Day 45, Year 1: Starry, Starry Nights
Date: Thursday, December 1, 2005
Weather: Heavy Rain Overnight, Clearing with Windshift in the PM
Air Temperature: 72 degrees F
Water Temperature: 72 degrees F
Latitude: N 34 degrees 26.15 minutes
Longitude: W 70 degrees 10.07 minutes
Location: Passage from Norfolk to St. Martin, Day 5

We are making progress. The first three days of this crossing took us much longer than expected and was much rougher than expected, but this afternoon things are looking up. We had high winds and some rain during the night and on into the morning. A couple of times I thought the sky was falling, but then the rain would stop as abruptly as it started. Around 1130 this morning, the sun started to try to peek through and by this afternoon we had full sunshine and the wind direction shift we had anticipated. The wind is now out of the west and will eventually come around to the northwest. When Mark joined the weather net with Herb this afternoon, he gave us advice to just keep moving instead of making the previously hoped for stop in Bermuda. Herb thinks we have a good window for heading on the St. Martin, so that is what we will do. By the way, our built-in water thermometer still reads 96.1, but that seems absurd. Mark dropped a different thermometer over the side of the boat this afternoon and it read 72 degrees F. That sounds much more reasonable. The thing we can’t figure out is why we were getting good readings prior to the Gulf Stream, but coming out it looks like it is perpetually stuck in the 90 degree range. Strange.

>From joining the weather net at 1500 every afternoon, we have gotten to know the names of boats out here with us heading to Bermuda and St. Martin. There are at least two sailboats within 60 to 100 miles of us, so even though we don’t see them, it is nice to know that they are out here.

Now that we are not bouncing in high seas, I am feeling much better. I caved in last night and put on one of the transderm scop patches and that seemed to help a little, but it was the quieting seas that had the most effect. I actually stayed below long enough today to fix a potato-cabbage soup for lunch and with Mark’s help, got all of the books picked up out the floor. Tomorrow we will work on a better way of securing the books and put them back on the shelves. I will say one thing for the rough weather we have had . . . Mark and I have both lost weight. I think maybe we could patent the “rough seas” weight loss plan. The rough sailing would also be a way of helping those who smoke or drink too much. You just can’t do those things when you feel so lousy. It sure would be a cheap way of solving these social problems!

It is only 1625, 4:25 pm Eastern Standard time right now, but the sun just slipped below the horizon. I have been on watch the past couple of mornings for sunrise and there have been red sails every morning. There are a few red sails tonight, so hopefully tomorrow will be a sailor’s delight. We must be in a different time zone by now, so we should probably set one of our clocks on universal time. We need to find something in one of our books that gives us the time zones around the world, but I will continue to use Eastern Standard time in these logs reported as “marine time”.

The one thing I look forward to during night watch is sky watching. The first three nights we were out here, the sky was so full of stars that I thought it might burst. Last night was overcast, so no stars, but it looks like we will have the stars again tonight. As the boat stirs up the water when we move forward during the nighttime, there are also thousands of dots of light in the water all around us. This is the phosphorescence and it looks like the stars in the sky reflected in the water.

It looks like life will be a little more normal in the next few days although the reports indicate that we will have high winds tomorrow. I’m hoping we will still be sailing smoothly since it will be downwind and that I will get a chance to answer e-mails from many of you that have sent good wishes. We miss you and really look forward to your messages.