August 20, 2011

Are We There Yet? Passage to Fiji

We're underway to Fiji. The wind is light and slightly ahead of the beam and we're making 5.5 knots. The thing is we want to be making closer to 7 knots in the hope of outrunning a system that is due to hit and build during our last night and final day out. We want to get in early in the morning before things get really ugly--so the faster we go now, the less exposure we get at the end... So we're experimenting: putting up the staysail only offered up .5 knots, so now Ev is rigging the spinnaker. Flying a big kite will make us much faster, but it'll be tricky to carry when we're pointing this high upwind. It will need constant trimming and I'm on watch.

It might strike you that I write about being at sea as much as I write about the places we see. This is because we spend a lot of time sailing. During the past 4+ months since we left Mexico we're spent more than 40 days and nights at sea. We really are 'sailing' across the South Pacific. We spend more time sailing than we do in any one place. And when we are parked in a place much of our time is spent watching the weather--trying to plan how to get from A to B between systems. And during this section of the passage we've been strategising two or three stops ahead; contemplating highs and lows, systems and sheerlines and their speed and direction of movement with the same intense focus some people apply to sports and that I usually reserve for politics...

The rhythm of passages is coming more naturally now. I fall asleep as soon as I get off watch and spend my on watch hours reading, doing chores, listening to podcasts or contemplating the vastness of the ocean. It really is big. Having only short breaks between long passages seems to make the passages more enjoyable. I'm not sure I've ever recaptured the intense awe of our Pacific Crossing, but I've been enjoying the days and nights at sea the way I enjoy a leisurely Sunday afternoon. When it's pleasant that is, when it sucks, it sucks. And I want off the boat.

Weather willing we'll be in Fiji on Monday.

S 18 20
W 175 31
Distance to Savu Savu 325 miles

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