Update from dave 4-15-06 Day 14 of Pacific crossing
On Day 14 we saw a white cargo ship off the port beam about 4nm off. Excited to see other people in this vast, lurching blue sea, we hailed them on the VHF. Unfortunately they replied in Mandarin.
We are more than half way to the Marquesas: 1710nm down and 1023nm to go. The last day and a half we have officially been in the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) Zone famous for its variable light winds and windy rain squalls. Mysteriously, the weather is cooperating with 12-20 knots of wind out of the East and only a few rain squalls. In the last 24-hour period we’ve made 152nm which is awesome for the ITCZ. We all hope the good weather continues and that we won’t have to start the engine for lack of wind as it will further heat the already hot cabin to an unbearable level.
The cabin was a humid 91 degrees for my noon nap today as the hatches and ports were shut to keep spray and waves from soaking the interior. When we start the stove to make coffee in the rocking galley we’re soon dripping sweat. On deck the sun is amazingly powerful. It almost hurts to have your skin exposed to it directly. Hats, long sleeve shirts, sunglasses and jockeying for shade are the order of the day.
When rain squalls hit, you just take off your shirt and hat and enjoy the cooling effect of the rain… even at 3 a.m. I took a shower in one particularly hard rain squall yesterday and we also collected several gallons of water for laundry. Everyone is plowing through books and we’re having daily book discussions and one or two Scrabble tournaments as well. Last night Karl and I studied some of the new and unfamiliar stars and constellations of the southern hemisphere such as the Southern Cross and Canopus.
I’m feeling optimistic that we will arrive on the 24th or possibly the 23rd. Our first stop may be the most Northerly island in the 10-island Marquesas group by the name of Eaio (Ay-ee-ow). The island is apparently uninhabited, wild, and relatively desolate. The island measures 3 miles wide by 7 miles long and rises to a height of 1,900’. The rocky bays are apparently full of lobsters, hammerhead sharks and dolphins with numerous varieties of sea birds inhabiting the sheer cliffs. We are excited to make landfall and feel hard unmoving ground under our legs again!