| 11:00 AM local time Thursday 29th. 16 56 N 122 48 W. Temp. 73, Humidity
70%, cloud cover 100%. Seas NE 3 meters. Wind NE 10k.|
The crew of Maverick sends its warmest regards and wishes to apologize
for the recent lack of correspondence, occasioned by the Captain's ill
humor, which had improved somewhat this morning resulting in reduced
floggings. This absence of goodwill was prompted for the most part by
the conditions here at sea, which have been trying his patience.
Before we expand on that we'd like to announce that we have three
winners in the grammar sweepstakes. Two of these, Theresa Fisher and Jim
Mead, are federal employees, which should give us all a comforting
thought about the people in charge of our nuclear weapons. The third,
Elizabeth Spinner, is a bit overqualified in that she teaches English
composition at the college level, whereas the grammatical error was jr.
high all the way. And no, airfare is not included in the prize.
Now, let's review where we stand.
When last heard from, things were going quite well. Weather was
improving and the Captain was enthusiastic about the chess game being
played with the Pacific High, which was turning in the boys' favor.
Although we all know this was 98% luck, let him have his little conceit
that his strategy paid off.
It was key to traverse the high without using precious fuel, which must
be preserved for the crossing of the Doldrums, so it was of some concern
when the weather fax showed the high to the southeast of us and moving
west. If it parked below us it might mean days of no wind, but the
weatherfax had it moving further west. So we moved to the southeast in
anticipation of the high's progress, believing the position the fax
placed it in in 24 hours. And indeed as predicted the high moved
southwest of us the following day, and thus we were able to sail dead
down wind and proceed south. On Thursday 22nd we set the Genoa and
drifter on poles and sailed 180 true. Sunday the 25th the wind freshened
as the high moved further west and we elected to hand the drifter and
made good progress under the genny alone. Our spirits were high as we
were going fast and it would be only a short while before we would find
the northeast trades which would bring, we had reason to believe, good
weather, long gentle swells, and a steady breeze. We were shortly to be
On Monday the wind veered to northeast and we dropped the pole, hoisted
the main, and headed up to remain on our course of 180 true or so. Here
were the tradewinds we had anticipated. The wind freshened to about
thirty knots and the seas became lumpy, with the main waves about 6 ft
every four seconds. Maverick was racing through this slop and beating
the crew silly so we had to shorten sail, first one, then two reefs in
the main, rolling up the furler one, and then two marks, and finally
dousing the headsail altogether to get the boat speed down to 5 knots.
Even at this, the motion on board was so violent that the crew got
almost no sleep that night.
The sloppy seas were, reasoned the Captain, caused by the collision of
the seas from the high, which were north, the seas from the trades,
which were northeast, and the swell remaining from the storms in the
gulf of Alaska, which were northwest. This produced a mess which was
uncomfortable and made ugly by the fact that, rather than clearing, the
skies had turned to monotonous altostratus from horizon to horizon, and
the mercilessly leaden aspect of the heavens made the seas that much
less friendly and slate gray. To add to the unpleasantness, the
temperature had actually dropped now that we were nearer the equator, so
the crew were back in their fuzzies at midday; and our friends the
Dolphins had ominously ceased their visits.
We have made reasonable progress, but it is now Thursday and although
the wind has decreased to 10-12 knots and the seas flattened a little
the situation is otherwise little changed. Now it should be pointed out
that nothing about the present situation is the least dangerous. In
fact, conditions are merely less pleasant than we would have liked, and
could of course be much worse. But unfortunately it seems they may
become somewhat so, as the wind is predicted to lighten so we may have a
long time to wallow in the bleak patch of ocean we have come upon. Fresh
food has finally run out, having outlasted by several days our most
optimistic projections; but it's canned goods from here on. Galley
specialist 1st class Terry Shrode has announced that tonight we have a
very nice "Sweet Polynesian Pineapple Princess Prepared Ham Parts Saute
with Corn and Water Chestnuts Soured by the Crew, Served Over Boiled
Domestic Brown Rice."
We saw our first flying fish today, so we're going to take that as a
good omen, there being a scarcity of other candidates.
Keep those cards and letters, email style, coming; and remember the best
way to contact us is to email
Terrulian@aol.com so that the messages can
be consolidated and so minimize our air time.