To Azores Day 26

Saturday August 19

26 days of living here…

We eat, we sleep we read we write we love on each other we pet the cat and we sail the boat through our world.

The marching rain cells have descended…they started just before 6 this morning and have been rolling on by all day.

I got soaked…grrr.

…And Cetacea performs her survival trick with us aboard.

Dena’s 5-6 pm watch

5:13 pm: After so much dead air (it went absolutely still in the morning) and yesterday’s blazing fast average of 1.5 knots, it’s a sudden and welcome pleasure to have real wind to sail with. It’s only been coming up for about a half an hour, but is already about 10-12 knots. 

5:35 pm: Back out in the cockpit. I finished that last sentence right as it started raining. The clouds are moving quickly, though and that one is done. Out here, we can so attentively watch the clouds build and then tatter at the bottom and finally unravel scarves or whole blankets of rain into the sea below.

We watched earlier while an arrestingly solid cloud bank emptied its entire being on the surface, salt water welcoming fresh, and became whatever you have when a skein of yarn is all used up.

While that drama, miles high and wide, played out, a hunting party crossed our path. Lots and lots of dolphin, as many as 50, circled, darted, and breathed. Some ce closer to check us out but most kept working until…leaping! Right out of the water! One left two body-lengths of clear sky visible under its tail before summersaulting to descend, as though it were just one of its many options, and cleave the water without a splash. 

I’ve seen documentaries about dolphins corralling the prey fish and then coming up through the mass. I imagine that’s what we watched. I do believe, though, that James was right when he called it the best Happy Food Dance ever!

James’ 9-10 am watch

9:33 am: What a strange night! I set us up for each wind change as best I could and then just conked out for a while. Sometimes I got an hour in, other times I’d wake to some signal that I had work to do. A different jolt over the waves, a different sound in the wind. Flapping staysail sheet rattling the turning block.

Then, right about first light, the wind turned to the northeast and something made it where I couldn’t beat. I couldn’t trim within 90 degrees of the wind. I tried less staysail, shook a reef from the main. Finally, I gave up and engaged the motor. That got me to a reasonable angle.

Then I realized I was heading into an enormous storm system with a dozen rainfall areas stretched across more than half the horizon.

I ended up having to use the motor more strongly than we have been, which runs the battery down extra fast. (The ratio is about 10 times as much battery power for three times the speed, and I wasn’t even getting good speed.) 

We’re headed north and sometimes west of north now, though I was able to back off the motor again.

I didn’t get a lot of solid sleep, though I did dream a couple of times. I’ll see if I can nap today, because I don’t know whether I’ll get the whole night off. We’re so close (though not getting there very fast or heading precisely in the right direction), I think we’ll go back to the 3 hour watches overnight.



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