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Departing Clarion

May 1, 2011

Position: 18.29.50N by 114.51.785W
Course: 230
Speed: 6.2 kn
Wind 12 to 15 NNE
Waves: 8 to 10 feet
Sky: no cloud
temp: 69*
Bar: 1012

132 miles made good since last noon.

We departed Clarion Island at 1330 hours, taking it 10 miles to port, a smoky silhouette that was much larger than I expected. Strange to see land after three days. Stranger to think that is the last of it we will see for the next 2000 miles or more.

Spent the morning fine tuning Murre’s sails and the vane so that we can take a course of 230 degrees true in what is now a northeasterly. Am under full jib pulled in as if we are on a beam’s reach, reefed main and reefed mizzen, the former to keep it from popping as Murre slides off the wave’s backside and the latter to keep it from overpowering the vane. Better balance now, but I’m amazed we can achieve balance at all in such boisterous seas. The scene is beautiful on deck, great, happy sapphire beasts with white beards people the ocean; they splash aboard now and then to say hello. Waves are much less shy than birds. But below is like a rodeo. Hang on every second or be gored by the table and thrown into the galley.

And watch out for those coffee grounds. Two mornings in a row now I’ve spilled wet coffee grounds all over the counter top as the boat upset itself to port. Once I can forgive, but twice? Where’s the instant coffee?

Strange fish in the water earlier. I could see it a mere foot below and surfing the waves in our general direction, but what was it? It appeared to be bigger than a dolphin, and at first I thought it was a very large tuna on its side, but think maybe it was a beaked whale of some sort. I hoped it would surf into Murre’s wake, but it did not.

And numerous birds. Whole gatherings of Shearwaters (Bullars or Mottled or Cook’s Petrel, I can’t tell), bat winged Leache’s Storm Petrel, Masked Boobies, even a Red Billed Tropic Bird that circled Murre a few times, screeched once and flew away, and one Common Tern.

Raised Rani and Chris of LADYBUG last night on the radio. They are anchored in the extreme north of the Sea of Cortez and hunkered down as a storm blows over. Each night I check into one of the local Single Sideband Networks with my position, course, and speed. Rani and Chris had been monitoring and hailed me soon after. Such a pleasure to talk to them, and yet somehow it heightened the sense of isolation.

One Comment
  1. Florence Dodington permalink
    May 1, 2011 11:53 pm

    RR – You aren’t alone…we are following your progress with great interest, and I am sure there are many others who are doing so as well. I recently have had a Great Kiskadee in our Martindale yard. I think it is nesting, but have only seen one at a time…but for over about a week at least. Then we went away, and I haven’t seen it since.


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