Sunday, April 10, 2016

Moonshadow’s Day 11 Passage Report

1900 zulu, April 10, 2016
01 deg. 11.4 min. North
126 degrees 29.4 min. West
Wind dead calm
Sea conditions ENE swell 3’
Sky condition 100% severe clear

1900 zulu 24 hour distance covered: 149 nautical miles
Total distance from La Cruz: 1708 nautical miles
Total distance remaining: 989 nautical miles

We occupy a small disc about 8 nautical miles in radius in the middle of a vast, immense, empty ocean. As the sea has settled to minor catspaws over a smooth but not flat ocean with swells that are larger than they look but so far apart, they’re more like a gently rolling field of alfalfa, but blue, not green. OK this is nothing like a field of alfalfa. We are in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and you have never been so far away from another human being (except of course the loving spousal unit) as this. This looks and feels other worldly. The sky has transformed from it’s previous iterations of haze, overcast, rain, to absolute crystal clear. So clear you could probably see a hundred miles if the horizon wasn’t just 8 miles away. Cloud tops far past the horizon appear along the razor sharp edge of the world like they’re right next to you.

Meanwhile Moonshadow is puttering along under diesel running at a reduced speed to conserve fuel. With the sea so mellow, we can actually set a glass down and come back to it later right there where we left it. We took advantage of the stillness to transfer fuel from our three 5 gallon gerry cans into the tanks and put the tanks away so we won’t look so much like cruisers. Not that there’s anybody around to see us - and also not that there’s anything wrong with cruisers carrying yellow diesel cans on deck, it’s just that our color scheme is white and grey so the yellow must go!

We are also taking advantage of the flat seas by making arrangements to more easily handle our stern anchor. The guide books talk about lots of boats anchoring bow and stern in some of the coves and anchorages in the Marquesas. When one boat in a cove does this, everybody must follow suit or the swinging boats on a single anchor will come too close to the others who are tethered by their stern anchors. Also, in Atuona, the main town of Hiva Oa, where everybody checks in upon arrival in the Marquesas, EVERYBODY anchors bow and stern because the harbor is small and there are so many boats. Sounds a little like Cherry Cove in Catalina! Anyway, Moonshadow has ample ground tackle for the job, but it’s big and bulky and stowed away (more like buried) in lockers with junk in the way, so we need to get everything out and ready for use. We’ve figured out a place to keep the huge anchor (52” x 40”), and a way to deploy and retrieve it from the stern without creating a comedy scene for all the other boats in the harbor. At least that’s the idea. Some of this remains to be seen.

Finally we keep finding milestones and checking boxes. Today we are less than a thousand miles away from the islands! Also, we’re less than a day from arriving at the magic 00 degrees, 00.000 minutes, AKA the EQUATOR, where my buddy Jeff Cook says he has arranged with the help of Stan Honey for a green line to be superimposed on the water, making it easy to find. For those who don’t know of Stan, he’s the genius who came up with the first down marker on the televised NFL fields, and, Stan is behind the whole sail mail system, and… well you should Google him. AND, Deb and I have now eclipsed our longest passage aboard Moonshadow with this passage. Our previous longest passage was the trip from Norfolk Virginia to Antiqua in the Caribbean. That was almost 9 days. This has been 11 now, and so far neither of us has actually booked a flight home upon our arrival, which is kinda cool.

Sorry if this is rambling, but we have time to ramble, not having FaceBook and all. In fact we could go on and on, but probably should save something for tomorrow’s post. Till then, just know that whatever you are doing, we’re here doing this.

Today’s picture is from last night’s sunset which was one of those that just got better and better.

All is well aboard Moonshadow!

John and Deb Rogers
SV Moonshadow

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