I'm Matt, a software engineer and boating enthusiast based in Washington State (but on the move). I started Hermit Cove Boats, offering cool skin and frame boat plans and kits. Check it out!
This was sent to the wrong address while underway, so I am posting it as though it had been posted on April 3rd.
Well the good news is that the lack of winds means calm seas. The rough seas of the first 10 days made stomachs tender and little was possible. Now its easy, I can read, use the laptop, do dishes from the stern, bathe regularly, and so on. Just one problem: we are currently moving at 0.0 knots 100 miles from the equator, and a lot more from anywhere else.
When we knew we were in the true doldrums, the ITCZ, we had no problem motoring out. After all, the SE trades awaited. Now the winds are proving fickle. So motoring wont really help, as we haven’t got enough fuel to get there anyway.
While motoring we came upon a pod of False Killer Whales. These dolphins are big, perhaps 15 feet long. 7-8 of them cruised alongside as we motored. Unlike smaller dolphins these were no acrobats, just surfacing to breathe through blowholes that could swallow potatos. But they crowded the boat, swimming alongside and in front, at the surface and 10-20 feet down as well. It is magical to watch a 15 foot creature swimming 20 feet down in perfectly clear still water. I was transfixed for the 30 minutes they stayed.
Shirtless, out from under the sun shade, I burnt the crap out of my back. Real summer camp kids stuff. Red, sleep on your belly, blisters right away stuff. Stupid stupid stupid. And in just 30 minutes. Luckily Kristin got me some solarcane.
Earlier today we were moving from 1 to 2 knots. The asym spinnaker really is a champ as half the time there was no wind and the boat was just coasting on the previous breath. I rigged up a line from a front cleat over the side, held out by a whisker pole. Then I swam out to the line and hung on, letting the boat drag me along slowly. Trolling for big game. It was wonderful to cool off, use my legs, and get off the boat. I could feel as each puff of wind filled the spinnaker and the boat surged forward. The line allowed me to trail well behind and see the transom. A perspective I hadn’t seen in a while. The transom is covered in 1 to 2 inch gooseneck barnacles that were not there when we left Mexico. What champs!
Then I could feel a painful stinging in my neck. Jellyfish! I pulled myself out and washed off. It was a little sting that went away after 5 minutes, a small price to pay for a little variety in the life of a becalmed sailor.