Tuesday, May 23, 2006

The Doldrums

04deg.21.139N 128deg.29.400W 21:33L
We are currently sailing along with light winds from the south, after a couple struggling days in the ITCZ. We had a large rainstorm the other night, which dumped rain, heavy winds and confused seas at us for what seemed like an eternity. Like a lot of times in life, bad things like to in clusters, and we had a small tear in the Genoa (large foresail), and a turning block ripped from its support on the wind vane at the same time as the rainstorm. It was a really surreal night with rain so heavy that it was hard to look up, a seabird flying into our sail breaking its wing and flapping around deck, and I saw a Mahi Mahi jumping 3 feet out of the water right next to the boat. The line between dry deck and the ocean seemed blurry, and at times you felt more like a swimmer than a sailor. When morning came and the clouds scattered, we dried out and started to fix the sail and block to be able to continue like before. The converging zone is a belt with very unstable weather near the equator, and the kinds of clouds that we have been seeing supports that. The southernly winds have forced us to slow our progress some, and last night when the wind died, we started the engine and motored through the night. The last weather forecast suggest that we finally have passed the zone and the SE trade winds will fall into place. Tonight we had our dinner sitting outside at sunset, things were back to normal, the sail fixed and the new block epoxied in place. I guess if this is the last of the ITCZ, we came through pretty easy, with only one night of motoring and one rainstorm. Now the new waypoint in the plotter is set for Hiva Oa in the Marquesas (1040 miles to go), and we shall not forget that we are crossing the equator in the next few days.


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