Lüderitz to St. Helena - Days 9 & 10

days 9 & 10 Day 9  

Miles to go: 426

Ever since David saw the green flash the other night, we've been sitting on deck at sunset trying to capture a green flash on video. We've even changed the time zone to Atlantic/St. Helena time (UTC-Coordinated Universal Time), and gained an hour, so that I'm up at sunset. So far, no luck on the flash, but we keep on trying.

It's Prime Meridian Day today ... another of those imaginary, longitudinal lines where east meets west. We crossed the line around Noon and we entered the Western Hemisphere once again. Cups hasn't been in the Western waters since our little foray to New Zealand's Chatham Islands back in 2011 at the other side of the Hemisphere.  At that time, a storm had us back and forth across the International Dateline about six times trying to get back to mainland New Zealand and the Eastern Hemisphere. Today, however as we crossed longitude 000E to 000W, there was no drama. We just floated across with no fanfare or trials whatsoever. I took a video of the GPS during the crucial seconds and we'll celebrate with cookies or a chocolate bar for tonight's dessert.

Wind? There is none.

Day 10

Miles to go: 368

Sometimes there are light winds and sometimes, like now, there's absolutely no wind...none at all. It was a long, dark, boring, windless night following a windless day. The sails are flapping and flogging...beating themselves up looking for just a light breeze to fill them, but to no avail. The rigging is clanking and banging. By noon, we'd racked up a dismal total of 58 miles to the good for the entire 24-hour period.

Why not motor, you ask? Well, you can't motor across an entire ocean and conserving fuel is always a major consideration. "Patience", says the captain, "patience. The wind will come." Just after noon, we hauled in the jib, shut down the autopilot and drifted on an ocean flat enough to see my reflection. A long period, ever-present, southwest swell was the only thing to provide any momentum, and at that we moved less than a knot an hour, in the wrong direction. We drifted and chatted, drifted and chatted. We luxuriated in the warm sunshine. Neither of us was tired enough to nap. Around 1530, the wind gen creaked and began to turn, ever so slowly. The flag fluttered and came alive. The mainsail flapped a different tune and began to fill. 5 knots, 8 knots, 10 knots ...we let out the jib and we were off again.

Be careful what you wish for. The wind continued to freshen. Just before dark, we put a reef in the main...just in case. David could see a band of ominous black clouds on the horizon, and the jib we'd so happily let out a few hours before, was hastily reefed, as we met a nasty squall line head-on. We bounced and bumped our way through the squalls for an hour or so, then settled in for a boisterous night. What a shot to our earlier in the day complacency. Yowza!

A full moon rose. The wind backed and steadied at 20-25 knots and we charged ahead. St. Helena, here we come!