Day 2 Sailing to the Azores

Roy awoke me for my 0600 shift.  My phone has been acting up so there was no alarm.  It is currently in a bag with about a lb. of rice.  Apparently, the charging port has not liked the salt water bath it got during the leg to Bermuda.   The timing of the 0600 shift is nice because I am up for the sunrise.  When the seas are calm and winds are steady there is not much to do.  Other than occasionally scan the horizon and check the chartplotter for other boats, there is plenty of time to watch the sunrise develop.  When not on a boat, how often do you get up early enough and devote 20 minutes to reflecting about the marvel of a sunrise?  Maybe on vacation, but during routine life, the demands of day get in the way.  About 30 years ago, Dan, my wise department chair, was listening to complain about how I was so busy with article, grant and teaching deadlines.  He asked. “Jack, who makes your schedule?”  It was quite a revelation that I was the cause of my overly full schedule.  Retirement gives no excuses for failure to schedule appropriately.

Prior to my watch, we practiced jibbing with the whisker pole out.  We had to shift the preventer from the port to starboard.  The whisker pole is attacked to a track on the mast.  The trick was getting the pole connected to the clue of the genoa.  The reason for the practice was stronger winds and a wind shift is anticipated tonight.

My 1400 shift was a peaceful as earlier in the day.   Roy, Carlos and Kathy saw three or so dolphin while I was sleeping.  I scanned the water for dolphin activity and saw none during the two-hour shift.  I did see flying fish.  I thought they were birds.  They were a little larger than the ones we saw earlier.

We have encountered solo birds.  Typically, they circle the boat a couple of times and then fly on to wherever they are headed.  I wonder whether the birds are lost, because we are currently 300 miles from the nearest island, and roughly 1000 miles from North America.  The nearest islands headed east are the Azores, between 1500 to 1600 miles away.  That is a lot of bluewater between here and land.

Blue is the appropriate descriptor for the water.  There is lot water under us. Two miles to the bottom?  Out here the water appears untouched by human and industrial waste.  When the water is splashed up by the boat it is a light aqua color.  Looking straight down when the sky is clear the water is a deep blue.  Looking across the water there are patches of dark, almost black water.  These patches of blackish water move around and are caused by clouds.

On the evening 2200, again I was pleased to see the orange sliver of a moon.   We had changed to head more directly north.  The wind at the 35 north was forecast to be light.  Two low pressure systems were aligned such that if we motor sailed north we would pickup winds in the teens building the high twenties that would carry us several days east to the Azores.  The unknown was when we would encounter the wind shift and possibly strong winds.  Hence, I had to be vigilant and be ready for a quick sail adjustments.

The moon was now off the starboard beam.  It  appeared to be following us.  It remained of my question to my dad while we were driving at night.  As a young kid sitting in the back seat of the car, I asked “How does the moon follow us whichever direction we turn?”  I still marvel at the phenomenon.