Follow The Milky Way

It rises from the Southeast, arcing directly overhead and slipping over the horizon to the Northwest. We’re just chasing the trail the Milky Way leaves across the sky.

That was a note I made from last night.  Another gorgeous, although now distinctly chilly, night.  Sailed much of the night just following the stars.

The conditions were 15-18 knots, 3-4 foot seas, Wilson ably steering and one reef.  This kind of sailing is what it’s all about.  We are not quite going directly to where we want to go since we have to make an angle to what the wind allows, but it’s peaceful and beautiful.  It’s also not often that you get to stay on one tack for eight to ten hours and just stare at the stars!  Haven’t seen another boat.

1900, Nov 30-Three Frigate Birds are attempting to land on the masthead.  We’re having an argument (me and the birds) over that.  I know that they can’t land on the water and need a rest, but I also know these big birds would break the wind instruments and/or the VHF antenna, so I’ve been alternately flashing my flashlight and blowing the handheld horn (it’s starting to sound like a football game out here).  What finally worked is I set off the strobe in the masthead light as the three huge birds (six foot wingspans) were hovering just a foot or so from their proposed landing zone.  That seemed to disorient and discourage them.  Sorry Frigates.  Bow pulpit OK.  Masthead, Not.

1600, Dec 1st-Motor sailing with about 7 knots of wind.  It’s going to be like this for a few days now, so we’re taking advantage of flat seas and light wind to power into Turtle Bay (Bahia Tortuga).  We should get there sometime in the very early hours-maybe 3 or 4AM, after leaving Bahia Santa Maria yesterday.  The wind died down a day earlier than forecast, so we jumped out of Santa Maria first thing in the morning.

Actually lots of different conditions but this morning gets the prize so far.  On my five hour watch (0800-1300) the wind went from zero to 25 knots and back.  I was motor sailing, then as the wind picked up, shut down the engine and commenced sailing, but quickly had to put in a reef as the wind increased and then the not forecast increase went to 25 or so and had me put in a second reef.  After a couple hours of really fun sailing and some tall, steep waves on the beam, the wind died back down until by the end of the watch it was back to motor-sailing.  So far, we’re thinking Geoff’s jinxed.  Every time I have a great watch, sailing like crazy, just as his watch starts the wind dies.  We’re hoping for better for him as we continue our move North although for the next couple days he doesn’t care.  He’s been lured into the trilogy of the Dragon Tattoo.  He can’t stop.  Read the first one in a 24 hour period yesterday.  He’s now on the second (well, actually sleeping right this minute, as he was up reading all night!).

The sun’s getting ready to set, so time to put on some warmer clothes.  This isn’t the tropics anymore.

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