Just a Little Further

Crossing the Indian Ocean – Cocos to Rodrigues Days 7 & 8

days 7-9 cocos to rod

 

Day 7
Miles run last 24 hours:  148             

Miles to go: 1095

The day started out beautifully. Blue sky, fluffy white clouds, reasonable winds and seas …an enjoyable day to be sailing on the Indian Ocean. Just before dinner time, dark clouds appeared on the southeast horizon …huge ,black, ominous-looking clouds. Maybe just a squall. We saw a rainbow…a full rainbow, arcing across the sky. Rain on its way. The wind  piped up. We reefed down as we watched the rain moving in heavy, dark sheets towards us. We gathered all of our gear from the cockpit and stowed it below. We were in for a soaker.

The wind increased … 25, 30, 35 knots. The seas kicked up quickly. We hunkered down below. Making dinner was a challenge. We cozied up on the starboard settee …stuck in place by gravity. Nine of Cups jerked and bucked violently, reacting to the collusion of winds and seas. It became uncomfortably hot below while outside a cool wind kept screaming. Waves crashed loudly …thud….splash.

Sleeping was wishful thinking. The ride was too rough. By my 0300 off watch, however, I was exhausted enough to finally doze off. I awoke to the sound of a freight train colliding with Cups. One “big mutha wave”  delivered a huge hit and the boat rolled like a boxer taking a wicked left cross to the jaw. CRASH … In the following seconds,  things went flying through the saloon and a huge deluge of water forced its way through the secured companionway hatch boards and the dorades.

David, on watch at the nav station, was thrown out of his seat against the breaker panel. Marcie asleep on the starboard sea berth was the recipient of gallons of sea water over her head. Everything was soaked ..clothes, sheets, pillows. Water on the galley counters stood two inches deep and worked its way inside lockers. An iPad went sailing across the saloon, ricocheted off the  galley wall, and finally settled in a puddle on the galley floor. The  saloon table, the bookcases, the sole …everything was completely doused and dripping. Stuff was strewn about everywhere.

It took a second or two to figure out what had happened. The wind continued to shriek, the boat shuddered and bucked. We were both momentarily flustered. We pulled ourselves together quickly, assessed the damage, grabbed towels and rags and began mopping up. We heard an alarm sounding on deck.

Evidently, the cockpit had been totally pooped … all lines and sheets were hanging over the starboard side trailing in the water. It was the ignition switch that was shrieking so loudly and it wouldn’t shut off. The switch had gotten submerged, and so much salt water had gotten inside the switch, it had caused it to short, turning on the ignition. Other alarms were sounding …the bilge pump was on, the high water alarm added to the bedlam; the autopilot was complaining that it was off course.

This crew is exhausted. Stay tuned for more…

Deck count:  Who knows, who cares?
Morale: Somewhat less than usual.

Day 8 – Cocos to Rodrigues
Miles run last 24 hours:  160         

Miles to go:  941

David temporarily disconnected the ignition switch, knowing he’d have to do something if we were to turn on the engine later to top the batteries. The other alarms were handled in turn and the chaos was in check. Our back-up cockpit GPS was not working.

It took well over an hour to mop up. Where to put even more waterlogged towels, rags, clothes? By 0515, Marcie was back in the sea berth with dry linen, but up again at 0600 for the change of watch.

The day finally dawned …dark, dreary, and boisterous. There would be no respite short term. David slept soundly through his off-watch, and a very exhausted first mate collapsed into the sea berth seconds after he vacated it.

Now that it was light, David conducted a general triage of apparent damage and began fixing. He re-wired the ignition and replaced the switch. The GPS was an easy fix. When he was thrown against the breaker panel, he hit the outlet switch and unknowingly turned it off by accident. A flip of the switch and the GPS came alive, found its fix and started ticking off the miles again.

Long, uneventful naps during the day despite the continued rough sea, and the crew recovered a bit. We’ve been at sea a week now with another week to go. Let’s hope Neptune considers our dues paid for this passage.

Deck count:  8, plus a small fry waiting for us in the cockpit
Morale: Improving

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