To Bermuda, Day 7

S/V SN-E Cetacea Log Day 7 – 67 NM


James’ 1-2 pm watch: 

The sun is so overhead that I can shade my feet with my hat when I stand up in the cockpit.

…a fucking week, we’ve been underway for a week and our ocean is finally starting to thin out a bit from all that ship traffic.

1:04 pm: When the wind lightened up this morning, the current had turned in our favor and, since then, we still haven’t done much motor-engaging for a boost. It’s a pleasure to have a renewable chemistry rather than the finite diesel problem, but it’s still preferable to sail and bank this good daytime power. 

We’ve run all three banks lower than usual over the last few days. Hot weather means less efficiency from the solar panels and refrigerator plus more desire for fans and unending refills on the cold water. Still air means nothing from the wind generators.

The world, though! This area has a lot more action visible in the water…life and death as seen through splashes, some leaping fish, and the spreading ripples following the drama.

We’re still ringed by clouds in this high pressure zone. I’m not sad that the wind and current have us trending north. I think there’s more wind up there. We’ll see!

Dena’s 2-3 pm watch

2:45 pm: The winds are incredibly light. The waters of the world are in motion (there’s no such thing as static). The force of this patch is pushing us into the breathy sigh of hot atmosphere around us and keeping the sails remarkably full. Gusts are maybe what you’d feel at a brisk jog and they spin the boat onto a slightly more direct course before it eases and we fall off north again.

We’re using the 260 or so watts of solar power for the propulsion pack to support the house batteries in making water. We’ll just run it for an hour.

Dena’s 4-5 pm watch

4:50 pm: So…trash. I just watched a 20 ounce soda or water bottle go by, and it’s not the first time I’ve seen trash. Plenty of it is unrecognizable, but there was a lid for something sold in bulk and a buoy from a crab pot or some such thing. With so many ships passing, even accidentally dropped things wouldn’t be surprising, but that’s probably not the bulk of it.

James’ 5-6 pm watch: 

The sun does its solar thing…the moon, wow, does its full moon thing and all the stars save the hardiest few slither away from the light as if they were billions of miles away.

5:08 pm: Excellent dinner. It’s been hard to want to cook in this heat. We’ve even been doing canned soup cold. Black beans and yellow rice, though…what a treat! 

A full, wonderful meal underway

And now we have leftovers for two more meals. 

James’ 9-midnight watch: 

This moon is doing a bang up job illuminating the storm cells for me…not a single drop hit us for my entire watch.

Rain that comes at us from abaft at 8 knots and dies away before it reaches the companionway hatch…I like this rain.

Dena’s midnight-3 am watch

2:17 am: I’m trying not to do too much math with the excellent progress we’re making. There’s no such thing as “if we keep going at this pace”!

What I look like:

How I looked

What I’m looking at:

What I saw

F3 is my favorite. We’re going 3.0-3.5 knots, the ride is pretty easy for a beat, and there’s some power coming in from the wind generator. It’s a good night after a good day.

James’ 3-6 am watch: 

I never even touched the rig.

…to conserve power we have started running at night dark. Meaning: running lights off until we get within visual distance of an AIS signature then we kick them on.

Well, at about 4:30 am I got an AIS reading that was about 2.5 miles out…well within visual range…I hit our running lights and a moment later a 400ft chemical tanker blinked into existence a couple of miles off our port bow. Huh…

After they were well behind us I shut our running lights off again and a moment later the ship disappeared once again into the darkness…their AIS signature was still up on the chartplotter…but they were all but invisible to the naked eye even with a totally full moon…A 400 Foot Ship? In the middle of the ocean…gone?!

Dena’s 6-9 am watch

6:17 am: Holy shit what a beautiful sunrise!

This is worth getting up for.

Sunrise over the World Ocean, Atlantic flow

Also, the wind just died in that special Dawn Windkiller way (lead singer in what band?) but less completely than a couple days ago.

…and then rose again! Sweet!

8:49 am: This is the opposite of what we’ve experienced in tradewinds. Wow. It’ll be blowing F3 and then die out to almost nothing. Just when I give up and course-correct, it comes back. I mean, it’s not like I have something better to do than tend our course, but it’s the expectant moments that feel silly. It’s like a soap opera…will it, won’t it? Should I, should I not?


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