Wednesday, June 25, 2008

7:39 PDT 31 42.7 N Lat 15638.4 W Long Distance to go to Neah Bay: 1754 miles

From Captain Brad:
HI all from the good ship Capaz. Kurt sums up the day thus far. So read on for his update. Life has truly settled in as we get more relaxed and in tune with the boat. We have been motoring for something like 30 hours and will likely be doing so for at least another 24. Even though there is no wind, there is swell and it is coming from multiple directions causing the sea to undulate rising occasionally a few feet up in miniature temporary peaks. My routine is to get up around 6am and get some coffee, check the boat out and then do the weather. This takes up to 2 hours. After that, I'll have some breakfast. If I'm short on sleep, I'll take a nap (which I did today). After the nap, it has typically been troubleshooting boat stuff, which Brian played a large part in today (details below). Then, I have typically washed the dishes and as a reward for doing so, have treated myself to another episode or two of 24, Season 3. I just finished watching episodes 4pm to 5pm and 5pm to 6pm. I should finish the series before we finish [he thinks he's racing]. It's a lazy day today with the motor on. It will be nice to go sailing again, but will have to wait another day. The good news right now is every mile traveled will be towards where we want to go.
PS The closest land is over 500 miles away, unless of course you count straight down.

From Kurt:
May the 26th of June 2008 be forever known as Brian Day and henceforth be celebrated annually.
With the Yanmar main engine and Northern Lights genset acting very much like they were starved for fuel, Brian decided to take things into his own hands. Actually, he said something to Brad to the effect of “can we stop motoring for three minutes so I can check something." It took a little longer than three minutes, but in the end the problem was found and solved. Air in the filters indicated there was a leak somewhere in the system, and close examination revealed that to be at the fuel lift pump. Soon we were under way again.
The genset proved a little more difficult. With wise foresight, Brad had procured an extra fuel filter for the genset. There were, however, two other filters ahead of the genset in the system, so the likelihood of that being the problem didn’t seem that much. But the closer Brian looked, the more likely it seemed. “Just” a fuel filter. Just a fuel filter that had probably been there since the genset was made in 1994 or 95. It didn’t budge with any combination of filter wrenches and hands. Proving that he can be brutal as well as methodical, Brian stuck a screwdriver through the filter body, and voile, the filter budged (as well as a bit of diesel into the lazerette). Off with the old and on with the new. Genset and engine are both now very happy in their work.
More bright news. Brad was nearly giddy after seeing this morning’s GRIBs (weather modeling files). If they’re correct, we may be able to lock into the “Great Circle Route” from here on in. That means no going out of our way for better winds, they’ll come to us exactly where we want to be. We’ll still have to motor for a couple days, but that was expected. Brad wasn’t fully convinced that this will pan out, but he was acting a bit like a kid who found out he was getting just what he wanted for Christmas.
We were accompanied by a small albatross for a while. He (she?) flew alongside and over with occasional wanderings ahead. He was nice company and even did a flyby for photos. The other wildlife of note are vellela vellela, little jellyfish that literally have sails and sail along the water surface. These ones are on starboard tack. Apparently there are others on port tack elsewhere in the world. Do the port tackers give way? If they do not, are there special jellyfish protests? Is there some kind of on-the-water judging by water snakes?
The Pacific is indeed passive today. It’s as glasslike here as it ever is on Puget Sound or Lake Michigan, and that’s really saying something. It’s beautiful out here and the vastness of the ocean is sobering. So is the presence of garbage. So far it has been bits and pieces, but there should be none.
Eric back-flipping into the Pacific
Brian, Eric and Kurt went swimming. Brad dutifully reminded us that Lemon Sharks and Makos are pretty fast swimmers. And to tell the truth, I’m pretty sure all three of us were aware just how vulnerable you feel IN THE MIDDLE OF THE OCEAN. Remind me never to fall overboard. It was a great swim and a chance for crew to soap up and rinse off with fresh water on the swim step. Skipper had already cleaned up before and was quite happy to stay out of the water.
Capaz’ diesels continue to purr like kittens. Well, noisy kittens. Bravo Brian!

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