Day 207, Year 1: Rescue at Sea for Procyon–Day 21
Date: Friday, May 12, 2006
Weather: Blue Skies Dotted with Puffy White Clouds (just doesn’t change)
Air Temperature: 84 degrees F
Water Surface Temperature: 81 degrees F
Latitude: 10 degrees 18 minutes S
Longitude: 134 degrees 48 minutes W
Location: Passage from Galapagos to the Marquesas, Day 21
Miles to Go: 238 (~112 miles last 24 hours)
Miles to Date: 2778
The saga here goes on with our friends on Procyon. The diverted ship, Manet, contacted Sheri this morning and wanted her to divert north to meet them. They thought if she did this, they might have a daylight rendezvous. But Sheri said she could not do that and still get to the Marquesas on the available resources. She would also be leaving the Norwegian boats that are traveling with her, and she needs their support for the rest of the trip. So until the afternoon net, we thought the rendezvous would happen around 1:30 am in the morning local time. And even though there is an almost full moon that will provide some light, this could be very dangerous in the dark. When Procyon checked into the evening net, however, Sheri reported that she and the Norwegian boats that are accompanying her all decided to divert north and that the exchange should hopefully happen in the daylight. We will all be on pins and needles waiting to hear, but we might not know until the morning net. We do monitor 8291 which is the ship’s emergency communication channel and hopefully we will hear that Randy is safely aboard Manet and headed quickly to Papeete, Tahiti, to a full health care facility. The ship does have a passenger aboard who is a doctor and they have the IV capabilities that Randy needs right now. When Sheri found this out, you could hear the relief in her voice. Making the decision to stay with the boat and let Randy go on alone could not have been an easy one, but knowing that he will have the care he needs is the important thing. Mark and I discussed this yesterday and we decided that we would do the same. We would send the injured or sick on the ship and the other would stay with the boat. In our case, we would call Heather and Justin and ask them to fly to wherever the transport would be landing. Not an easy decision, and one we hope we never have to face, but we do understand and support Sheri’s decision to stay with the boat. Like us, their boat is their only home and it would be very hard to lose it at sea. She will fly to join Randy as soon as she gets the boat safely to the Marquesas and we will all be waiting for the happy ending.
This morning Manet told Procyon that they would come alongside to get Randy, but we all know that is very risky. A sail boat can be destroyed in seconds by a large ship. It appears that Checkmate and Necessity, the Norwegian boats, have offered to put a dinghy in the water and to make the transfer that way. Much safer. They will also get the extra fuel to Sheri this way. Sheri will then start motoring to keep up with the Norwegian boats and will meet with friends aboard a catamaran, Endangered Species, which is leaving the Marquesas and coming back out to bring Sheri additional fuel and crew. She has about 750 miles to go and they will meet her 200 to 250 miles out. She still has 500 miles to go alone, but she sounds ready to do this. And believe it or not, she has one more complicating factor. This morning, a squall came up and damaged her mainsail. This leaves her with only her headsail, but since she is going to be motoring she should be fine.
We are trying to enjoy our last few days of the passage despite the sadness that we feel for Sheri and Randy. Our little wind angel returned today and is pushing us along at better than 5.5 knots, wing-and-wing. We are sailing wing-and-wing as it lets us stay directly on course. This morning the wind virtually died and we made the decision to poke along and not come into port until Monday. The option would be to motor in from here, but having to replace about $250 in fuel caused us to make the decision to sail if at all possible. Now that the wind has come up, our chances of a Sunday landfall is once again possible. I’ll go back to my mantra . . . We’ll just have to wait and see what happens.
We have just had another time change. Actually, we should have made the change a day or so ago, but we waited as it affects our radio net and watch times and we just didn’t need anymore excitement in our lives. We are now five hours earlier than Eastern Standard Time and four hours earlier than Eastern Daylight. When we reach Fatu Hiva, we actually have another 30 minute time change. We don’t quite understand why the half hour, but that is just the way things are. At that point our time will be minus 9.5 UTC (Universal Time).
It is so beautiful and peaceful out here. The seas have been calm for days, the sun shines all the time, and now an almost full moon lights our nights. There is a gentle rhythm to the rise and fall of boat as she forges ahead through the deep blue sea. I can’t smell the flowers yet, but I can “see” the turquoise waters, white sand beaches, and the tall mountains gracefully draped in green. It is really only a weekend away.