Miles to go: 3,215
We had a false start on our planned departure day. We'd checked out the day before and all was ready on Nine of Cups ... except us. We dilly-dallied around till it was well into the afternoon and then the stove solenoid seemed to be having a problem and we finally decided to spend another day on the mooring. Port Control was most obliging, which was good because we'd spent the last of our St. Helena pounds on a bottle of St. Helena-produced rum! I think we've been running around so much on the island, we needed to get back into passage mode, and a day and night on the boat was just what the doctor ordered.
The actual departure day dawned sunny and warm. We were up and ready to cast off the mooring lines by 0730. St. Helena Radio bade us farewell and we were on our way. A friendly pod of pantropical spotted dolphins swam with us for several miles...a fine send-off.
The sun soon ducked behind the grey, overcast sky to which we've become accustomed. Still, it was comfortably warm with just a sweatshirt and sweatpants and our feet were bare. No complaints. We set a northwest course (324 degrees) and moved along at 5.5 to 6 knots with 12-15 knots of apparent wind from the southeast. We poled out to port and the heel wasn't bad. A delightful way to start a long, 3,000 nm passage. Late in the afternoon, we could still see St. Helena rising out of the Atlantic behind us, but as the grey day faded, soon the island, too, dipped below the horizon and faded from sight.
It was calm enough to cook dinner down below (tuna fish and pasta). No one's felt the least bit nauseous...thank, Neptune. We saved the PB & J sandwiches for night watch.
Miles to go: 3,081
A crappy first back-to-sea night watch. It alternated drizzle, then heavy rain, then more drizzle. Just when we thought it had stopped and dragged all our gear to the cockpit, it would start all over again. The pattern repeated throughout the night. The wind increased to the mid-20s with gusts in the 30s, and with it, a corresponding increase in the wave action. We had some good-sized waves knocking us around by 0300. The ride was lumpy and bumpy, but fast, and we averaged high 6s, 7s and 8s all through the night hours ... but not much sleep.
It's a new moon, so no moon at all and the sky's as black as tar. We could see stars every once in awhile for brief periods. Soon we should be able to see the North Star again. It's been a long, long time since Cups has been in the northern hemisphere.
The day dawned sunny with blue skies which were soon masked by thick, grey banks of clouds that showered all around us, but not on us. A positive consequence of last night's heavy rains is that the decks are noticeably clean this morning. The grey day lingered on and finally the blue sky reappeared. The winds have continued in the high teens and low 20s, giving us a reasonable point of sail, good mileage and big waves.
St. Helena already seems like a pleasant, but distant memory. We're getting back into passage mode with many miles before us.