Pan-Pacific Adventure 21

Yesterday was fairly uneventful actually. We motor-sailed with a full
mainsail (and furled code 0) for most of the day to keep our average mileage
up but had to keep the RPM low to conserve diesel. Later in the afternoon
the persistent cloud cover, under which had been for some time, blew off
suddenly like a blanket being pulled out from under the sun – and what a sky
it left being. Roughly ZERO clouds and a radiantly blue sky whose horizon
seemed indistinct against the infinite azul of the sea. We were treated to
what has become known as a “High-Def” sunset (not just an AFSS). We all
stared, eagerly waiting to see the “green flash” that every sailor must one
day behold. Alas it was not our day. The moon rose in a most peculiar
fashion; being surrounded by a soft, pearly glow, which itself was
surrounded by an iridescent halo! It was uncanny. This morning I killed the
engine at 0500 and unfurled the code 0 which, to my great pleasure, brought
the boat speed up to 7 knots and once again silenced the grumbling volvo.

That is when something bizarre happened: During a sail change yesterday we
had steered the boat about and in the process fouled our trolling fishing
line in the rudder. There was no option but to cut it loose and bode
farewell to another fine lure… or so we thought. For late this morning I
hear the rousing call      from above: “FISH OOOON”! “What the hell are they
talking about?” I’m thinking as I stagger, somewhat reluctantly out of bed.
I am more than a little surprised to see a bloody tuna surfing 100 feet
behind us at 7 .5 knots! Turns out the line never freed itself and continued
to do its job. Lucky Luie strikes again! We were too tired and taken aback
to come up with a viable method for retrieving this thing, short of diving
(fuck that noise), and so were pleased to see the fish sort himself out of
the mess he had got himself into. The line however is still trailing behind
us and we would rather not talk about it anymore.

Of note:
Sighted grey or humpback whale at 1100 hrs breaching and blowing water off
our starboard beam! Powerful stuff

Pod of especially playful dolphins hung out with us for 20 minutes around
1400 hrs showcased all sorts of aerial prowess

Fog rolled in around sunset and yielding to a weird hunch I checked the
radar shortly after dinner. Sure enough, there was a vessel fine of
starboard 5 miles out! Turning on the radio we found he had been calling us
for a while. We confirmed speeds and both altered course to starboard. She
was the Oil Tanker “Kodiak” and though she passed our bow at less than 2
miles, we never saw each other visually – I hate the fog.

That aside we made some great sail handling calls today. We took down the
Code 0 right before a big squall hit and flew the big jib. Feeling over
powered shortly afterward we took a reef in on the mainsail. When it really
started to blow we did the big headsail change down to the small jib.
Throughout all of this we maintained the 8.5 knots that we are sailing at
now! Just goes to show that it’s all about the right amount of canvas. Now
even in 15-20 knots, with these swells changing the headsail is pretty
intense. Water pours over the bow and the wind flogs the sail so violently
one can hardly hold on as it comes down, let alone hear anything.
Furthermore, folding the slippery bastard on a wet, pitching fore-deck
angled at 25 degrees is a bit of a chore in itself. Anyways when the wind is
closer to 25 knots we will put in another reef and call it made, and at this
rate we will be at the Straits of Juan de Fuca by early morning on August

This incredible journey is nearing it’s inevitable end and I can scarcely
believe it.

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