Wednesday, April 19, 2017

2017 Pacific Puddle Jump (Day 11 to Day 20)

Day 11 - April 2nd

Yesterday was our best 24 hour run at 160 miles and we are past the 1/2 way mark!
The water is an inviting 81 degrees but we are waiting for our equatorial swim to test it out.
Haven't run the main engine in 6 days.   Today the spinnaker came out at 10 in the morning and have been flying it all day.  The seas are down to 4 to 5 feet at the stern and less confused.

As we close in on the ITCZ we see huge clouds but haven't experienced the big rains or squalls that come with them yet.  I am getting good satellite image data at it looks like we were able to avoid a big cell last night.

The outhaul fix is still holding and I expect it to be fine for the rest of the trip.

We got two surprises today.  The first was a flying fish that flew or flopped into the main cabin sometime last night.  Flying fish appear to be the only fish in this area of the Pacific.  Second was Tom's computer.  His hard drive crashed.  There was much debugging today that will continue tomorrow.

Mushu pork for dinner!  (no we will not eat flying fish)

Evening dinner in a bowl

Day 12 -  April 3rd

Shindig bested our daily run at 163 miles yesterday.  We got a lot of miles on the spinnaker for sure.
Squalls and electrical storms kept us busy last night starting at 0200.  This afternoon we sailed in and out of the rain and watched Cool Hand Luke in the afternoon.  The movie choice was inspired by a discussion of the most famous movie lines of all time.  Sylvia has wikipedia on her computer so we can be informed on such trivia.  You wouldn't believe how much we have referenced it.  Can you guess the famous line from Cool Hand Luke?

We have experienced a significant wind shift to the SE from the NE.  It is too early to tell but we might be on the South end of the ITCZ now.  We are close reaching in 14 knots of wind and it is pissing rain.  Weather models predict little wind for the next few days.  The D-sail might be coming out soon.

Kite up and making tracks

Day 13 - April 4th

It is 1:00 am LaPaz time and I'm just now getting around to doing email and position reporting.
I've only had success getting connected to stations in Hawaii and yesterday one was down an the other was "propagationaly  challenged" when I was trying to connect.  We are talking about changing the ships time... but just talking about it.

The seascape is dramatic in the ITCZ.  Huge towering cloud banks are all around.  Some are very high and have towering offshoots.  Others are low and dark, ready to drop a load of rain.  The rainy clouds are visible on radar too and we can get a sense of how big they are and how much rain they carry.  It is nice to be able to anticipate their intensity then you can choose to move out of the way or just get wet.

Our 24 hour run was 117 miles. (4.7 knot average)

We sail when squalls produces enough wind to sail at >3.5 knots.  Otherwise the D-sail is deployed (last 12 hours).  We have also observed adverse current in spots.  0.5 to 1.0 against us in the area of 6N to 4N

Shindig is aiming to cross the equator at 133W

Tom made a fishing flasher and noise maker out of Topo Chico bottles.  With this secret weapon deployed we are hope to catch.... Something!

Thanks for all the comments on the Cool Hand Luke quote.  "What we have here is a failure to communicate" was the famous quote.  Other winners from the movie.  "This is the way he wants it.  This is the way he gets it."  and "you got your mind right?"  Try to work these into your day today.

Shindig out.

JD getting some more practice with the sextant

Fashioned a twing out of a few snatch blocks

First of many squalls.  Yes, that is 5:20 in the morning.

Is it raining?  Only Sylvia seems happy about it.

Double Rainbow!

Repairing the dousing collar after it came apart during a night-time sail change.

Tom's hard disk crashed.  He and JD are noodling through the problem.

Day 11 - April 5th

Last night we motored at "fuel saver" speed toward the equator.  Watches were easy and everyone was well rested this morning.
The night sky was clear and the 1/2 moon set behind clouds on the horizon on my 2-5 watch.  Jupiter was over head and the Southern Cross rotated from its side to the 12:00 position during the night.   Incredible night sky with stars horizon to horizon.

At 9:00 we took a break from the passage and got off the boat.  We jumped into 80 degree water that was 11,000 ft deep.    For an hour we splashed around the boat and hung onto the safety line.  Tom and JD found many Come Jellys.   Back on board Shindig, a trip to our local copy of wikipedia detailed all the interesting facts about this Ctenophore.

The wind picked up a bit by noon and the spinnaker has been up since then.  We are making 4.0 to 5.5 knots toward the equator.

Today I fixed a leaking chainplate on the port side.  In doing so I discovered than several of my sealants had spoiled and were not usable.

This is our 13th day on passage from the tip of Baja and the 16th day onboard since our LaPaz departure.
Tomorrow we cross the equator.  Two pollywogs will become shellbacks.

JD having fun diving with the safety line

Great visibility

More fixing....  finished up re-caulking a chain plate that was leaking

Day 15 - April 6th

The winds did not materialize for our equator crossing today.  We were able to sail through the night with 4.0 to 5.0 knots of boat speed but at dawn the wind backed off and did not return.   We are in the doldrums.  So we wait.... And watch and movie.... And go swimming... And do boat maintenance.

Eventually we turn on the motor and start making our way to the equator and just around dinner time the wind arrives and the spinnaker goes up.
Right now we are making 6.5 knots and should be at 00N in the morning!  Our crossing will be between 133W and 134W Longitude.

New sailing configuration for DDW

Day 16 - April 7th

A special report.  Shindig has left the Northern Hemisphere!
She is accompanied by 4 shellback, two of them just so.

At 8:17 AM we crossed the equator at 133 27.859 West

There was much celebration.  Care packages from Nancy and Elaine for the crew were opened. (full of treats and treasures)
We dressed up to honor Neptune and champagne was offered to appease the ruler of the sea.  Our offering was accepted and we were allowed to pass.  Surrogate Neptune Tom, inducted the slimy Polywogs, Rob and JD, into the mysteries of the deep.  A few choice words and wave of the magic snorkel and it was done.... Shellbacks.

Following the grog and photos JD and I jumped over the side and located the equatorial rope below the surface.  It is a little different than the you see on globes and charts.  1/2 nylon three strand.  Who knew.

Sylvia capped off the morning with apple pancakes and bacon.

We have wind and are speeding toward the Marquesas at 8 knots with the spinnaker up.  2131 miles down and 624 to go.

Any day with bacon is special but today was extra special!

"Puddle Jumper" branded beer near the equator! And... Tom drew a map on me!

It is getting silly

Crossed the Equator

An offering to Neptune

Team Shindig

Gifts for Shellbacks - little turtles

And scrubbies to get clean!

More goody gifts from Nancy opened at the equator!

Celebration is in order

Capain Shellback getting serious

Is that the equatorial line?

Yep, found it

Rob and JD swimming at the equator

Day 16 - April 7th

With our equatorial victory behind us, Shindig is pressing on the final 600 miles to the Marquesas.
Afternoon sailing was amazing with the asymmetrical spinnaker up for 10 hours.  Beam reaching in 12 to 15 knots of wind resulted in high average speeds.  The boat motion was a bit herky jerky as we punched though confused swells and wind chop.  This evening we have 8 to 10 knots on the beam and mild squalls.

Weather gribs indicate sailing wind for the next 36 hours and then we become a motor boat.  We expect on and off squall activity for the remainder of the trip.

Today our friends on Pangaea and Tumbleweed are expected to cross the equator!  Hurray!
Based on the boats I know to be on passage that check into the Pacific Puddle Jump radio net, the three of us will be the next Mexico based Puddle Jumpers to arrive in the Marquesas.

Tom has been doing deck and rig inspections daily.  Earlier in the trip he found screws backing out of the gooseneck.    Fixed with threadlock.  Disaster averted.  Two days ago he found one missing ring-ding on a lifeline retention pin.  Without the ring-ding it was a matter of time before the lifeline would have detached from one end.  I'm glad we found these things before they became a real problems.  Don't think that Shindig is falling apart.  This is expected when you cram a years worth of normal sailing into three weeks.

Carnitas tacos for dinner.

Ships time was changed to Marquesan time.   UTC - 9.5 hours.  I need to know where the .5 hour came from.

Sunset in the ITCZ

Day 17 - April 8

Our 24 hour run that began at 7:30am local (just before crossing the equator) was 158 nautical miles.

We took down the kite at 8:30PM and had a more conservative sail plan for the evening.
One good size squall visited on Tom's 8:00 PM to 11:00 PM watch and we were glad to have reduced sail.  There is a welcome 1.0 knot current helping us here.

At the end of my watch we spotted a large fishing vessel that crossed our bow 2 miles ahead.  This is the first boat we have seen since traversing the shipping lanes off Baja more than 2000 miles ago.

JD and I put the spinnaker up at dawn today and we flew it 15 hours until the wind and sea state slowed progress to 3.0 knots and we were not able to sail a good course to Nuka Hiva.

The wind has been much more North East than East.   This angle means we have to sail a dead run to the Marquesas and in this confused sea state that is too hard on gear in light wind.

So we are motoring at 5.3 knots with 400 miles to go.

Nothing broke since my last position report!

Pangaea crossed the equator last night (4/9) as did Tumbleweed!  Add five more shellbacks to the roster.

The Shindig Cineplex featured Moana last night and the crew enjoyed chicken mole.

Day 18 - April 9th

140 miles to report in the last 24 hours.  16 hours was sailing and then we had to fire up the iron oar.
The wind is predicted to be < 10 knots and squally for the final 300 miles.

At this moment we have an unpredicted 18 knots from the East and we are hauling ass at 7+ knots down the course.
The radar is on the 12 mile range and there are 4 different rain events around us.

We had many squalls today but they were not of the violent variety.  We'd get maybe 10 to 12 knots of wind and big drops for 5 or 10 minutes.

This morning we inspected our main outhaul fix from a week ago.  It was holding up well but there was some chafe that needed to be addressed.  We replaced the Spectra lashing with a metal shackle and now the fix is bomber.

Dinner.  Cold noodle salad with shredded beef and oyster sauce.

Looking serious during maneuvers

Day 19 - April 10th

Last night I reported that the unpredicted wind came up.  In the early evening it picked up to 15 or so and then we sailed into a giant squall.  It was 40 miles wide and we popped out into a clearing sky on my 2 to 5 AM watch.  All watches got wet but we made good progress.

We use radar to see squalls from a distance.  You can get a good idea of their intensity and where they are going.  When you are "involved" in a  squall the radar doesn't do anything for you.  It can only cut through the rain so far.  You can't see the edges.  When we entered this big one last night we didn't think it would take 8 hours to get through it.

Today the winds backed off at dawn and we motored until 4:00 PM at fuel economy speeds.

Now the wind is back and we are making 7.1 knots toward the Marquesas.

All day we witness huge clouds gathering strength and we wonder which ones will track us down at night.  We expect to be "involved" with weather again tonight.

Two more nights at sea.  We plan to arrive in Nuka Hiva Wednesday morning!

We are starting to notice more bird life out here.
Still no fish.

Today I finally lowered the Mexican courtesy flag.

Hand Ho!

Day 20  - April 11th

At 21:11 on 4/11, Shindig and her crew have arrived and are anchor down at Nuka Hiva!  The full moon illuminated the anchorage for easy navigation.  The floral smell of the island was strong 1 mile off shore.

This has been an amazing passage with an outstanding crew.  As we enjoyed another one of Sylvia's galley creations we all reflected on some of the highlights.

Swimming in the open ocean, experiencing the vast ITCZ and its big bully squalls, endless spinnaker sailing, a double green flash and the wonder of in mast furling.

We are celebrating our achievement with some nice tequila and jelly beans.

Thanks for tuning in on our South Pacific passage.

Shindig, anchor down at Nuka Hiva

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