Day 586: Life at sea

After some much-needed weight distribution the crew of Egret are in a reflective mood en route to Easter Island

Position:  S31 16.17 W91 55.08 

Scott (YT) and Mary Flanders (MS) left Gibraltar on 16 September 2006, and we’ll be following their journey every step of the way, thanks to this unique online “blog”. For a complete list of all the couple’s blog entries click here 

After some much-needed weight distribution the crew ofEgretare in a reflective mood en route to Easter Island

Firstly, over the last few weeks we have received a number of forum questions, perhaps you should give these a peek to see if any of your own questions are answered. Secondly, pictures from Robinson Crusoe island will be uploaded soon.

Tuesday 22 April am
It is just after daybreak. We spent last night and early this morning comfortably riding largish waves down sea with winds in the mid-twenties. It was a beautiful night with a full moon and a few stars, including the Southern Cross. At first light with the moon still high to the west a mature wandering albatross sailed acrossEgret’sbow turning its 11ft wingspan vertically at the height of its climb, before swooping back down to the waves. It would have been an impossible photograph but the mental snapshot of that majestic bird’s vertical wings just below the full moon will be etched into my memory banks forever. I just wish Mary and Frank could have seen it.

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At sea our updates change. Things become simpler and more focused to the daily routine and running of the boat. We have a lot of time to think and muse without distraction. It is peaceful and relaxing. Such simple pleasures as seeing a single bird in flight, the moon on the water, the Southern Cross and other small items give us great satisfaction. This is all so uncomplicated, simple and rewarding. A welcome respite after all the years surviving the battles we all fight, climbing the mountains we had to climb to be where we are, when we are. Not bad my friends.

The price we paid for last night’s comfort is that we are now moving more north than we should to keep near our WNW rhumbline to Easter Island. We are having to use tactics our world cruising sailboat first cousins have employed for years. We are working the sea sets to make landfall in the shortest and most comfortable way. It isn’t often we can’t simply put in our waypoints and pull the trigger.

The first item we missed was the tiny Podesta Island marked by a triangle and warnings on our C-Map charts. Podesta Island is south of the normal sailboat route to Easter Island, however most sailboats don’t run a laptop full-time under way, much less radar, saving electricity and could well miss the charting, possibly running into the island at night if they happened to be south. We were within 18nm but couldn’t mark the island on radar in the high seas so it must be a very small, low island.

Jimmy Cornell’s, is the gathering point for all long distance cruisers looking for information about different locations and it is a great planning tool if you aren’t familiar with the site.

This morning’s chore is to transfer as much of the foredeck fuel as possible (there are 150 gallons in total) to the port tank and two empty jerry jugs. This will remove over 1100lbs of high weight off the foredeck and it is something we want to do before running cross sea to make our westing. It will be a three-person job. Mary will run the boat, Frank will hold an umbrella over the transom protecting the Baja filter from seawater splashes, and I will pump the fuel using an electric pump siphon to speed things up. We’ll let you know how we get on.

Tuesday 22 April late afternoon
It worked and all went well. The fuel was spotless with zero debris in the filter. We are very happy to have that 1100lbs of high weight below in the main tank where it belongs. We are currently running a rhumbline course to Easter Island without diverting for a better ride. The seas roaring past are intimidating but behaving themselves at the moment. We’ll see what night-time brings.

Wednesday 23 April (daybreak)
We were able to continue on our rhumbline course to Easter with smooth sailing in the early part of the evening, with wind and seas picking up around 2am. The wind is blowing between the mid 20s and low 30s consistently with a bit lower and higher occasionally. As we move into early morning the seas have increased proportionally and rain showers are marching by on 12-mile radar. Fortunately they are following seas.

Whichever great navigator first named this ocean Pacific, (placid, tranquil, calm) must have been jacked up on Mountain Dew, Mount Gay or perhaps a bit of Jamaican weed. They certainly had an altered mind.

Our buddies on N47 Bluewater leave today from their winter port of Barcelona, Spain on a two-day trip north. OMNI Bob suggested they hold up a day to let weather pass and they readily took his advice. The Golfe du Lyon is no place to take a chance this early in the season. They have so much to look forward to with their planned itinerary this summer.

Frank has been improving his fishing skills, as you can see in the top picture, his first catch was a nice fat little tunny. The bottom picture shows Frank holding an umbrella over me while we pump fuel from the foredeck bladder through a Baja Filter into the port tank. Note the building sea in the background.

A few more days in the life – ciao.



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