Finally, we had an evening that wasn’t just grey cloud in every direction, a very refreshing break! We’re still a long way off the amazing nights of unbroken starscape in every direction that have previously graced our time at sea, but right now I’ll take the occasional break in cloud cover to prove the stars are still there, and that something terrible hasn’t happened to the galaxy in the time we’ve been out here.
We’ve also got a waxing moon above us for the first part of our evenings, which has been but a milky glow until now. With a fresh breeze ahead of us and the moon shining down from directly astern, Disco was perfectly heeled over, leaving what looked like a bright trail of moonlight in our wake, the spray from our bow wave glistening in the air as we cut a grove through the oncoming swell. The best sort of sailing, although disappointingly short lived, as the cloud cover made a quick return after giving us a glimpse of the good life.
As we knock off the miles back east, daybreak is getting earlier and earlier. Our ‘boat time’ is still on Hawaii Time, and we won’t change until we reach California again. Normally we would adjust our time zone as we progress every 15° of longitude or so, however, as our current watch system doesn’t have the normal offset of a shift that allows the times to alternate through the day (i.e. you don’t get the same timeslot on consecutive days), by letting the ‘boat time’ stay unchanged, we have the unchecked time change providing the variety for us instead. I now get the very beginnings of dawn at the end of my 2am-3am shift, and by the time I’ve finished wrapping up some nav station business an hour or so later it’s fully fledged dawn in progress, a big change from the unvaried darkness at the beginning of our passage.
By mid-morning a beautiful day was in full swing, with mid-level cumulus clouds breaking up a bright blue sky above, the sun radiating through the gaps. I remarked on what a great day it was to Renaud, and he bluntly commented in return that I hadn’t been there at 6am when it was raining heavily. I don’t think he likes the rain. However, my idea of lovely day continued, and it became almost hot again, with the sunglasses broken out.
I was doing some chart work earlier, and when making a plot on our paper chart that covers the area from the US West Coast to Hawaii, discovered that we were almost exactly on top of the same location as on the 19th May, during our original passage. My pencil marks overlap each other to the extent that I reckon there are probably only a few miles in it. Not often do you get to accidentally revisit the same few square miles of water, mid-ocean, twice.
As we know too well, good winds never last, and early evening had the telltale signs of the curtailment to our excellent run of late. The wind has lightened significantly, and become highly variable. There is a bit of localised weather kicking about, which is giving us periodic lifts of speed and angles. This has the downside of bringing considerable quantities of rain with it, and I got the wettest I’ve been on deck in a long time just after dinner. Worth it to not have the sails aimlessly flapping though.
Darkness has also heralded our first ship in a long while; it’s two steaming lights and green starboard light visible as we passed a few miles apart. It’s good to know there’s still civilisation out there, and in our isolation from the news a ship means it’s probable the world hasn’t suffered the same terrible fate we were concerned the stars had. We’ll find out in a few days I suppose.
Date: 3rd July 2017
Position: 27°17.2N 132°08.6W
Wind: NE 3
Swell: NE 2-3ft
Sky: 5/8 stratocumulus
Weather: Fair, w/isolated showers.
With the support of our partner Weather Routing Inc.
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