This boat moves. Up until yesterday, we had rarely dipped below seven knots, and at times saw eight knots or more. We are currently sailing on a close reach headed southeast towards Jost Van Dyke (is that a Painkiller I smell?) in fantastic conditions. The rolling ocean swells are about two to four feet, the bellies of our jib and main are full and we're cruising along at a respectable six knots. This is a welcome change from yesterday when we were nearly becalmed in light and variable winds. The sun is shining, and the wispy clouds look as if someone spread them across the sky with a butter knife. Again, we find ourselves alone out here and it's beautiful.
Some of you might have noticed our SPOT tracker is not transmitting (at least it doesn't appear to be on our end). We're not sure why, but rest assured - we're all doing great. So far, our only "problem" is the fact that we are almost out of diesel - but I guess that's to be expected when you motor-sail for five straight days. Good thing we're a sailboat! We have been enjoying excellent conditions out here, and our only deviation came two nights ago at sunset when we chose to alter course in order to skirt a monster squall that was about six miles long and three miles wide. This is where radar comes in handy (because we hardly use it otherwise): when we saw the dark, foreboding storm clouds approaching we turned to our radar to tell us how close it was (it is very hard to visually calculate distances out here). After seeing it was three miles leeward of us and sailing alongside it for almost two hours without any significant difference in distance, we determined it was going in the same direction as we were. I suggested to Scott we turn around and pass it on the back end, which is exactly what we did. We came completely about, and for a good long while sailed in the exact opposite direction than we wanted to, but - thankfully - our avoidance tactic was successful. We saw nary a drop of rain. That's the thing about squalls; sometimes they're all bark and no bite - but other times they can pack a real punch in the form of driving rain and winds in the 30-40 knot range, which - if you have been in those kind of winds - you know is no fun on a boat. We lost some ground going the way we went, but it's always better to be safe than sorry in our opinion.
After assessing our diesel situation yesterday afternoon the "old fashioned" way (with a dip stick), we realized our gauges don't quite tell the truth and we have a little margin of error despite the fact that both our tanks read "empty". Either way, we have decided to strictly sail for the remainder of the trip, and use our precious diesel only if it becomes a necessity. To be honest, no one misses the rumble of the engine through the boat - and we're all enjoying the peaceful sail. As such, we will not be making landfall this afternoon as we had previously calculated. If the 15 knots of wind we are seeing right now holds, we might arrive late this evening. If not, we'll probably arrive bright and early in the morning. In the meantime, we'll just continue to sail the wind we're in, with the promise of Painkillers urging us on...
It's true what they say, that after a couple days at sea you find your groove. We are getting in sync with the rhythm of the boat and the ocean. We all have our jobs yet work together like a well-oiled machine. It's been a great ride and I think I can speak for all of us when I say we're thoroughly enjoying ourselves out here. While I am very excited to make landfall after our longest passage yet, I think I *might* even miss being out sea a little bit. For someone who is usually very "connected", it feels incredible to unplug and just be. I didn't see that coming.
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