It is slow progress as we head towards the southern hemisphere. The winds have been very light – at times non-existent. How can it be that in the Pacific Ocean there is less than 1 knot of wind? We don't want to complain though – it is better than way too much wind. But it does make for slow progress towards our destination. At this rate, we're still days away from the equator (currently at 02 degrees/50 minutes North).
Last night was a very strange night. We have never seen a darker night - no moon, no stars, dark clouds everywhere and we couldn't see any horizon. It was eerie. The only light came from the consistent lightning all around us...but it only lit up the blackness. We had to unplug some instruments for safety and put the computer in the stove! It also rained harder than we've seen – a rain that lasted almost non-stop all night long – steady and heavy and coming straight down as there was little to no breeze. The wind, what little there was, would change direction constantly. We couldn't wait until daylight. It came and showed all the clouds around – but at least it was light.
We would often put all the sails in and just drift instead of listening to the sails get beat up as they hung limp smacking into the rigging. Then we would just drift with the current (sending us north, northwest (we are heading southeast!)
Enough whining – today it is sunny and not raining. There is little to no wind so the swell collapses the sails and it is in the wrong direction (oh I said NO whining-oops).
We continue to make our slow progress and we connect with people daily on a few radio nets. We are getting out of range for the Marshall Islands "Iakwe" net and are checking in nightly on the Pacific Seafarers ham radio net.
For those wondering why we don't motor in this light air – well we don't carry enough fuel. We are carrying 90 gallons (70 in the tank and 20 on deck) and we burn about 1 gallon an hour going about 4.5 knots. You can do the math. We ration our fuel by thirds – only using one third for each third of the miles to travel. If we don't use it on a particular third – we put it in the bank for the last leg. Of course, in an emergency – ship or island avoidance, mechanical failure, repairs etc – we would use what we need to and make it up later. We've almost used our first 30 gallons already for this leg and still have 90 miles to go.
At this rate our 1100 mile trip will take us a good 18-20 days! Michael's been good about putting in position reports.