Day 49, Year 1: Changes in Latitude
Date: Monday, December 5, 2005
Weather: Moderate Winds
Air Temperature: 74 degrees F
Latitude: N 27 degrees 58.62 minutes
Longitude: W 65 degrees 09.54 minutes
Location: Passage from Norfolk to St. Martin, Day 9

Yesterday our latitude was 30 degrees North. Today it is 28 degrees North. We are making progress. It is 1640 (4:20 pm Eastern Standard Time) and the sun is dipping below the horizon. I find it interesting that out here there are always clouds on the horizon in all directions, but not overhead. We had a beautiful day and a nice surprise with the wind. Around 1100 the winds picked up and we have been able to sail since then. Because of the wind direction, we are having to travel further south than we would like at this point, so we will probably use the engine tonight at some point to help us get further east. We have used all of one of our three tanks of fuel and part of a second, so we have to choose the times carefully when we do use the motor. All in all, things are looking positive for a weekend arrival in St. Martin.

Mark spotted dolphins today swimming along side, but by the time I came up from the cabin they were gone. The only other sign of life today was a beautiful white bird with a very long tail and black wing tips. Since all of the books are still in disarray, I can’t easily find my bird guide, but hopefully I can dig through the books tomorrow and find out what kind of bird we were seeing. I baked bread today and Mark is currently working on one of our bilge pumps. We have a monster bilge pump but right now it is bringing more water into the bilge than it is taking out. Because of the tack we are on, the through-hull (hole in the boat) that transports water out of the bilge is under water and that is what allows the water to come back in. We thought we had fixed this problem but obviously not. We have two additional smaller bilge pumps, but one of them has stopped working. None of this is serious problem, but since the seas have calmed down it seemed like a good time to work on this.

It is amazing to be out here and see nothing but ocean in all directions hour after hour. The water is so blue. The temperature today was 74 degrees and I am finally wearing shorts and a tank top. I’ll still have to layer for the night watches, but last night was much warmer than the night before. That change in latitude is starting to make a real difference. And the even more amazing thing is that even though it looks like we are alone, we know there are other boats within 30 to 60 miles. At 1430 every day, we turn on the Ham radio and check in with Southbound II. That’s the weather net. Everyone that checks in gives there current latitude and longitude and that’s how we know where they are. You feel like you know these people. I’m looking forward to meeting some of them once we reach St. Martin.

The crescent moon is out already and twilight is here. It is time to start the night watches, so until tomorrow this is Windbird standing by.

Day 50, Year 1: Heat Wave
Day 48, Year 1: Feast or Famine