Day 21 & Day 22
Again – nothing broke and we are sailing beautifully along. We have only one more night before we arrive.
We check-in regularly to the Pacific Puddlejump SSB radio net every evening. It is customary to report your position, course, speed and wind speed and direction. The net controllers keep record so that in the event something happens there is some inkling of where you might be. (I am Net Controller on Tuesday nights... I don't do it more often because someone has to steer while the SSB is on – some whacky ferrite problem!) It is also nice to hear other voices and learn the progress (or sometimes not!) of the individual boats as they traverse the longest ocean crossing... together, but so alone and so far apart. We were within VHF radio communications with another sailboat over 2 weeks ago for about 15 hours. Then we passed them until finally we were out of range. Since then, we have seen no other boats at sea and we have heard no other boats on the VHF radio.
Jim and I are reading Herman Melville's TYPEE, a sailor's account of the Marquesas in 1842 and his haphazard escape from a whaling ship's tyrannical captain into the welcoming arms of a lip-smacking cannibalistic tribe, thus 'Typee' or "gourmandizers of human flesh". What thrills me most about Melville's descriptions are the crossing on the Pacific Ocean almost 175 years ago – very similar to our experience.
"The sky presented a clear expanse of the most delicate blue, except along the skirts of the horizon, where you might see a thin drapery of pale clouds which never varied their form or colour. The long, measured, dirge-like well of the Pacific came rolling along, with its surface broken by little tiny waves, sparkling in the sunshine. Every now and then a shoal of flying fish, scared from the water under the bows, would leap into the air, and fall the next moment like a shower of silver into the sea."
Other than the flying fish and the Skipjack Tuna we almost caught a day or so ago, we have seen no other sea life – maybe a small bird, too far away to identify. No whales, no dolphins, no sea turtles – and thankfully, no more boobies.
We will have to slow the boat down later this evening, as we plan to anchor down in the morning light of the 23rd day in Hiva Oa. We have a bottle of champagne chilled in the ice box and prime rib thawing so we can plop it on the grill for our celebration dinner. Some mashed potatoes and the last of the refrigerated carrots along with a handful of dried cranberries will make nice accompaniments. Carolyne has dibs on the remaining lemons; she wants to make a fruity "Land Ho!" dessert. We are so excited!!
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