Let me describe for you our world right now.
Flying the spinnaker making 6-7 knots, heading northeast toward Cape Flattery, currently located at about the same latitude as Newport, Oregon. That’s the only respectable thing about our situation right now. We have well and truly sailed into what (sadly) passes for a Pacific Northwest summer out here on the wild, grey ocean. Yesterday evening we had a dense layer of fog, our first in three years, to remind us why we will spend the money on radar before our next big trip. This morning we have a low marine layer of clouds with only an occasional breakthrough of a weak and watery sun. My beloved sunglasses sit, forgotten, on the nav station. The status of our cockpit cushions: cold, moist, salty. The status of our salon cushions: salty, moist, cold. The status of the floor: moist, salty, cold. The status of the comforter I pulled out, grateful I had the forethought to keep such things even when we had temperatures over 100 degrees in Mexico: clammy. Our skin is salty in spite of hot
showers at sea. We travel in our foul weather gear and wool socks. Only the visions of clasping our little family tightly to the old maternal breast keep me from turning this boat around and heading back to Hawaii. My tan is fading as we speak. Curses.
Yesterday we caught two albacore tuna. The first one got away as we were trying to land him. Landing a big fish on this boat is just not easy. Even if we ease the sails to slow down we are still traveling pretty fast when dragging a fish. There is a lot of stuff in the way like solar panels, the dinghy davits, and our grill, plus the rigging on the aft deck, not to mention our high freeboard. It’s an obstacle course back there and we do love to fish. So we are busy redesigning the aft deck to make it safer and easier to bring a fish on board. I have great video of the one that got away. The second one I got to reel in and Mike got video of me which is way too long but fairly amusing. We will put all these videos on a page for readers when we get back. We landed the second fish as much of the fight was already out of him before we even noticed we had one on the hook. He had taken so much line out that had he still been really fighting I probably would not have been strong enou gh to
bring him close to the boat. We hope to arrive home with a freezer full of fresh fish all neatly packaged with my handy heat sealer within 30 minutes of being caught. Mmmmm.
Can I just give a shout out to our spinnaker here? What a great sail. If you want a smooth ride a spinnaker is the way to go and we are really putting ours to the test. We do hate the spinnaker sock, however, because it almost always gets caught on the clew of the sail as it’s being hauled up, creating what we call a shit show on the fore deck as I lower the sail so Mike can sort it out again, then raise it back up. Sometimes we do this multiple times before we are successful at flying the sail. We have a lot of creative ways to express our irritation with that piece of equipment. We spent well over an hour on deck yesterday morning trying to sort that thing out. I jumped that spinnaker probably 8 times before we got it right and I have the painful shoulder to show for it. Mike’s adrenal glands took a workout as he maneuvered on a slippery foredeck with very deliberate caution. Even with our offshore vests on we don’t want to fall in this cold water. We want the sail put on a
continuous furler, which will make our lives that much better out here. Mike has that project on his new spreadsheet of boat projects.
By the way, if you have been following our gps track you will note that our track last night was wobbly and in the wrong direction. That’s because the wind shifted a bit and in order to stay the course we would have had to gybe the spinnaker in the dark. That means put the sail on the other side of the bow. This involves a lot of work on deck and running the sheet along the new side of the boat, work we won’t do in the dark unless it is absolutely necessary, which it wasn’t. So we gave up a few miles of east to have a pleasant night and stay safe. Always a good choice in my book. We gybed the sail when what passes for a sun came up this morning.
Did you notice that reference to a spreadsheet above? We now have a spreadsheet of boat projects to be accomplished before we make another voyage. Yes there are enough projects in our heads that Mike has created a document to manage them. So for now, our forward thinking is along the lines of WHEN we go again, not IF. This ocean sailing has got under our skin. In spite of being cold and moist and salty, we still love it out here. Today we hope for another tuna. There is room in the freezer. Here, fishy fishy!
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