Tales from the Pacific Day 9

Another day, another dawn and another attempt to sail. We tried briefly during the early hours with the genoa out from about 02:45 but three quarters of an hour later we gave in. The skipper suggested we run the engine as part of his battery charging regime before it got light. Running it for a couple of hours in gear was the moral boost we needed –
with the current it gave us 17 nm in two hours! Considerably better than the 29nm we’d managed since yesterday afternoon.

The rest of the day has been in much the same vein – a few hours of gently sailing at two or three knots under one or both sails,depending on what will fill followed by periods of drifting on the current. Our noon to noon run reflected only too well the lack of wind. Our only hope is that by heading a bit more south and making the progress we are we will out run the expansion the calm area later next week and somehow make the northern edge of the trade winds currently loitering around 05 degrees south before the calm engulfs us for days.

As we draw closer to the Equator another concern is the heat. Over thirty degrees during the day outside, a degree or so cooler down below. Then over night outside it drops to a refreshing 26 degrees whilst down below cools much more slowly reaching a similar temperature just before dawn when of course everything soon starts to rise again. So we need to drink copious amounts of liquid – water, water with gatorade powder (the most efficient method of carrying soft drinks with us for the length of time we had to provision for), mugs of tea herbal or otherwise and coffee for breakfast. We never seem to have drunk enough, the signs of dehydration follow us both around. Plastic glasses and water bottles are a permanent feature of the cockpit as are regular reminders to each other to drink.

Today in the galley we tried something new – lasagne in the thermal cooker using Mr D’s bread tin. No idea whether it’ll work; cooked mince with onion and mushrooms(the dried Chinese kind), ratatouille (and we still have loads of this left) and lasagne sheets have been layered up in the tin and after simmering for 30 mins placed in the outer pot. The plan is to grate some cheese and place it under the grill for a few minutes to brown before consuming. The only potential point of failure may be the lasagne- the cardboard box it came in was discarded when we did the provisioning and the sheets placed in ziplock bags but I’ve no idea whether it was the sort you can bake in the oven or whether it needed boiling first; a thought that only struck me after I’d made the lasagne! We’ll have to wait and see.

Noon to noon: Through the water 39nm Over the ground 87nm
Noon position: 00 41.34N 094 53.06W