Sunday, May 08, 2011

Almost There

Distance: 130/2420 Day: 21

Our friends and buddy boats are settled into Hiva Oa either sleeping or scraping the gunk off themselves and their vessels. Jealous. Our next boat is definitely going to be faster. *sigh* Maybe. I'm beginning to think that Don Quixote is as slow as her owners. We reef. A lot. We don't like it when she goes super fast. And we hand steer. A lot. The former is perhaps timidity? Maybe if we were more confident or bolder, we'd leave the sails up in higher winds. Course, we haven't broken a lot of stuff on this trip (pause to knock on wood until knuckles get sore). I'd like to add a wind vane to the boat. There really needs to be a solution for a mechanical wind vane that will work on a catamaran. Must research. Alternatively, we should just add several back up auto-pilots and motors.

Of course, we're getting better at steering. Jaime is arguably the best. She drives the boat like a teenager, of course, with a combination of pre-natural accuracy and a touch of recklessness. We always ALWAYS go faster when she is at the helm. DrC also tends to gallop along, surfing the waves like a pro. Mera turns up the Glee, sings under her breath, and goes exactly where you tell her. She's not particularly innovative, but she is highly competent. Aeron is the only one who can stand at the helm. She plants her legs apart braced against the swell, steering the wheel which is nearly her height with a cheerful sawing motion which involves her entire body swinging port and starboard against the swell. What I can say about my steering is that when we need to do something dodgy like send Jaime up the mast to reset the location of the radar in 15 knots in a 10' swell, I'm the one at the helm minimizing the jostle.

The kids are munching grapefruit and arguing about chemistry. What is carbon monoxide? How about oxone? Pop quiz: Do we expire oxygen, nitrogen, or carbon dioxide? How does oxygen naturally occur in nature? Plants? NO! What? Come on... Oh! Two atoms together. Right. Now define an electron...

After dragging a lure from Vancouver Island to Zihau, up into the Sea of Cortez, and now halfway around the world, we finally caught something other than a skip jack. In fact, I figure we caught enough swordfish to pay for the fishing gear. The fish on our line was 64" long, and DrC gauges it was about 35 pounds. We have 4 stuffed large zip lock bags of steaks freezing down in the Norcold while we munch our way through the rest. Last night, dinner was absolutely astonishing. Swordfish steaks pan-seared in olive oil in their own juice with a bit of ocean water. We served it with multi-grain rice, wasabi aoli and teriyaki dips, and a coleslaw. We topped the entire thing off with cinnamon rolls.

Yes, in addition to the amazing Victory Over Fish, we also managed to produce a batch of really tasty, homemade cinnamon rolls. I feel this to be a major victory. The only downside to my recipe is that it takes 24 hours. Not a particularly spontaneous recipe, I'll grant you.

One more night. We should get to our way point about 5 miles off the coast of Hiva Oa sometime mid-day tomorrow. This will give us all afternoon to make our way down the south side of the island to the anchorage. Fingers crossed, we'll be in well before dark. Everyone is very excited to be nearly done with this first leg of the Puddle Jump.

Happy Mother's Day! to our mothers out there.

~ Toast
May 8, 17:30 UTC
S08 10.5 W136 56.8 225T 6.25 kts

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