Friday, June 22, 2007

Another day in paradise, and on trash patrol

Big news: this morning an albatross followed us for a while and then I saw him land about a hundred yards behind us. It's the first time I've ever seen an albatross land. OK, so it's not the space shuttle, but I thought it was captivating.

And in trash news, I saw a rust-colored "milk crate" go by, but this crate looked big enough to hold 12 1.5 liter bottles of, you know, cheap wine. And it must have been a recent arrival in the sea; no beard, no crabs, no mollusks. Glass balls sighted today: none.

In sailing news, not much to report. We are close-hauled on a steady course of 105 true in a band of variable northerlies and the result is boat speeds of from 4 to 6 knots with occasional bursts of 6.5 to 7.0 knots.

Yesterday, we shot a six-second video which we emailed to our pal Ulli. If all goes well, it should appear here in the blob soon. Thanks Ulli, for all your support.

Oh, and speaking of thanks, I forgot to mention my T-shirt sponsor, Pacific Yachting and Sailing of Santa Cruz. The owner, Marc Kraft, just gave me two new PY&S T-shirts recently. Thanks Marc. And remember folks: if you're ever looking for the best sailboat charter experience in Santa Cruz, be sure to call Marc at 831-423-SAIL (7245).

For the second year in a row, during my night watch, I reported a ship on the horizon, only to later realize that it was the setting moon, albeit in heavy cloud cover. But, just prior to my "ship sighting" there was some legitimate excitement on deck when I looked up and realized that I could not see the three bright red flags of the masthead fly. Nothing but a pitch black sky. At some point my caffeine-starved brain started to formulate the realization that the masthead navigation light was out. OK, so I dropped below in full-cold-weather gear to look for the blown fuse or breaker. Nope, it's apparently the bulb itself, and we still have seven dark nights or so to go. The good news is that Cirrus also has a conventional deck-level running lights setup, so I switched them on and we were again visible and legal. The bad news is that the ScanMar wind-vane-autopilot sits behind the stern light and is constructed of a mass of brightly polished stainless tubes which are highly reflective and it just flooded the cockpit with a bright white light. Sure makes it hard to see those "ships".

Last night, I had a tough time hearing Lou on the radio and then, suddenly, he started coming in much more clearly. I think we have identified another local source of interference, the refrigerator. However, Donna put me on notice that there will be no turning off of the fridge until we have an absolutely bulletproof system for ensuring that we turn it back on again afterwards. So I'm working on that.

Right now, we're barely ghosting along, doing about 3 knots. This is a violation of the well-known 4-knot policy, so it might be a great time to charge them batteries. Current position at 1430 HST: 34N23.7 139W26.6. We have not calculated an updated ETA today, so still shooting for Friday morning, the 29th. Thanks for all your comments. Please keep them coming.

Fair winds,

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's interesting that you mention the space shuttle. The big news yesterday is that it landed safe and sound at Edwards Air Force Base. Bad weather forced them to move the landing from the east coast to the west. "Shortly before 1 p.m. (4 p.m. ET), Atlantis swooped out of the blazing desert sky and glided down a concrete runway about 80 miles north of Los Angeles. Its return was marked by crackling twin sonic booms that were heard from San Diego to Los Angeles."