Monday, April 19, 2010

In the middle of the Pacific Ocean

Danielle found the way to post articles on our blog through our SSB radio so I am able to write you a bit about our Pacific crossing but no pictures. As I write this we've been sailing for 14 days, covered about 1900 nm (3535 km) since the Galapagos Islands and still have about 1100 nm (2045 Km) to go before reaching the Marquesas Islands in French Polynesia. How is it down here? Well there is pretty much nothing and I really mean NOTHING. There is so nothing here that in fact you have no idea of nothingness until you get here. No boat, no plane or no land, just water, waves, the sky and the clouds. They should put a floating sign here saying "This is nowhere and you are right in the middle of it!" We haven't seen or talk to another human being for over 14 days now. Think about it a second and try to figure out what is the longest period of time you spent without talking or interacting with another person other than your spouse?
So what do we do? Well not much since the continuous waves prevent us to do anything more complicated than reading and with tremendous efforts; cooking. Actually we should seriously put one of our dinner cooking session on video. Try to cook a steak with veggies and potatoes with your kitchen rolling from left to right all the time. We have to lean on the counter with our legs spread and hold everything with one hand while trying to manipulate the ingredients with the other. Then we have to go to the refrigerator to get the milk! Oh my god noooooo! Walking like a sumo wrestler we move toward the fridge holding ourselves on the navigation table hoping that while we are away from the cooking counter a wave bigger than the others won't hit us and throw everything on the floor. Finally we get the milk pot and quickly come back but this time we are a bit cleverer and use the proper timing with the wave so we move when gravity pushes us toward the stove and in two steps we are back in front of our stuff. Now how do we measure one cup of milk using only one hand? I guess you get the picture here. While we are not making acrobatics with the food and the pans we mostly read. During the first two nights at sea we were very diligent and doing everything by the book and alternated our watch all night, which you can imagine is quite tiring. But since there is simply nothing out there we had nothing to watch for other than making sure the boat behaves correctly and to adjust the sail when the wind shifts. But this is the Pacific Ocean outside the hurricane season so we are in the middle of the trade winds and at best we have to correct the sails once every 12 hours! So on the third night we started to take naps in the cockpit during our shifts and on the fourth night we said "Hey what the heck!" and committed the most reproachable sailor's sin and both went to bed for the night! All right, for our defense I must mention that we sleep on the cabin seats around the table so we can easily hear what is happening with the boat and get up quickly when something isn't right. Also we have the displays of the navigation instruments inside de cabin and we can take a look at them once in a while. At least we are getting some descent sleep.
When I say that there is nothing down here I may over exaggerate a little bit because there is a bit of wild life around us. Twice we saw dolphins swimming around and incredibly, even though we are thousands of miles from the nearest piece of dirt, there are many birds here and there; one of them even spent two or three days with us standing on the railing all night and going fishing a few times during the day. Almost every day I got around the boat and check that the riggings are all correct and during my tour of the boat I usually throw overboard 4 or 5 flying fishes or squids sunbathing on our deck. Other than that it's the sun, the clouds and the sea!