach Chagos. Our mileage to go has not been shrinking. Just as we were about to get frustrated, during our night watches tonight, the wind shifted from the southwest to the south. We continued on our southeast tack for a few hours to make sure that the shift would hold, before tacking. As the sun rises on a new day, we are making 6 knots directly towards Chagos under full sail.

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