Fog Racing

It’s 0237 hrs on Tuesday morning. We have a fresh south wind and we want to go north, so we’re flying along at 6 or 7 knots. Now we’re at 36 44 n and 162 48 w : the tropics are LONG gone. Like last night, a thin fog coalesced around us a few hours after dark, but it is a bit hard to tell, except when you look up at the masthead and the navigation light is surrounded by a fuzzy glow of reflected moisture. We are sailing 335 true at 6 knots, the barometer is 1022, down 2 in 3 hrs. I think we are on the SE aspect of a small low which is hopefully heading NE. Thereafter it looks like we will have a couple of light wind days, after which we MAY get some SW breeze; looking into fantasyland. The sea temperature is down to 19 c, and so is the air temperature. I dug out the dodger aft curtain and installed it to keep the wet out of the cabin. It was last deployed as Ric and I came across the Golfo de Corcovado near Isla Chiloe, Nov 2012. With pleasure, I’ve found my wool sweaters and hats and socks. I am finally listening to audiobooks: On The Road ,read by Matt Dillon ( that can’t be right; Matt something). Anyways, Kerouac wrote, “I was going home in October. Everyone goes home in October”. Sounds good. But yesterday was warm and sunny and we sailed along under full sail , wing and wing, all day long. We saw Bulwer’s Petrels, the two spp of Albatrosses, Leach’s Storm Petrels, possibly a Herald Petrel, and likely a Kermadec Petrel, and Arctic Jaegers, harassing two storm petrels. Not so much floating debris today. Sailing fast through the fog in the N Pacific (and at night) puts me in mind of 2002 when our friends John and Barbara on Songline had a collision with a big steel squid fishing boat, and ultimately lost the boat. We have the AIS now , which I suppose a ship like that would now have (I think it was a 200′ ship), but I am not running the radar because it is so power hungry. Ridiculously, it is consoling that, because we don’t keep a careful lookout when the visibility is good, why start now; peering damply into the limited visibility. We rely on the Big Ocean/Few Boats model of collision avoidance, along with AIS. When I spoke with the three singlehander boats (Nereida,Jazz,and Distant Shores) on the radio this morning I didn’t bother mentioning the Songline incident: how could it help? Peter and Cam on Scaramouche are 260 miles west of the entrance to Juan de Fuca, reaching fast in 20- 25 knots northwest wind. Elvin on Omache, a Vancouver 27 from Saltspring Island BC ,radioed from Hanalei Bay, Kauai, Hawaii, this afternoon to let me know that he’s leaving for BC , on his own, in 4 or 5 days. That ship from last night, the ‘Guadelupe’ (callsign NLUP) who told me on the radio that they are just out here ‘doing their thing’, reappeared on the AIS again this afternoon crossing our bows at a distance of 15 miles and heading off to the SW at 15 knots, still doing their mysterious thing. They are probably on ‘Maneuvers’; explaining nothing. The AIS says that it is a 200 m tanker , but , of course, one can enter any info that one wishes into one’s AIS output. We could also present ourselves as a 200m tanker, and maybe get a little more respect out here. Koos and I are poring over the charts of the Aleutians : we are hoping to have enough time to explore ashore on Adak and perhaps a few other places between Adak and Dutch Harbor on Unalaska Island. The charts are on my little laptop using OpenCPN to view the free downloaded (months ago) NOAA charts. We are about 75 miles from the halfway point in the passage, so we will reach that later today. We will be 975 miles from both Adak and Hawaii after 8 days sailing. We’ll reach the Aleutians in another 8 days only with a LOT of luck. Rain just started, so I set up the water catchment hose and jug. Good. But now the wind has died and we are banging and rolling. That’s it from here.

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