Monday, April 3, 2017

Greetings From The High Seas - Over Halfway

(Sylvia, 3 April, 5N 128hW )
AHOY AND BONJOUR! In case anyone is wondering about the seemingly random photo of Tom with the flying fish, it turns out we were the fools of our own April Fool's Day (non) blog post. The photo was supposed to be accompanied by a brilliantly penned post (by yours truly) describing our journey thus far along with a brief tutorial about how April Fool's Day is celebrated in France, and presumably French Polynesia. In France they don't call it April Fools, but rather Poisson D'Avril, or April Fish day. The joke is that you are supposed to pin paper fish on the backs of unsuspecting victims. Tom was doing his daily rounds of collecting suicidal flying fish off of SHINDIG's deck and threatening to pin them to us.
THE JOKE'S ON US: The post never went out due to bad HF radio propagation, however the accompanying photo did. Then, to add insult to injury, the hard drive on Tom's laptop DIED before he was able to attempt reposting, so I fear our April Fool's Day post might be lost forever.

ON APRIL 1ST we were officially halfway on our journey from La Paz to Nuku Hiva. For the most part our sail has been most excellent and we've been very lucky with the weather. This sailing Nirvana has been punctuated with the occasional repair (we seem to get one per day) which began with the Keurig coffee maker which took the three guys (Rob, JD, Tom) two days to troubleshoot and repair. I observed the antics with interest and amusement and wondered how they would ever get the disassembled coffee robot back in working condition. Of course they did, as they have successfully (so far) affected all their repairs. But it's not all geek time aboard the good ship SHINDIG. In between repairs, weather routing, taking noon sights (OMG yes they are using a sextant!) and ad nauseum discussion about where to cross the ITCZ (Inter Tropical Convergence Zone, look it up), the chaps have proven themselves to be up to the studly tasks as well. Whenever we need to perform a sailing maneuver such as a gybe (moving the sails from one side of the boat to the other, not so easy with a poled-out jib) they don their life vests and harnesses, jump on deck, and do the maneuver with minimal drama.

WE ARE NOW in the ITCZ and last night was one of our first truly "squally" nights. We'd had a remarkable day, flying the spinnaker (huge downwind sail) since yesterday morning and successfully through the night. I was on the 23:00 - 02:00 watch when at 01:50 I saw a big black monster off in the distance, directly upwind. I turned on the radar and, gah!, a huge squall was bearing down on us! The guys were up in a flash and as they attempted to lower the spinnaker sock (a device used to safely dowse the huge spinnaker) the sock broke, necessitating that we drop the entire acre of nylon directly on the deck without dropping any of it into the water or under the boat which would be disastrous. Naturally it began to rain at that moment. But they successfully dropped, contained and repacked the spinnaker, then we unfurled the jib, and were once again on our way as the squall continued to pass over us. Afterward we had a nice little "crew bonding moment" as we sat in the cockpit, basked in the warm, moist weather (and wet bums) and congratulated ourselves on a job well done. In keeping with our "one breakage per day" rule we determined that the failed spinnaker sock was that day's failure and the rest of the day would be breakage-free. The rest of the morning was punctuated by several more squalls, not too windy but quite wet, and SHINDIG and crew are now drying out and ready for a new day. Another bright note - highest daily mileage of the trip so far: 160 nm.

Next milestone - equator crossing in 400 nm (~2.5 days).

Don't forget to check Captain Rob's daily updates on

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  1. Sylvia & Tom,
    We've been tracking your journey everyday! I read Rob's position post - with envy - every day as well. So glad to hear you are all having a great sail. We're aching to get back out there with you. Be well! Susan & Rob S/V Athanor

  2. I admit I am jumping all around with your blog, but re-living every moment right there with you all. That was quite a night you had! What a great team. Fondly, Nancy