13 May

Day 142/20

Noon Position: 36 10S 159 53W

Course/Speed: NE7

Wind: WNW17-20

Bar: 1026, steady

Sea: W3

Sky: Clear here, squalls to horizon

Cabin Temperature: 74

Water Temperature: 64

Sail: Working Jib, full; full main; close reach

Noon-to-Noon Miles Made Good: 137

Miles this leg: 2,537

Avg. Miles this leg: 127

Miles since departure: 19,781

The antidote to yesterday’s foul mood is wind, which began to fill in from the west at dusk. By midnight I had reefs in and Mo charged on like a horse feeling her oats. At day’s end (noon), we’d made a respectable 137 miles, good as twenty-four hours earlier saw a boat with limp sails and no steerage.

And what a difference…

The only word for this day with a boisterous wind on the beam is timeless. I think that mariners are so conscientious about logging (every two hours on Mo) because without the constant reminder of the log, both time and place would become insignificant contrivances. In a world of endless blue sky, blue water, pale cloud, and with a boat going like a freight train and yet mysteriously motionless at the center of a world going by–in this world, what is time?

The sea today is a vast plane with here and there a white cap and just enough heave to make man and boat and sea feel like a single living thing. And in that single living thing–whales, two–the first two seen this entire voyage. Off to port. I saw the blow first, an explosion of white mist; then that sliver of gray, shiny body above the water. They appeared to be just churning about. Here, in the middle of nowhere, they were going nowhere in particular, like kids hanging out on a street corner–except there’s neither street nor corner here. In fact, the nearest land is 18,000 feet straight down. But then, that’s the terrestrial animal talking–equating “somewhere” with a fixed body. To the whale, this random bit of sea could be like a piece of back yard, or a special picnic spot in a national park two states away.

I had a wish that, like the dolphins, they’d somehow take chase with Mo. But not. They disappeared into the sun. I waited on deck for twenty minutes but never saw them again.

Wind to one side, we are not out of this calm just yet. Current strategy is to hightail it to a spot around 35S and 158W before a pocket of high pressure develops where we are currently. Here and east of here there will be nada, but there wind will be light from the west and we can head due east for a day or two. Later in the week, if we are very lucky, the wall of calm above us will begin to migrate west and a breath of wind may be found to carry us north, up and around, and… And that’s all I’ll say for now.

This article was syndicated from The Figure 8 Voyage


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