Day 197, Year 6 Passage to the Carolinas, Day 3-Still Motoring
Date: Monday, May 9, 2011
Weather: Beautiful Day; NO Wind ’til Mid-Afternoon–NW 8-10 Knots
Latitude: 22 24.786 N
Longitude: 068 47.621 W
Miles Traveled: 306
Miles to Go: 863
Location: Passage from Puerto Rico to Mainland USA
Windbird is currently motor sailing to the northwest about 150 miles to the east of the Turks and Caicos. Then for the next three or so days we will be passing about the same distance to the east of the Bahamas. Our tentative arrival in Little River, South Carolina, is on Tuesday, May 17 unless things change and we can make better time. After two days of no wind, it looks like we are now going to have adverse winds most of rest of the way. This could slow us down even more, but the weather report changes every time we get in a new GRIB. So, as always, we have to just wait and see how things go. There is a weather system north of Bermuda causing our difficulties. We had absolutely no wind and the most beautiful glassy seas until about two hours ago. At that point the wind started filling in from the NW and is now blowing a steady 8-10 knots. But the direction of the wind is exactly on our nose. Right now Mark is trying to get some weather information from Herb on Southbound II. Herb is on the HF radio. We have not been successful in checking in with him, but we listen to see what he is telling other cruisers. Once that radio sched is over, we will make a decision to either sail off course to take advantage of the little wind we have or to continue motoring directly into the wind.
Mid-day we turned off the engine to check the oil and had a bit of a scare when the engine would not restart. Every time this has happened to us over the last five and half years, it has been a problem with our starter battery. Our house batteries are AGMs and don’t need to be filled with water, but the starter battery is just a plain old car battery and it seems to need water very often. Evidently we forgot to check it recently and the cells were dry. So we had to by-pass it and use the house batteries to start the engine. This is not a problem, but Mark thinks we will need to buy a new starter battery-AGAIN!
My watches last night and early this morning were incredibly beautiful. During the night, the sea was like glass and the phosphorescence in our wake glowed with magic sparkles while the stars twinkled in the sky and were reflected on the surface of the water. There were so many stars last night and I was a bit surprised that we can still see the Southern Cross. I’m not sure at what latitude it sinks below the horizon and is no longer visible, but I am enjoying still having it as a nighttime companion, along with the Big Dipper to the north. On my early morning watch, I had quite a light show. Just before sunrise a pink glow radiated from the water as the sun made its ascent. The sky and water in front of us all melded together in one hazy shade of light blue, but the sky to the east was blazing with pinks, reds, and oranges as the sun peaked its head above the horizon. With the glassy sea, the light was bouncing all over. So we’re using a little more fuel than hoped, but the calm conditions provided some beautiful visual memories.