April 19, 2011

Sail to the South Pacific-Day 10: Halfway There

We're headed due south across the ITCZ. We hadn't expected to turn south yet--our plan had been to continue to skirt the edge of the zone, moving southwest, then make a dash across it when conditions looked good. But the ITCZ had a different plan and moved itself north over top us, so considering we were already in it, it made sense to start south.

Last night, as the sun set, and we finished up dinner (pasta with lots of fresh tomatoes that were well on their way to becoming overripe tomatoes) we were surrounded by squalls. It felt like a game of pig in the middle: we had clear circle of sky above us but grey storm clouds menaced us from 360 degrees. After putting all our electronics into the oven (a low-tech Faraday cage) I went to bed knowing we had a long night of dodge squall in our future.

I woke a few hours later and found Evan outside--simply standing in the breeze. Above us the moon was full and the sky was clear--ahead the Southern Cross burned clean and bright, astern the only constellation visible in the moon-bright sky was the Big Dipper. The waves were smooth and glowing, and the wind was warm when Evan slipped his arm around me. I stood for a bit, leaning against him, recalling other moonlit passages and other sightings of the Southern Cross. We whispered about the beauty as we sped along in flat seas and light wind, "But where did the ITCZ go?" I asked. Evan shrugged. It was enough that it was gone and we had the gorgeous night.

This morning we have squalls all around us again. It's as though the clear night never happened. But we're still sailing at over 6 knots in so little wind the waves barely ripple. It's lovely and gentle out here. I imagine we have a few more squalls in our future--the ITCZ tends to be a few hundred miles wide and we're clearly not done yet. But after yesterday's rains the boat is cleaner than it's been in a year. I'm glad I never bothered scrubbing it too much before we left.

We've come over 1480 miles now and are more than halfway. We gave Maia a little halfway gift of glitter and neon pens and she's busy making charts so the Easter Bunny can find her this weekend. our fruits and veggies are still going strong-but I tossed the last avocado and some of our oranges have gone bad. Yesterday's run (as we dodged squalls and went through calms) was only 140 miles.
N 6 14 W 124 08

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