Friday - We leave the Tropics - just sailed north of 23.5N - the Tropic of Cancer
We've had a good ride so far ... Last night, the sea was calm and reflected the near-full moon - a lovely sight.
Ever since yesterday, when the wind died, it has stayed light, with seas to match. Just as well, since what wind there has been has come mainly from the NW quadrant - our general heading.
Having spent a lot of time downloading grib weather files and plenty of weather-faxes, plus info from ham friends via morning Radio Nets, I've come to the conclusion that I have no choice but to head up, mainly under motor, the long Baja coast. The plan was to head west to find good wind around the High pressure area offshore to take us northwest initially.... But with an increasing region of very light wind over the coming days, it was going to be impossible to get well offshore sailing and I'm not keen to use too much fuel at the beginning of my trip.
Instead, we'll head up the Baja against very light winds, motoring a lot but with mainsail hoisted - ready to take any wind advantage possible, together with the genoa (big headsail) whenever possible, as well. It's surprising how a little bit of motor produces a fair amount of apparent wind and so helps boat speed a lot when close-hauled (tight on the wind). So long as the wind is light it works well and, often, coming off the wind a tad, just to fill the genoa and get it working, makes for a big increase in speed - the gain is worth going off course slightly, even though it has to be made up at some point.
I plan to re-fuel in Turtle Bay, 300 miles NW, and I'm hoping that, slightly offshore there, the winds will allow me to sail west - as originally planned. So the forecasts seem to show might be possible - but nearer the time, all will be made clear. Sailors have to learn to be patient ... and planning always needs to be flexible .
In these gentle conditions, under a sunny sky but with noticeably lower temperatures, I've been catching up on emails ... and catching up on sleep also.
Fortunately, most of the busy shipping has been 30 miles offshore from us - giving no cause for concern when I take a nap. AIS is such a blessing - I 'see' the ships and they 'see' me - from a long way off...
I was delighted yesterday to spot a shearwater around sunset. I'd assumed the bird I saw, as I was adjusting the sails, was a booby, looking for an overnight roosting place and was surprised when it made no attempt to land on the boat - until I realised my mistake. I saw lots of similar ones in the Southern Ocean, especially around the S. Atlantic, and so this bird looked very familiar in the fading light of a glorious sunset.