Thursday, May 8, 2014

May 8 Position Report

5/8/14 Wandering Dolphin POS

12:00 GMT
10 00.44 N  093 27.17 W
COG 270T
SOG 1.5kt

Wind: NNW4-5
Current: -1kt easterly
Pressure: 29.65
Seas: less than 1ft
Sky: partly cloudy, squalls all around

Motor: off
Sails: main and genoa set but not drawing

Good Morning,

Let's get the weather stuff out of the way first.  Yesterday the wind was light 6-8 from the north and we were able to sail at 3.5 to 4 knots through the day.  Several times through the day squalls would march over us dropping huge amounts of rain, which was good for our water situation.  They would also boost our speed for an hour sometimes though a couple of them had no wind just lots of rain.  Because of the cloudy skies and no wind our solar and wind gen. were obviously useless so around 4:00pm we kicked on the engine and began to motor and charge the batteries.  We motored until about 2:00am and then went back to sailing at 2-3 knots.

When I came up for my 4:00am watch and relieved EmilyAnne there was no wind and we were just drifting along at 1kt.  The sky was TOTALLY dark. There was no moon up and I couldn't see anything.  Emily had just gone below and I was looking out the unzipped dodger window when suddenly the sea exploded all around the boat!  Huge splashes erupted on both sides of the boat so close that water splashed on deck and it continued in a circle farther out!   Because it was so dark and so calm everywhere there was a splash the sea erupted in a bright green firework display of phosphorescence.  Suddenly I heard the sound of huge breaths being taken all around the boat!  It was a pod of humpback whales who must have been sleeping on the surface and Wandering Dolphin, sailing so slowly and quietly, had ghosted in among them and woke them up suddenly.  I called out to the family sleeping below and soon we had everyone up in the cockpit watching the firework show drift away behind us.  I remember watching the scene in "The Life of Pi" where the whales came up around the raft in the phosphorescence and thinking how unlikely that was... Not so, people - we just experienced that and although the show brightened it up a bit it was close enough and it was REAL!

While we were still mesmerized by the whales my crew girl EmilyAnne again lived up to her reputation as she noticed the wind shift suddenly from the north to the SW and grow cold.  She said, "Hey Dad, cold wind shift, time to reef."   I admit, I was so into what was happening with the whales that I missed it.  I quickly replied, "You got it Baby, let's do it."  Rebecca grabbed the flashlight and we pulled the genoa in all the way and then reefed and gybed the main.  By the time we had the reefed main gybed over the wind was blowing 25 and increasing.  EmilyAnne is the bomb,  she has saved my bacon at least 3 times in the past 3 years with her calls for a reef and I learned a long time ago not to question them, I just reef.

When it was all over and we had the reefed jib out as well and the lines put back in order I looked at my watch and it was 4:40am.  All of that happened in 40 minutes!  We went from boredom and extreme calm to excitement with whales and a BIG squall including a 180 wind shift in 40 minutes in the deep of night.  That, my friends, is offshore sailing for you!

While I write this the sun has just come up and we are again just drifting along slowly and calmly.  Our fuel situation is still OK but we have a LONG way to go yet and I choose to conserve it at this point.  We are getting close to an area with some helpful current and hopefully a bit more consistent wind.  This is one of the toughest things to do out here, to just wait and be patient, knowing that the wind will come.  Had we been motoring, or even sailing along fast last night we would have scared those whales away long before we drifted into them and we would have missed a great show.

Yesterday the boys had no charge on their electronics so after school they played cards and Legos.

Iridium Messages:

Aline:  I offered the kids a piece of my special candy if they could figure out at least two words in your word association game.  That kept them busy for at least two hours and you would not believe the laughter that erupted around the boat as they came up with nonexistent words and tried to convince us that they were real words!  Also your Hollywood gossip was appreciated by the girls.  Thank You!
Herman:  Your historical facts were very enjoyable to share and prompted a lot of discussions... The one on Harry Houdini really was fun to explain as somehow in my homeschooling I had completely missed Harry Houdini in my history lessons.  Kanyon is studying the Civil War right now so the Fact from there was one he noticed.
Caveman News Network:  Wow!  You took that request seriously.  Thanks a ton if you could do that every couple or three days that would be super nice.
The Twins:  Thanks for the new riddle, we may need hints.
Jim V.  We can't wait to hear the answer to the pirate riddle!

You all really have no idea how much we enjoy your messages!  Thank You sooooooo much!

What we are eating: Yesterday we had,
Breakfast: cereal (sshhhhh Tofer had an egg on an English Muffin on the sly!)
Lunch:  (here's one to take note of LOL) Beck made a new thing, cabbage, spam chunks, fruit cocktail, dried ramen noodles, all mixed up in a bowl with teriyaki sauce.  Beck loved it, I was indifferent, the kids about choked on it.  On day 28 it would probably be a HUGE hit.
Supper: Tacos!   Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

Thanks Again For Sharing This Experience With Us!
Captain Tofer, Beck, Ems, Kan, Kaleb, Ben


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