Friday, August 8, 2014
Currently, I am sitting at the computer waiting for a weather fax to complete. As I mentioned in a previous post, NOAA sends out the weather fax documents via radio transmitters all along the coast. Right now we are receiving a signal from Honolulu which is gathered by the SSB antenna and then translated into an image by our little modem and the computer. The winds picked up last night, as we were expecting. It was also good that we had close to no wind for most of yesterday, because we were able to organize, clean and prepare the boat for the weather that will, hopefully push us the 4-6 days to Cape Flattery. On a long trip like this the inside of the cabin can get quite disorganized as people change clothing, switch shifts and live their daily lives all within the 300ish square feet of the boat. This is typically not a problem until the weather or swell picks up and then these discarded and unsecured items go flying across the cabin and invariably land on someone's face while they are trying to sleep.
Things are going well and thanks to great sailing for the first week of the trip (we actually made over 150nm in one day!) we are still on schedule. This particular passage is known to test sailors as even in normal years (this is an El Nino year) it is marked by feast or famine where the wind is concerned. Looking through our position log -- where we regularly log our latitude, longitude, speed and basic weather conditions -- I can see many reports of wind around 20 kts and many where we are simply hove to or drifting because the water is glassy and their isn't a breeze in sight. Right now there is a low pressure system over the Aleutians, headed towards the Gulf of Alaska and predicted to bring yet more strong winds as air from the high below us rushes up to fill the vacuum of the low. As I write this we are 620nm from Cape Flattery and although, most likely, we won't be able to see it when we arrive due to fog, I cannot tell you how wonderful it will be to reach that way point.
Also, thank you to everyone who has sent us messages about the hurricanes, we know they are there and are currently more than 1000nm away from them, in very cold water, and are above the latitude reached by the northernmost tropical storm in recorded history. Still, it feels great to know that so many people care about us and are watching our progress. For some reason (I am blaming sunspots) we are having a difficult time connecting to send emails. We do however continue to connect to the Pacific Seafarers Net every night and you can look at our position reports through them by changing the call sign on the tracking map from WDG8553 to KD9AFE.