Day 48, Year 1: Feast or Famine
Date: Sunday, December 4, 2005
Weather: Little to No Wind, Counter Current
Air Temperature: 72 degrees F
Water Temperature: 72 degrees F
Latitude: N 30 degrees 08.32 minutes
Longitude: W 66.degrees 02.35 minutes
Location: Passage from Norfolk to St. Martin, Day 8
Is there really any such thing as a happy medium in life? Maybe. But I’m not sure there is out here on the high seas. It seems we are always getting way too much wind from the wrong direction, or not enough wind from the right direction. It is feast or famine, often not “just right”. Early this morning, I think we were as close to a happy medium as we might get. The sun rose just after 0600 and the moderate winds we had during the night decreased to five to twelve knots. The winds were light, but they were allowing us to move slowly in the right direction at around five knots. That’s not as good as the seven knots, but at least we were moving in the right direction.. I guess that is a happy medium. And then around 0930, the winds just died and we had to start the engine so that we could reach the ridge Herb had encouraged us to cross today. We are currently in front of that ridge and our new challenge will be to stay on the west side of a cold eddy sitting at N24 degrees by W64 degrees. We will continue to motor through the night and into tomorrow and Tuesday, unless the winds increase, and that should bring us to the west side of the eddy. We will then use the current on the western edge of the eddy to give us a boost south and east.
The temperature differentiation out here from morning through the night is fairly consistent. The air temperature at sunrise has been about 64 degrees the past couple of days and the temperature at sundown is usually 70 or 72 if it is a sunny day and 68 if it is a cloudy day. With the north winds pushing us along from behind, we get a fair amount of wind in the cockpit at night even with the enclosure, so on night watch we continue to wear layers of clothes. During the day the layers come off and we put on the day attire, which is a short sleeved shirt and a pair of lightweight pants. For night watch, I will put on a turtle neck over the cotton top I wear during the day, my trusty LL Bean wool sweater, a polar fleece vest, and finally a light jacket. The wool socks and wool sweaters were retired the first night we spent in the Gulf Stream, but when the wind shift came to bring winds from the north, the wool sweaters were resurrected. There is a story that goes along with that sweater that I would like to share with you. During the summer of 1985 we were living in Salisbury, Maryland. Mark volunteered to go along on a Salisbury University freshman orientation trip to Hurricane Island in Maine. The orientation was to complete an Outward Bound experience. The group had stopped in South Freeport at LL Bean on the way up and Mark bought us both wool sweaters. When he brought the gift home and the temperatures in Salisbury were hovering around 92 degrees with about 100 per cent humidity, I thought he had lost his mind. Why would I ever need that wool sweater? Well, now I can list about a thousand needs and will be very sad indeed when that wool sweater gets too worn to continue to be useful. It is now in its twentieth year and going strong.
A little side note: We caught our first fish during the night last night. Flying fish somehow jump up out of the water and “fly”, sometimes landing on the deck. We caught one last night. Let’s see if we collect more tonight.