Day 145, Year 5: Passage to Gan, Addu Atoll, Maldives, Day 4

Day 145, Year 5: Passage to Gan, Addu Atoll, Maldives, Day 4
Date: Saturday, March 20, 2010
Weather: Cloudy, then Sunny; Winds NE 5-10 Knots
Latitude: 00 degrees 52.178 minutes N
Longitude: 073 degrees 41.793 minutes E
Miles to Go: 103

We sailed all night again with great winds, but when the sun came up, the winds calmed down. On my early morning watch I had to start the engine and pull in the sails so stop them from slatting and waking Mark up. I figured he needed his sleep and motoring for an hour or two wouldn’t hurt anything. When he got up, we started sailing again and then put up the asymmetrical spinnaker for about three hours. The rest of the day was off and on. We sailed with all sails up, just the main and headsail, wing and wing with the headsail poled out to port, and motored a bit from time to time which gave us a chance to run the watermaker. Now that the sun is getting ready to set, we are motoring once again. Actually the wind is back up to 7-8 knots, but it is right behind us and just not enough to push us forward fast enough. We have 103 miles to go and if we can keep going at 4-5 knots, we will arrive in Gan tomorrow. We will cross the equator sometime during the night. It would be nice if the crossing could coincide with a change of watches, but that is probably asking a little too much. So one of us will have to get up so we can celebrate the crossing together. The seas are still calm, the dolphins come to play, the basil is growing, and life is generally good.

Day 144, Year 5: Passage to Gan, Addu Atoll, Maldives, Day 3

Day 144, Year 5: Passage to Gan, Addu Atoll, Maldives, Day 3
Date: Friday, March 19, 2010
Weather: Sunny; Winds ENE 10-15 Knots; Still Hot
Latitude: 02 degrees 58.076 minutes N
Longitude: 073 degrees 49.409 minutes E
Miles to Go: 229

A wish for wind . . . and we got it. We were able to sail for twenty-two straight hours, started the engine to charge the batteries, and will soon be sailing again. We can see that the winds are dying down a bit, but after the sun goes down, they might return. We actually had 20-25 knot winds for part of the night, so we were flying over the calm waters. We are both spending our waking hours reading “passage” books. These aren’t the greatest literature, but they keep your attention and keep you awake when you are on watch. I’m also working on naming photos. So between reading, writing, naming photos, and cooking, the time is passing quickly.

Day 143, Year 5: Passage to Gan, Addu Atoll, Maldives

Day 143, Year 5: Passage to Gan, Addu Atoll, Maldives
Date: Thursday, March 18, 2010
Weather: Sunny; Winds NE 3-5 Knots; Still Hot
Latitude: 05 degrees 08.135 minutes N
Longitude: 073 degrees 47.389 minutes E
Miles to Go: 358

No change. We are still motoring slowly south. In fact, we are headed directly south to Addu Atoll. When we started out we had to head SE to get around a couple of atolls, but by noon today we were able to turn due south. That puts what little wind there is on the hind quarter, and 5 knots from behind is not enough to move this boat forward without a motor assist. We are motoring very slowly trying to conserve fuel, so our speed varies between 4 and 5 knots. Yesterday and during the night we had a current against us and were going even slower. But slowly, surely, we will get there.

Day 142, Year 5: Passage to Gan, Addu Atoll, Maldives

Day 142, Year 5: Passage to Gan, Addu Atoll, Maldives
Date: Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Weather: Sunny with No Wind; Hot, Hot, Hot
Latitude: 06 degrees 48.720 minutes N
Longitude: 073 degrees 17.820 minutes E
Miles to Go: 472

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! It is 4:45 in the afternoon and we are out here still waiting for St. Pat to send some wind our way. But so far, no luck. We just turned off the engine and tried to sail and we were going a whopping 1.2 knots which would get us to Addu Atoll after the 1st of April. So the motor is back on. Mark just checked the latest GRIB files and they indicate that we will get nothing more than 5 knots over the next six days and then the wind goes to ZERO. So we are settling in with the thought that we will motor slowly all the way. This is to be expected when you are nearing the equator, but you can always wish for wind.

In addition to having very little wind, it is just plain hot out here. It is somewhere around 90 degrees F with clear skies, so that sun is relentless. I have misplaced my water thermometer and we don’t have an outside thermometer, so we are only estimating the outside temp using the inside temp of 92 degrees as a guide.

Constance had a scare this afternoon. They heard a noise and then the motor started overheating. Ed dove over the side and immediately saw that pieces of fishing net had wrapped around the prop. He was able to quickly cut it away and get going again. He doesn’t think he hit a net but just rather picked up a stray piece floating in the water.

Tonight there is a new moon which means no moonlight at all on this passage, but we have seen nothing all day-no ships, no fishing boats, no nothing-so hopefully it will continue like that through the night. We are traveling down the eastern side of the Maldives well offshore of the closest atolls, so we shouldn’t have local traffic either. So watchs shouldn’t be as intense as they were off the coast of India.

Enjoy St. Patrick’s Day and have a green beer for Windbird!