Passage to the Marquesas: Days 6-9

Thursday afternoon the wind stayed steady around 12 knots until six when it started to weaken. Come nine it was more easterly with only nine knots of breeze. We adapted our course to suit and enjoyed the steadier more relaxed movement of the boat as the seas flattened off. Yes we were now going less than five knots but the leisurely wallowing was definitely a refreshing change. During the night nothing happened – except we had a beautiful sunset followed by a spectacular show of stars – and we both slept well in the easier conditions. Friday morning (Day 7) and the wind started filling in again with another small shift in direction so we were able to pick up speed and move back slowly towards the rhumb line. Again the sun was late – almost 7 o’clock – but we had an amazing sunrise. The first on this trip! By 9 am we had covered another 122 miles, slower than before, but still above our target of 120 a day. The wind eased off again so we anticipated a low wind slow day ahead. Captain Bird’s Eye decided that these were good fishing conditions….we’ll have to see what that brings. At 10 we had a visit from a pod of pilot whales and dolphins who played around the boat for about 15 minutes – more smiles from the crew. It is not really very sunny but at least the skies are blue. We do need more sun and wind for battery maintenance though as we are having to charge them each day. But, so far so good, we have only used 10 gallons of diesel (out of 125). The wind remained light and variable coming from behind us so we returned to a fully extended poled out genoa….but the going was slow…..and stayed that way for the rest of the day and night. Saturday (Day 8) and we thought you might like to know how we typically fill our days at sea. The most important thing is that we have to be alert 24/7 so a day looks like this: 12 midnight – Jan on watch, Richard sleeping 3 am – Richard on watch, Jan sleeping 6 am – Jan on watch, Richard sleeping 8 am – Richard on watch, Jan sleeping 10 am – both up and about Until 1 pm we do a variety of things – showering, washing clothes, eating breakfast, preparing food for dinner, making water, replenishing water bottles in the fridge, downloading weather, checking lines and fittings for chafe, collecting and disposing of dead squid / flying fish, discuss routing strategy for next 24 hours, engine checks etc. We also listen out for creaks and groans and check instruments are operational. Lots of reading including researching our next port of call for customs / immigration and Richard fishes. Plus we also answer satellite emails from family and friends and play general knowledge games on the iPad. Oh yes and I’m a bit partial to the odd Suduko puzzle. 1 pm – Jan on watch. Richard usually sleeps but doesn’t always. 3 pm – Richard on watch. Jan usually sleeps but doesn’t always. 5 pm – both up. Jan cooks dinner, we eat and Richard washes up. 6 pm – Jan on watch – Richard sleeps 9 pm – Richard on watch – Jan sleeps. So we have up to 10 hours each a day allocated to sleep but it is split into two and three hour chunks – and three hours really isn’t three hours as you have to get ready for bed / ready for watch during the allocated time. So actual sleeping time is probably max 2 1/2 hours in one continuous session. And sometimes sleeping is interrupted – both of us are capable of single handling Morphie through most sail changes – but if we deploy the pole it takes two of us. So what are we up to while we are on watch? The main thing is to provide a look out for other vessels however we haven’t seen a single ship or yacht since we left the Galápagos last Saturday. The next job is to keep the boat moving and on course so we have to watch out for wind changes in speed or direction or adverse currents and alter the sails to suit. Between these jobs there is time for a bit of star gazing, dolphin/whale watching, reading or playing games to while away the hours. Final thought for the day….did you know this area is renowned for whales attacking boats? So we have swapped ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ for ‘Attack Whales of the Pacific’ LOL. Think I’ll take my chances with whales any time! Seriously, though, we will treat each large whale with suspicion and give it a wide berth. It is now Sunday morning (Day 9) and I’m pleased to report that we broke through the 1,000 mile barrier during the early hours. Woo hoo – we are a third of the way there! The sun came up this morning around 7ish and, although pretty cloudy, it is trying to break through. We are running parallel with the rhumb line again now – having gybed back towards it last night as we had been pushed away by the current. We also gull-winged for the first time on Morphie yesterday and that worked well. You’ll have to see the photo update on our arrival to find out what that means! The wind is staying steady around 12 knots and we are doing well….certainly we have enough boat speed to keep ploughing through the waves….so the movement of the boat isn’t that bad at the minute although we are rolling with the Pacific swell. We have just put forward our boat clocks to reflect the sunrise / sunset times which makes more sense for our shift patterns. So we are now working on UTC-7 / GMT-8 – our very own time zone LOL. Bye for now Jan