Monday, April 23, 2012

Nearing Land

> With just 100 miles to go to Hiva Oa in the Marquesas, we are facing
> another challenge...slowing "Blue Rodeo" down so as to make landfall
> during the daylight hours.  Entering a poorly lit and unfamiliar port at
> night is never a wise idea so we will be dragging our feet today and
> tonight so as to arrive at first light tomorrow, April, 24.  We are both
> anxious to be there, partially due to our excitement of seeing the
> beautiful scenery, smelling the exotic tropical fragrances and being able
> to go ashore for a leg-stretching walk and partially due to our desire to
> put an end to the constant, uncomfortable motion that we've been
> experiencing for many days.  We have little to complain about regarding
> this passage except that the sea conditions have remained unsettled with
> swells from several directions interacting to cause the surface of the
> waters around us to heave up and down unpredictably causing us to pitch,
> yaw and roll rather vigorously.  Often along this route, sailors
> experience long-period, large ocean swells that gently cause their vessels
> to rise and subside in a pleasant rhythm.  We've experienced conditions
> that make it impossible to move about the boat without hanging on with
> both hands and often, despite our best athletic efforts, we find ourselves
> careening off the walls and furniture.  Needless to say, meal preparation
> has been challenging due to the inability to set anything down on a flat
> surface without watching it slide across a counter top.  The motion,
> combined with the heat and humidity have reduced our dining options to
> just the basics.  We are also a bit "rummy" from lack of sleep and look
> forward to being at anchor where we can start to get caught up.
> Overall, the passage has gone very well.  We have had periods of heavy
> rain as we transitioned the Inter tropical Convergence Zone but
> thankfully, no lightning.   Winds have occasionally gusted into the 30
> knot range but have averaged in the teens.  We have managed to avoid the
> doldrums and have keep "Blue Rodeo" moving swiftly without ever having to
> use our motor.  Often, we have found ourselves staring in awe at the
> incredibly blue sea around us during the day and brilliant, star-filled
> sky above at night.  Many of the simple things about the passage have been
> immensely enjoyable.  For instance, the other day, while having lunch in
> the cockpit and basking in the Equatorial sun, we marveled at the immense,
> azure expanse around us taking time to appreciate the diverse shapes and
> textures of the scattered clouds in the sky.   As we dined on tuna
> sandwiches, carrots, apples and corn chips, we were being serenaded by our
> I-Tunes music library playing through our cockpit speakers and treated to
> artist David Gray's rendition of the beautiful song "Sail Away".   How
> appropriate!
> Mechanically, "Blue Rodeo" has held up well to the challenge of non-stop
> sailing for almost 3,000 miles.  We continue to be very pleased by what a
> safe and swift vessel she is.  We love our boat!
> In the next few hours, we will heighten our senses for detecting the first
> signs of land.  Often it is the sign of more birds in the sky or cloud
> development over the islands.  Sometimes it is the unmistakable smell of
> damp, fertile earth.  Before long, one of us will be the first to shout
> "Land ho!" and the final phase of this passage will begin

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