St. Helena to French Guiana - Days 13 - 14

shiptrak 95 Day 13

Miles to go: 1,738

It was a day of bright, contrasting colors. The night had been pitch black with a heavy, thick cloud cover that cloaked the stars and the waxing moon. The sunrise, however, made up for the lack of nighttime show. When David woke me for the 0600 watch, he coaxed me out of sleep with talk of a red sky and promises of a superb sunrise to come. As I peered out for my morning's first glance, all I could see were brilliant shades of reds, oranges, pinks, purples and yellows...a virtual artist's pallet offering vivid hues and announcing the sun's imminent arrival. I grabbed my morning cuppa to watch the show. It was a dazzler.

My favorite time of day is early morning. I enjoy the new day and then wait for David to wake up. We enjoy a cuppa together and then just sit and chat for hours. No rush, no hassle. It's relaxing and intimate and rarely enjoyed by folks on the go. Certainly, a luxury we never seemed to have time for in our pre-Nine of Cups days.

The day was lovely with cerulean blue skies and puffy, cotton-white clouds. We could easily get used to this and not put into port at all. I say that now, but once we see land, that's all we'll be thinking about.

We chatted and puttered and wrote and read. Our South African friends, Christine and Jannie, are planning to escape the rat race in the next few years. Chris dreams about sailing off into the sunset and having entire days to just sit and relax and read. This was that kind of day and I was thinking of her.

We picked up another hour today. Our new time zone is Nuuk, Greenland, GMT -2 hours.

Day 14

Miles to go: 1,625

Milestone:  Half Way Day

A crappy night watch. It rained and poured throughout the night. It's stuffy down below when it's all closed up, and it was definitely stuffy as I groused through my watch, waiting for the rain to quit.  A ship appeared out of nowhere just after midnight...the Yeun Hrong, apparently bound for Brazil. The  AIS/CPA alarm went crazy, shattering the calm of a brief respite between showers. Cups was bobbing and bouncing and sometimes it appeared the ship was on a collision course  (loud, annoying alarm) and other times showing it would pass 3 miles away. The CPA alarm alternated to distraction with the wind vane alarm advising me that there'd been a wind shift. No peace, no quiet, no contemplation, no stargazing. The ship passed within 2.5 miles, but it took forever. Finally, though, I was able to sit for a few minutes topside in peace and quiet.

Something was clunking below...the strainer in the sink was rolling around. Then, a can was loose in a locker and the tea kettle was rattling against the side of the stove top. It's amazing that we can no longer hear the whir of the spinning prop shaft or the sing-song cry of the autopilot, but let a new instrument join the orchestra, and it drives us nuts.

The rain stopped, the wind shifted and we were heading away from the Equator instead of towards it. Other than reefing, we rarely make major sail changes during the night...like re-rigging the pole. If a change is required, it waits till morning. Neither of us slept well on our off-watches. And then, a new, resplendent day dawned, the wind behaved and  clocked more southerly, we were on course again and all thoughts of a crappy night were forgotten (except in this blog).

A little housekeeping was in order today. For short passages, we wait till we arrive at a new destination, but during longer passages, things get out of hand if we don't keep up. The night showers had loosened up more of the Luderitz dust and grime, and the cockpit needed a wipe down. Some dusting, sweeping and general tidying up down below did wonders.

The highlight of the day? We 're half way to French Guiana! We're sailing almost parallel to the Equator, at just under 2 degrees south. It's only about 100 miles north now, but on our present course, it will still take couple of days to cross it. Good it's not too close, they'd be too much to celebrate all at one time. We like to spread out the partying a bit. Surprisingly, the trades are still with us, though less strong. The ITCZ is evidently further north enjoying the vestiges of the Northern summer.

As for us? It's Half Way Alfredo with smoked trout for dinner tonight to celebrate.