No Trade Winds, No Fish, Plenty of time.
Friday 04 March 2016
26:50.50S 101:34.00W - 400 miles East of Easter Island
You may have guessed from the title of this post that we have not found the fabled Trade Winds yet. The past week has seen mostly light and fluky winds with a couple of good days sailing thrown in just to stop us going too crazy. We had one very busy sailing day working our way through the north east sector of the depression shown in the satellite image above. That was a good sailing day but as day turned into evening the sea got very ugly and confused and we had to bear away and jog slowly downwind for the rest of that night
– losing precious miles in the process. Actually we wanted to get south for weather routing reasons so it wasn’t terrible. Our position is marked with an arrow, Easter Island is in the centre of the circle on the left and the Juan Fernandez archipelago is in the oval on the right.
We have had no luck with the fishing line yet or more accurately our incompetence has failed to land us at least one huge fish dinner. We hooked a Mahi Mahi of a decent size, just under a meter long, and hauled it alongside. My new “under construction” big-fish gaff had not yet been sharpened so my plan was to hook the gaff into the fish’s gills (which works well for tuna) but as soon as we lifted the animals head with the line it shook out the hook and was off. I have since read that this is exactly what Mahi Mahi do and that the recommended method is to gaff them using and overhand stroke (whatever that is) just behind the head. Anyway I’m not too bothered as it was a little too much fish for us to eat and we can’t keep it for long in these temperatures. The gaff is now as sharp as a very very sharp thing. We have found dead, small, smelly, flying fish secreted around the boat most days.
They seem to sneak aboard at night, probably after our rum supplies and then get lost and can’t find their way back into the ocean. I spotted one in the cockpit at one stage the other night when it was a bit bouncy but didn’t retrieve it. It subsequently disappeared and I presumed that it must have washed out the aft drains but no, later in the day, I spotted its tail sticking out of drain in the fuel fillers locker – no doubt it had hidden there planning to stink us out in a day or two.
We have worked on a few projects to keep ourselves busy; a movable side panel for our sun awning that we can fix to either side depending on where it’s needed, a couple of plywood holders for galley things, in particular our 2L water jug that had developed a partiality to launching itself across the saloon at inopportune moments and a crib board. The latter because we have started playing a few hands of cards in the evenings and had been scoring on a piece of paper so I decided the correct equipment was needed (bottle of rum and glasses we already have). I couldn’t remember the finer points of the rules of Cribbage and the only reference to it that we had aboard was pretty vague but an email to family members with a request that they harness the power of the internet on our behalf means that we now have all our questions on the rules of the game cleared up.
I mentioned last week that we check into the Patagonian cruisers net on the HF radio every morning. That net is now becoming difficult to work as we sail west and are still in darkness at the time of the net and I have started to check into the Pacific Seafarers Net. The Pacific Seafarers Net is an amateur radio network on 14.300MHz every day at 03:00 UTC. There are a several shore stations located across the Pacific from New Zealand to Hawaii to California and few other places in between. The shore stations can pass messages to boats and vice versa but the main part of the net is a roll call where each participating boat is called and their position, course, speed and weather information recorded. I don’t know the web address but I’m sure that if you search for it you can find lots of information. I think the position reports are logged onto two different tracking systems that will be linked from the net’s information page – look for my ham radio call sign VP8BKF.