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Friday, April 13, 2012

Day 10 Mexico to the Marquesas

April 13, 2012
9PM boat time
Position at 0400 April 14, 2012 UTC: 08°11'N 120°23'W

Day 10: Mexico to Marquesas Islands, French Polynesia

This evening we are around 1100nm SW of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. It was mostly a good day despite mixed swell directions making for a bumpy ride in the cross seas, a minor injury, a wave though a hatch and needing to break our 4 day spinnaker run streak.

First off some good news: Dolphins on the bow in the wee hours of the night entertained the watch. It's pretty surreal to see dolphins glow green as they shoot through the water on a pitch dark night.

Humans also swam next to the boat just before lunch as we hove-to and enjoyed a refreshing swim. I wish we could spend more time goofing off swimming, but we still have a long way to go to the Marquesas. The water is so clear you can open your eyes a squinty bit underwater and see quite clearly and it doesn't even sting much. Pretty cool.

Weather wise we are starting to encounter both stronger winds and squally conditions so this was the main driver in swapping the spinnaker for regular sail this afternoon. Plus, our power foredeck crew Andrew got a rope burn on a few fingers. Nothing serious enough to get Andrew out of his normal watch standing, boat chores and cooking duties, but we did decide to give him a break from any more spinnaker changes today. Andrew's mom (my oldest sister Laura) need not worry as it's only one band aid and a few friction blisters. He was back to swabbing the decks within a few hours.)

A few flying fish found their way aboard overnight, perhaps with assistance from our dolphin escort. Kelsey armed with fresh knowledge gleaned from 'The Cruisers Handbook of Fishing' by Scott & Wendy Bannerot rigged one of the flying fish with a internal hook and even tied the poor buggers wing/fins out so it would look like he was flying as we towed him behind the boat hoping to trick a yellow fin tuna into coming aboard for dinner. It sure looked good and after a hour Kelsey pulled in the line to find only flying fish eyes left on the hook. Not sure if that was a bite or the flying fish just got ripped off by high speed surfs.

Speaking of surfing, everyone had wheel time today and while Kathy was steering she hit 12.9 knots on surfs twice within 10 minutes. This is the point we definitely decided to reduce sail. Good thing we did, as winds built from 19 True to 25 True within about an hour and that would have had us going way to fast for the confused seas.

We also have a new crew aboard named Bobbie the Boobie who has a blue beak and orange feet. Bobbie the Boobie has taken up residence on our starboard bow with his aft end aimed forward, hopefully any Boobie doo doo should shoot forward and away from our decks. As long Bobbie keeps aimed correctly I'm happy to have him or her aboard. Our cat Shell is quite transfixed by Bobbie and alternates starring Bobbie down between trips to the food bowl and frequent naps.

Kelsey was steering today when a bit of a rouge wave smacked the side of the boat sending a good bit of water in through a open hatch over the 'kids' starboard head and across the deck into the cockpit. It's easy for crew to be lulled in to thinking no water will ever touch the deck sailing downwind on a cat like LightSpeed. However, experience shows that although the odds are long, you do eventually get wet. After a lengthy clean up, I think the crew will no longer require reminders about open hatches.

Looks like we be at 05N 125W at the edge of the ITCZ in about 48 hours or about 0400 April 16, 2012 UTC. Which is around 9pm local boat time on April 15, 2012. Gotta love dealing with time zones.

For all you sailing / weather wizards with internet. Your input on getting across the ITCZ would be welcome. From where I sit with very limited bandwidth, it looks like little useable wind between 05N and 05S with plenty of squalls near 04N. Email dbkane (at) gmail (dot) com with your weather insights. Thanks in advance to our sailing buddy Paddy Barry who has been sending us valuable weather updates throughout the voyage.

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