Trip Reports

Marine Mammal Alert (24-Mar-2001-20-00):
1:00 PM local time Saturday. 27 19 N 122 58 W. Temp. 70, Humidity 62%, cloud cover 50%. Seas WNW 1.5 meters. Wind S 4k.

Although we reckoned that sooner or later a morale problem would surface onboard ship, we had both hoped that whatever such problems we might have would be minimal and brief. The fact that so soon into the journey we would face our first challenge of this sort is perhaps a dark portent of events to come. The issue is the following.

Since Tuesday evening we have covered about 300 miles toward our goal, for an average of just over two knots. The winds, as the Captain had predicted, have in fact come fair, as the high which was to the southeast of us moved westward and is now some distance off to the southwest. But this distance is not great enough, and therefore we're indeed sailing dead down wind, but with only three knots of the stuff. So Watch Captain Terry Shrode and the Captain had a serious talk this morning, trying to examine our situation with the intent of discovering which points merit our serious concern; with unsatisfactory results. In any reasonable crew, this very poor progress would provoke an unease, nay, despair that we may never again see land, that other boats are going faster, that we are doomed, etc. So Mr. Shrode and the Captain went through a long list of things about which they should feel dismay, but unfortunately this only served to make the men rather giddy; so the effort was abandoned.

It is true that we must bear down and get on with it, and time and provisions are finite. Still. In Bowditch, Chapman's, and other texts the mariner is cautioned to not rely on one means alone to establish his position. So in addition to the GPS, we have confirmed our progress absolutely by sensing the increasing temperature of the toilet seat in the morning. We're down to about one layer of fuzzies at night and T- shirts and embarrassing straw hats during the day. Last night we saw stars for the first time and could make out Orion between the clouds. An albratross and a tropicbird have kept us company today, and the dolphins have come to visit us many times now. The most chiseled heart must leap with a child's joy to see them dart under the bow.

Whereas, on the other hand, when we do get to what is rumored to be Paradise itself, there will be bugs and officials to deal with, fuel and water to find, provisions to carry, a crowded anchorage where earlier cruisers have chosen the best spots. We will have, like, a job. Out here we can play the stereo as loud as we want. We can walk to the bow and declare that we are the king of the world, however pathetic that may be. You have my word that your Captain will never do any such thing. I do feel under some obligation however to inform you, dear reader, that nothing can stop me now, 'cause I'm the Duke of Earl.

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