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Like Lake Sailing

October 7, 2011

Day 9

Local Noon Position–
By GPS: 01.26.19S by 146.38.34W
By Sextant: 01.34.9S by 146.38S

Celestial Nav Note: Excellent longitude, again, but I couldn’t find the sun’s precise direction for the noon latitude shot. As with yesterday, I could spin around and see the sun from all angles. This should ease in the next day or two as we, the sun and Murre, diverge. I tried an afternoon sun/moon shot for a fix, and got an excellent longitude, but the moon says I’m at 0.23N, which is wishful thinking, even for the moon.

Course: 10 degrees true
Speed: 3.4 knots
Wind: 7 E
Sea: 2 – 4 E
Sky: 0% Utterly open sky at moment.
Bar: 1012
Temp: 78 degrees

Since last noon: 98
Total for passage: 952
Daily Average: 119

Disappointing mileage, but while winds are easing these last two days our counter current is not. Murre’s over water speed is pretty good, averaging a little above five knots; not so much over the ground. We’re really bucking the tide, as it were.

It makes sense that we will sail out of the trades at some point, but I was hoping to follow them further north than this. The ITCZ and potentially the doldrums are at 5N, which is still some 400 miles off. I had thought the trades would extend closer to their edge. Only time will tell.

Still, it is lovely weather, and for days now has been like gentle lake sailing on a summer afternoon. An enjoyable cruise.

The fish fried up with leftover potatoes and cabbage last night. Leftover boiled cabbage, I’ve decided, is not a human food. Sitting out in a pan for a day, it turns to gray mush. That in combination with some purple yams bought in Raiatea which became terribly bitter left in the same pan meant dinner was not of record success, even with fresh fish on the menu.

Lunch, however, was. I bought tortillas at a small grocery in Raiatea, a delicacy not found since leaving Mexico, and broke them today out for fish tacos. The last tomato I consumed yesterday and the last cabbage I had wished to use fresh was looking a bit furry, so the tacos were just fish and hot sauce, but what a treat.

The package said it contained “Tortillas de Ble”, and, fun as they were, *ble* is the best word to describe them. I would say that Claude Leger of Belgique, the manufacturer, is due a trip to Mexico so that he can learn about the oily unctuousness of this food. His were flat and white and round and lifeless. Still, they weren’t two week old baguette. So, lunch was a big success.

Finally discovered the source of the oily leak into the bilge, and it was a punctured engine oil bottle right under my nose the whole time. I’d had all the bottles out two days ago, but the hole was small and escaped my notice. That much, at least, is a relief. Not quite dry enough at the bow to have a go at calking the leaks there.

Three Tropic Birds have visited in the last two days, flown some fifty feet above the masts for a few minutes and then off. And I’m wondering if they aren’t the same bird each time. None of the three have had tails.


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