Day 89, Year 5: Passage to Cochin, Day Eight
Date: Saturday, January 23, 2010
Weather: Clear Skies; ENE Winds 10-15
Latitude: 06 degrees 05.886 minutes N
Longitude: 082 degrees 43.463 minutes E
Miles Traveled to Date: 947
It’s all about timing. We have had days of beautiful sailing with no deadlines, so if we went a little slower, no problem. If we went a little faster, great. But now we need to reach a waypoint by midnight tonight, so that by 9 am tomorrow morning we will be starting the sixty mile stretch along the south side of Sri Lanka. We know there are fishing fleets in that area, but they move and you never know exactly where they will be. And we are hoping to stay close to shore and negotiate the fishing fleet during the daylight hours. Then by dusk tomorrow night we will be heading across the Gulf of Mannar that separates Sri Lanka from India. The winds have died down some but our problem is that they are coming almost directly from the east. Since we are going due west, that puts the wind directly behind us, so we finally had to make a sail change and we are now motor-sailing wing and wing. The seas have increased so that we are moving forward like a Weeble Wobble. I think this was the name for those little toy people with weighed, rounded bottoms. You could push them but they wouldn’t fall over. They would just weeble wobble. And that is what the bigger seas do to us when we are sailing wing and wing. The swell goes under Windbird’s aft starboard quarter and emerges on the forward port quarter leaning us one way and then the other. Unless there is a change, we will have to continue to motor sail through the night and then possibly through the day tomorrow. When you sail as close to land as we plan, there is often no wind. But even if we have to motor for the next 24 hours, we just have to be thankful for the past week of beautiful sailing.
Today was a baking day-bread and brownies. And, of course, there was more reading and daytime naps to fill in the gaps from the nighttime watches. The nighttime sky has been spectacular, but I have really missed having moonlight to sail by. We started out with a new moon. On our second night out, the tiny little crescent set just about the time our first watch started. Last night is the first I have seen of the crescent moon. It was low in the sky when I went on watch at 10 pm and I was amazed at how much light in shed on the water. But before midnight, it set, and things were pitch black again. We had one ship pass by us last night, but that is the first ship we have seen. I have a feeling that during the next few nights, we will see lots of ships. So watches will be a little more tense. I just wish I had the moonlight to guide me.