Thursday, April 15, 2010

Day 14 Busted Through!

Latitude: 00 Degrees, 19.3 minutes N
Longitude: 128 Degrees 41.6 Minutes W

We have busted through the ITCZ. We are currently sailing in about 17 knots of breeze, with a boat speed from 7 to 8 knots. Our compass hading is 200 degrees but there is a strong current setting us to the East so our actual Course Over Ground is 215 degrees magnetic.

Sailing, or I should really say motoring, through the ITCZ was interesting. Seldom did we not have wind. There were a couple of few hour stretches where the water got completely glassy because of no wind. Even more interesting is we really didn't get much rain. We actually sailed in blue sunny skies most of the time. Our friends on Totem described it as being in a bubble. All around the Horizon are large ominous squall clouds, but where we were was Blue sky and Hot! So we motored for 1.5 days and yesterday, turned off the motor and started sailing in winds of about 7 knots. The wind has steadily built and Ironically we have seen more squalls today then we did in the ITCZ.

Last night we had torpedoes following the boat. Well actually it was Dolphins. But they looked like torpedoes. I'm sure many of our readers have experienced bioluminescence which is small critters in the water giving off sparkles of light when they are disturbed. As the dolphins swam along side the boat they gave off and erie sparkling glow leaving a trail of glowing water. Tim and I spent some time on the bow watching this mezmerizing sight. I tried to wake PJ to see, but she was out for the count.

My Father in law asked that I say something on why we are taking the route we we have. You can basically break this trip into three parts. The first leg is from PV to where you target as your crossing spot for the ITCZ. Second is crossing the ITCZ itself. Third is the final leg to the finish. When we left the forecast was for decent sailing breeze for the first two days. Then it was supposed to die for a day and start to fill in. The wind was going to be stronger the further west you went so we struck out on a course to go west. Wind direction paid a part as we could not sail directly west initially because of the wind direction. As it happened our course took us by two Islands, Socorro and Clarion. Once we were in the wind we were able to sail a more SW course and head for the ITCZ.

You don't want to cross the ITCZ to early as the width tends to be larger and in general the winds light. So we struck out to cross somewhere near 127 degrees west latitude. Without getting too technical, we also sailed a course that would allow us to take advantage of a wind shift more to the East. The wind shift did occur and we jibed the sails and headed S. We ended up crossing the ITCZ at about 126 degrees latitude. It worked great! So far that is. Now we are heading to the Marquesas. Initially we kept a more Southerly course because more wind is forecast that direction. well, we have plenty of wind so we've turned the boat on a course that makes hay to the islands.

On the docket for dinner tonight is white chicken chili. This recipe is from our good friend Amy Martin. PJ pre-cooked while on land. Yum!

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