Santa Maria to Madeira Day 2

Tuesday 4/30

Dena’s 1500-1600 watch

I love leftovers.

While we were off Santa Maria, James made pasta and enough delicious red sauce to fill a reused salsa bottle. Today’s lunch was a packet of creme da marisco (seafood cream soup) with those leftovers for chunky cream of tomato seasoned just how I like it. Lucky me! Marvelous and easy, whereas the original sauce would be hard to manage with the way we’re moving.

Yep, winds are still light. I’m glad the swell isn’t any bigger than it is, but the fact that it’s coming from the port quarter while the wind is off the starboard quarter…when the wind sighs to a stop, we’re rolling from side to side. 

James was laughing about how we should have made a video of us eating…at the table hip to hip, each gripping a bowl with one hand and a mug in the other, waiting for perfect moments to let go in order to use a spoon or dip a sandwich (totally unnecessary pbnjs). I laughed too because I don’t know if it looked stately and skillful or bumbling and built to spill.

Very little sky entertainment last night. Cloud cover was profound. We just discussed our overnight plan and I’m going to take the first whole night, 2100-0900. I’ll treat it like a singlehander with naps and alarms and, if the sky is clear, the endless wonder of the universe.

Dena’s overnight watch, 2100-0900

Captain Dena geared up

It’s 2200 now and the wind has died so completely that I can only feel it when we’re rocking back and forth. And then it’s just a brief touch on whichever side I’m being rocked toward. It’s pretty early in the night to be on the electric motor, but I’d rather keep moving in the right direction during the night time. During the day, we can cope differently with the lack of movement.

On the other hand, the sky is gorgeous. It didn’t cloud up so the stars are brilliant. The moon will be up sometime between 1:30 and 2:00 and then I’ll have that entertainment.

Wednesday 5/1

I decided not to start napping until after midnight, so that I could easily take advantage of any little bits of wind that came up. No such luck. About half past, I started to feel sleepy looking up at the stars. Then I set up an alarm and some cushions, and I put myself to dozing. The weird thing is that the noise of the tiller pilot was kind of bothering me and then…it wasn’t. 

As soon as I dozed off I must have kicked the motor controller. It was barely running and there wasn’t enough motion through the water for the steering system to keep us pointed the right direction. So the tiller pilot saved itself by freezing. 

Smart little piece of tech! 

The funny thing about experiences like this…I know I will find that tiller pilot whine more reassuring than bothersome from here on out because it means that it’s functioning as it ought. 

In the flashlight beam, the water is flat, dead calm. I guess I’ll keep on motoring.

Who’d’ve thought I could watch the hypnotic revelation of the half moon on a clear horizon and feel wryly disappointed at the slick heaving waters catching that deep orange reflection? Moonrise added a new bit of the good old “fucking scenic” and I refuse to ruin a no-strings opportunity for enjoyment. 

Sunrise was also stunning.

Our lives at sea

Back of my mind, though, was…damn, there’s no wind all the way to the horizon.

I’m absolutely jazzed. Two Minke whales hung out with us a while. One came up from behind, swung right, and breached…twice! I saw a small school of fish about the length of my palm huddled near LoveBot’s paddle, and I bet that’s what the whales wanted for breakfast. 

Minky Whales, mother and baby

Late eaters! They visited us at 9:30 and our savory oatmeal topped with a fried egg was long since devoured and cleaned up.

Noon position: N 36° 08.685’ W 023° 18.666’
Distance noon to noon: 45.8 NM
Average speed: 1.92 kn
Trip distance covered: 105.9 NM
Distance to destination: 390 NM


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