To Azores Day 2

Wednesday, July 26

Dena’s 12:30-1 pm watch: The sun, wow…it somehow sucked the wind off the surface of the north Atlantic flow…then it came back up, then…our world breathes like our Cetacea.


When I (James) wash dishes, the wind generator ramps up to serve power to the battery I just took it from to run the water pump. It happens at the spreed of the resistance we have built into the system.

I can hear it when it happens…it’s quite a bit slower than the speed of sound because I notice it.

…But not by much.

We can do better.

We’re at 100% on both house banks and 96% on propulsion 24 hours out of a two week romp through Bermuda.

We can do better.

Dena’s 1-4 afternoon watch

3:04 pm: It’s hard not to make things up out here. Overactive pattern recognition, I mean, not fibs. The unfoamy crest of a small wave could have been a fin, and the birds have it out for me. Without the blare of constant messaging, the mind will make its own.

We got back up to the mid-threes for a couple hours and are now back down to the high-twos. I’m not sad. The breeze is cooling and the solar panels are providing shade. Feels good out here after a couple of hours keeping out of the sun below except to check for other vessels and wind changes.

We’ve done well with our one-hour watches between 9 am and 9 pm as far as being able to get out of the sun (or rain) and only hold the on-watch alertness for smaller amounts of time. It doesn’t really lend itself to concentrated endeavours though, and we are both writers.

We’re trying a new thing to keep the days from feeling quite so fractured. The person who takes over at 1 pm will stand a 3-hour watch. Then back to one hour watches until the night watches begin.

This part of the afternoon has been mostly undemanding at this latitude. All that’s been required is enough attentiveness to catch as the wind picks up and do whatever sail and Lovebot adjusting is in the cards. This brand new watch of mine hasn’t felt especially taxing.

We can’t really stand our watches anymore because of the tiller swinging around where we used to stand at the wheel, so it isn’t even that difficult. Speaking of which, all the time on my butt can be its own kind of uncomfortable, and I am working places to stand safely and comfortably to meditate on blue.

Regardless, we’re trying it out. Neither of us got great gobs of sleep last night but I really hope I don’t end up needing my afternoon off-watch for catching up tomorrow. I’d like to see how writing or editing feels. Can I really engage in purely imaginary people and places? Feel their air and smell their food?

Do I want to be anywhere but here?

A column in the sky

James’ 6-7 pm watch: absolute perfection until the even bells then it died on Dena.

Dena’s 9-midnight watch

James: I am floating…floating in a reality that is foreign to most…I am foreign to most.

Dena: I’m watching the waxing gibbous moon. It’s not doing much and is somehow still a fabulous show. It’s partly the way we’re traveling together in space. The round of it points to sun, dropped below the horizon and yet still raining photons into the slice of sky over there. I know where I am in the solar system because the moon tells me.

It changes so fast, all night. Stars and galaxies rise and fall, Polaris as the Maypole, but it’s so much simpler than a cosmic dance and so much self-aggrandizing. It’s me! I’m moving them!

Well, at least it’s my planet. The Earth rotates and creates the effect for me, also in motion across the planet’s wet skin, of the Motion of the Spheres.

The moon, though. Cheeky little thing. Moves with us and also on her own timetable. We are doing a stately waltz (not one of those scandalous waltzes) twirling once a day as we round the sun once a year.

That’s easy compared to the jig the moon is dancing. Around the Earth with one face always showing, but also around the sun along with us. The moon’s whole surface knows the heat of sunshine and the cold dark, but also knows the draw of more than the simple I-and-Thou of Earth’s own and the solar gravities.

The moon circles the earth but sways in the dance. We are not the most powerful beings at the ball.

How far does the Earth travel circling the sun? How far does the moon travel in the same time in circles around us, back and forth between us and the sun, and also in that large solar circle?

11:24 pm: Just watched something in the sky that I think was a helicopter. It seemed really inconsistent for an airplane. One each red and white flashers. Haven’t heard anything about missing vessels or received any distress calls, so here’s hoping it’s not a search and rescue. Heading away from Bermuda though, in the middle of the night?

To the Azores - First Light

Dena’s 9-10 am watch

9:35 am: Last night’s sky was gorgeous. The waxing gibbous on my first long watch put me into transports about relative motion, and the sweeping density of the Milky Way stunned me speechless on my second. Now it’s daytime again and I’m realizing that, if we do this whole trip at this pace, I’m going to have to work harder at letting daytime speak to me.

It doesn’t help that it’s pretty hot in the direct sunlight or that the waves, while varied, have a sameness to them when scanned by eye. Clouds provide most of the visual interest and they’re unpredictable. When they move at different speed to each other, the dance can be meditative. It sends me into quiet mind, rather than contemplation.

Dena feeling good

I did a small project. Replaced a few fasteners. Some 304 grade stainless must have gotten mixed up with the 316, because exactly half of them rusted. Not knowing whether the spares we have are the higher grade, I’ll just have to wait and see whether my work was productive. Looks better, so I’m satisfied in the short term.

We have some music by Brian Eno and Harold Budd that is totally the stuff playing at the massage therapist’s office. It’s pretty great for staring at the world and letting my mind wander.

James: before noon, before food. Dena’s making killer-reets…the electric motor has us balanced on the ocean roller, Lovebot’s got the helm. We’re on course and the sails are silent and full…so far a good day.

58nm in the last twenty four hours ain’t breaking any records but that was all in the right direction!


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