It’s dark and quiet out here. No moon tonight and no stars. A high cloud layer is dampening all light like a heavy blanket. The sky and ocean are indistinguishable melting into an undetectable horizon. Delos is silently gliding through the night at 4.6 knots (just over 5 MPH). We have our genoa and forward ballooner poled out running wing on wing dead downwind (wind at our back) in 9 knots of breeze.
The dogwatch is considered the middle of the night watch or equivalent of the graveyard shift. For us this means the 12AM – 3AM watch. With 3 hour watches and 3 people alternating through the schedule we get 3 hours on and 6 hours off, round the clock nonstop for the entire passage. This means your sleep is broken up into smaller chunks. We find that your body adjusts after the first few days. Someone must always be up watching for other ships lights, monitoring radar, and making sure Delos is holding her course. In between monitoring Delos I fill time by listening to music, staring at the horizon, constantly snacking to battle midnight hunger, pondering how huge the ocean is, and the occasional blog post. My personal favorite is the 3AM-6AM watch where you can witness the world and ocean waking up.
The sailing was wonderful today with 15-20 knots of wind all day. We haven’t touched the sails in over a day. We’re 4 days out from San Benedicto, and 6 days from the Mexican mainland which lies some 900 miles to the northwest of us. We should stay on this course for another 500 or so miles before heading due south to cross the Inter Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) and the equator. At this point we hope to pick up the southeast trades for the last leg to Hiva Oa in the Marquesas. Our ETA is ranging from 12 days to 19 days depending on our wind. Right now it’s closer to 19 days. Only 2,000 more miles to go!
As we get closer to the equator we can already feel the intensity of the sun increasing. We set an all time high for solar panel output today with 15.1 amps @ 24 volts (30.2 @ 12 volts) which is about as good as being plugged into the dock! Between solar power and the wind generator the batteries are staying topped off through the day. We only need to run the generator in the morning to top off after the drain of running the boat through the night. Even after spending the last 5 months in Mexico and applying my usual lather of SPF 15 I still got a little toasted on my arms after an afternoon nap in the cockpit. Time to break out the SPF 30+.
No luck in the fishing department. We had a few bites but haven’t landed anything yet. This afternoon a monster from the deep struck our big rod and lure. It started running fast as I put on the brake to slow the reel down. No matter what I did the line kept on spooling off until it snapped in two taking our lure and leader with it. Erin saw the fish strike the lure from below making a huge splash as gravity took over and brought it back down. We’ll never know what it was, only that it was big enough to snap our line without even slowing down. We heard on the net yesterday that another boat caught a 200 pound tuna. Hopefully we’ll have better luck tomorrow and can use some of the sushi rolling supplies we stocked up on. We don’t need a 200 pound fish, even 10 pounds would be nice.