Day 4 Miles run last 24 hours: 158
Miles to go: 1539
A very boisterous night led into an even more boisterous day, though everything seems easier to handle in the daytime. Squalls and heavy rains alternated with calm during the night. Today, bright sunshine. The winds have been consistently in the high 20s- mid 30s with gusts to 40 knots and the ride quite uncomfortable. There is no comfortable spot for the on-watch person below when the weather is nasty and we're on a port tack. These are the times a pilot house would be nice.
The seas are confused and a bit angry, whipped into a foamy 15'+ (4-5m) frenzy ...every third or fourth one that crashes by is guaranteed to douse the cockpit crew. I lick my lips and taste the salt. My sunglasses are encrusted with white salt spray. The scattered-cloud, blue sky is deceptive because just looking at it, you'd expect a fine day. The high altitude mare's tails are telling the story of a front coming through. Our weather forecasts underestimated the winds. It's like being on the carnival ride from hell ...but you can't get off ... Or perhaps it's more like those mechanical bulls at Western bars? We've triple-reefed the main with a reefed staysail and a handkerchief of a jib out and we're still moving along at 7-8 knots. Not much weather helm, but not a comfy ride either. At least we're making good distance and speed...some of it in the right direction.
The stove gimbal broke this morning just as we were heating water for our morning cuppas. Bummer! It looks as if the bolt holding the gimbal came loose, but there's no fixing it in these seas. We'll wait for some calm or perhaps heave-to later, so David can evaluate and hopefully repair it. In the meantime, it's secured.
Moving anywhere on deck or below is a challenge. It's hard to maintain your balance. I put off going to the head as long as possible. Note to self ...drink less tea! Cooking is always an interesting exercise in conditions like this, especially with the broken gimbal. Sandwiches and leftover cole slaw are the menu offerings today. We'll survive. Winds forecast to continue like this through the night and lessening tomorrow. We can only hope.
Deck count: 0 on deck, however one fairly large flying fish in the reefed mainsail
Day 5 Miles run last 24 hours: 163
Miles to go: 1379
As advertised, the winds calmed to the low 20s during the night. The seas became more sailor-friendly...no wave crests blowing into our faces, no breakers crashing into the cockpit. The ride is more comfortable and the crew is predictably happier. The stove gimbal still needs attention and there are innumerable salt-water-sodden towels, t- shirts, shorts and sweatshirts in various heaps in the saloon, but the day dawned blue-sky lovely with no ominous clouds on the horizon and we're 163 miles closer to Rodrigues.
Mail call was good today with emails from my sister, our niece (and blog master), Gentry, our son, Brad, and Miks, a faithful high school chum who's the absolute best at keeping in touch while we're at sea. David usually sends and picks up mail during the night (best propagation time for our current location) and we read them together when he gets up from his off-watch at 0900. Funny, what an important ritual this becomes when we're at sea. I imagine Joshua Slocum would not have relied as much on his imaginary friend, the pilot of the Pinta, if he'd had SailMail!
Later in the day, David did, indeed, manage to repair the gimbal on the stove which makes my work in the galley a tad easier. The process involved cutting off a bolt to shorten it, lifting the stove (80 lbs /35 kg) out of its enclosure, disassembling the side that needed the bolt replaced, replacing the bolt, reassembly, lifting the stove back up and aligning the bolts to fit back into the gimbal slots. All while we were rocking and rolling. Nothing's ever easy on a boat.
Deck count: 4 flying fish
Day 6 Miles run last 24 hours: 139
Miles to go: 1240
As we dip back south to the higher latitudes, it's cooler and less humid. In the Cocos we were 12 degrees south of the equator. Rodrigues is almost 20 degrees south...still in the tropics, but slightly lower temps and drier. I haven't given up my bare feet, shorts and t-shirt, but I do rely on a sweatshirt and a light blanket to be comfy for night watches.
Being in shorts and t-shirts kind of highlights cuts and bruises on our bodies. Part of this morning's conversation revolved around comparing various black and blue marks and healing cuts. We rarely remember how they were sustained, but we both look banged-up after a long passage. I had many more bruises...David won in the cuts category. Who says conversations aboard Nine of Cups aren't lively and engaging?
The winds and seas calmed significantly during the night ... 10-12 knot winds, 3-5' seas (1-2m). We're moving along in the 5s now which seems like a snail's pace, but we still managed 139 miles to the good for our last 24-hour period, so we're on schedule to arrive in another 9 days ...maybe less. Depends what Neptune has in store for us for the next week.
Deck count: 3 flying fish Note: Flying fish are edible. Some folks like them. Others do not. David pan-fried a bunch one time to try. We are in "others do not" category.