Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Passage to Hawaii: day 9

Date: Mar 20, 2012
Distance remaining: 1611 Previous 24 hour run: by GPS: 140

Date: Mar 21, 2012, Time: 10am Hawaii time
21° 42' N 128° 57' W
Wind speed: 15 / wind dir: 045 (NE), Heading: 250, Speed: 5.7
Barometer: 1018, Water Temp: 67
Log: 3999.8
Distance remaining: 1471 Previous 24 hour run: by GPS: 139

I should add a note on the distances. The distance remaining is in a straight line from where I am right now to Hilo. The GPS distance run over 24 hours is between two waypoints. I create a waypoint each day at 10am and then measure a straight line distance between them.

Also a note on the wind etc information. That information is accurate as of 10am on the day I recorded it. Its not an average for the whole day. So for example, yesterday was a pretty slow day even though the wind I recorded at the end of the 24 hour period was pretty decent. It wasn't that strong all day.
So, with that out of the way...

I've entered a cloudy region and have been experiencing light rain from time to time. This is almost the first rain I've had since leaving the Pacific Northwest. Its nice! The boat is slowly being cleaned up as it picked up a lot of salt during all the upwind sailing I was doing at the start. The rain isn't dense enough to wash the boat very well yet, I'm hoping that will come later on...and then stop. I'm not prepared for steady rain until I get back to Seattle.

Two days ago I was thinking about this and that, and then it hit me that I had been sailing west for 7 days! "I must be sooo far offshore!" I thought to myself. Then I wondered what would be north of me, thinking it would be Alaska wilderness. So I looked it up and discovered that I was still east of where I had left from in Neah Bay. Coming down the coast from Seattle to Mexico you actually head quite far east. Neah Bay is at longitude 124deg 37'. On the 19th at around 6pm I crossed that longitude. Today I am further west than I ever have been in a sailboat! (I won't keep repeating this every time I blog, its implied from now on.)

Luckness caught two flying fish and a squid overnight. I threw them all overboard when I did a walk around this morning. Having seen a flying fish up close now, I realize that they actually do have wings. (Phone the discovery channel!) This makes sense out of something I saw a few days ago - it looked like a bird had come up out of the water, started flapping is wings and took off away from me, skimming a few wave tops before it got going. I thought it was a bird, fishing. But I realize now that it was a flying fish. I always thought that they glide rather than actually flap. That's kinda cool.

As I'm in a region which appears like its going to have steady NE/ENE winds for a while, I've poled out my genoa and am now sailing wing-on-wing pretty much toward Hilo. Its nice to get the wind behind me and do a little downwind sailing for a while. I turned on my computer and SSB radio to receive some weather faxes a few hours ago and received the 24/48 and 72 hour surface forecasts. It looks like the high which is providing the winds I'm currently in is changing shape again and I may go back to north winds in 72 hours. This trip is certainly giving me a lot of variety.

Things are going well here. I'm a little behind on sleep as the last two nights have been bumpy and noisy. Now that wind from a better direction has arrived the boat is quieter and is moving more gently than she was. I should get back the sleep I'm missing by this time tomorrow. I have heard from some other singlehanders that once they get far enough offshore they just sleep for a steady 8 hours at night (there are lots of different patterns, some do what I'm doing.) I'm still doing my 20min timer routine and will keep it up. It would be nice if I saw something from time to time after having dragged myself out of bed every 20min to scan the horizon for hazards. There is just nothing out here! A few days out of Cabo I was having amazing VHF reception, hearing the coastguard in LA and San Diego from time to time (which was _way_ beyond where I should have been able to hear them.) I was seeing AIS targets a few hundred miles away. Now whatever condition caused that has gone away and I'm back to more normal VHF/AIS reception. I saw a target on my AIS 3 days ago. Our closest point of approach was 16nm, so I never saw it. There has been nothing on AIS(*) since then.

That's all for today. I'll try to blog again in a few days. So far I am reporting my position once a day, so if you want to know where I am, use the "where is luckness" link.

(*) oh. For non-sailors. I just realized that I've been using the term 'AIS' as if everybody knows what it means. All large vessels (cargo ships, etc) are required by law to transmit AIS. The information they transmit includes some information to identify their vessel, their exact location, their course, their speed and some other stuff. My AIS receiver knows where I am, what my course is and what my speed is. With this information, its able to calculate what the closest point of approach between our two vessels will be, and when it will be. It has a number of criteria which I can modify that are used to sound an alarm if the other vessel is going to come within some distance of me. Its a really awesome bit of technology. AIS information is transmitted via VHF signals, which are line of sight. Normally I receive information on the other vessel at 30 or 40 miles, sometimes greater. This means that by the time I actually see it, if I ever see it, I know how we are going to pass each other and if I don't like the outcome, I will already have started making changes. Smaller boats such as most fishing vessels, sailboats, etc are not required to have AIS. So when I scan the horizon every 20min, I am really looking for small targets which tend to be slower as well.


March 20.  24 hour surface
March 20.  48 hour surface
March 20.  72 hour surface
March 21.  24 hour surface
March 21.  48 hour surface
March 21.  72 hour surface

1 comment:

  1. Cool! I'd love to see a flying fish. The grandkids are here till Sat. Great fun. You did get a long way east!!! Be safe. XO Mum