May 31, 2011

Sailing in Cat Country

We've been averaging 7 knots this trip, 8 knots overnight, which is fast for a 40' boat, and it's not even that uncomfortable. It's not actually easy though--walking around is a bit like wearing flippers on the beach. Actually, moving around is a lot like wearing dive gear (cold weather dive gear) on the surface. I feel awkward and cumbersome and I keep careening into walls.

It feels like having just spent 19-days doing this (not to mention 4 days in a squally anchorage) that there should be some sort of credit given for miles done. I shouldn't have to revert back to Beginner Sea Legs 101 at the start of every voyage... Ideally I'd like to enter into this whole thing around day 4--where I'm still steeped in the wonder of it all but can prance around like a cat while whipping up gourmet meals. Instead I'm nursing bruises, and the vertigo that accompanies my seasickness meant I couldn't even focus on the stars last night (although I did notice they were so bright they lit up the ocean and the little squall we passed through) and meals consist of whichever tins I grab (mmmmmm, not, says Maia)...

Speed wise, if we can hold the low sevens, we'll arrive at Makemo in time for the afternoon slackwater tomorrow. Which is fairly exciting. We had planned for 4 nights and 3 days of sailing. With the assumption we'd make 150 mile days--which we've proven we do reliably. And although our first day was that sort of distance we've since accelerated... I don't mind the thought of an extra night at sea, but I really like the idea of flat, clear water sooner vs later. Entering coral atolls is serious stuff though--these little low-lying islands are difficult to see and the passes into them can run with very strong currents. Once you are inside the coral reefs the risks don't end--you need enough light to see and avoid barely awash coral heads and to keep from anchoring in a coral patch.

But clear flat water... That holds such appeal. The idea of not having to plan out, in advance, the steps required to refill my cup of coffee makes me giddy with joy. Especially because despite my efforts to keep the milk from hurtling itself out of the fridge when I open it, or the coffee from missing my cup when I pour I know at some point a wave will hit and I'll lurch and spill. I may just imagine drinking coffee while sitting here imagining coral atolls...

S 13 23
W 142 10
Distance sailed in 41 hours: 282
Distance to go: 209

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