148* 31.0' West
July 28, 2010
Well, here we are again . . . . . traversing the ITCZ (or ITCZed, as our friend Andrew likes to refer to it) . . . . . The Inter Tropical Convergence Zone or in the olden days . . . . . the Doldrums. Today, weather forecasting computer models can pretty accurately predict the movement of this unstable band that circles the earth expanding and contracting between about 10* North and 10* South. Weather conditions inside the band can consist of squalls and/or no wind at all. The models are showing it to be just finishing an expansion phase with the expectation of contraction to happen over the next 24 hours, meaning that the northern edge of the zone should be moving towards us as we continue north. On our previous trip through the ITCZ, we did see a few squalls and light winds with all but the fewest of sprinkles missing us. Not so this time. Yesterday after hoisting the chute for a couple of hours and watching a few squalls pass in front of us, a large one set itself directly in our path. We did not pass in front of the leading edge where there can be a period of increased wind, but rather after dousing the spinnaker, we entered from the side just behind the leading where the heaviest rain activity can be seen. Suffice to say that the boat is now cleaned of salt and so are Brad and I. The air temperature is still quite pleasant, so we took advantage of the heavy rain and showered! The ocean swell has remained very gentle and we were able to have tacos (think: lots of ingredients awaiting assembly on a not so stationary counter, hence the infamous "one dish meals" that we have been consuming of late) last night without incident. It was a treat. Since we have been able to open hatches without so much fear of rogue waves pouring in through them, Bryce took the opportunity to bake us a batch of cookies. As much as our sailor ancestors dreaded the doldrums, we are very contently motoring our way through them, enjoying the break from the pitching, heaving and heel of life while sailing fast!