Tues/Wed 3rd/4th August (Days 5&6) one tropic bird and one black plastic ball!
Not a lot to report these last two days ... except to say that, while there was good wind on Tuesday, the wind has slowly been dying over today to not very much (~ 7 knots by afternoon) and so the sea has calmed down and we're hardly heeling at all. Also, as the pressure has increased with getting closer to the N. Pacific High, the sky has cleared to give sunny blue skies by day - & bright Venus and lots of stars by night. Overnight on Tuesday, I spotted a brightly lit boat about 3-4 miles astern which was not showing on my AIS screen, only on radar.... A time I'm glad I'm transmitting on AIS, in case they have that. Either way, it seemed to keep well clear & I presumed, from its behaviour, that it was a fishing boat. Most commercial ships should be transmitting on AIS.
I've been so much more relaxed in the pleasant, warm conditions - gradually shaking out reefs and unfurling the headsails to keep our speed up, but eventually having to start the motor to increase our speed from around 3 knots - not something I'll be able to do the next time I pass this way headed north, since that will be purely under sail - hopefully by next May, as I head back to Victoria, B.C., to complete my RTW attempt - fingers crossed!! I've even been relaxed enough to enjoy reading a novel ('Midshipman Bolitho' - by Alexander Kent - fascinating - and following on nicely from the first three I've not long finished in the Patrick O'Brien series, set in the same era). It's also been calm enough for some proper cooking of evening meals (I still have onions and potatoes from N.Z., .... possibly from Cape Town...!). Things will change within a few days, once the High is south of us, I'm sure! But the good news for the moment is that we seem to have a small fair current - our SOG is slightly greater than our boatspeed - always nice to see!
I caught the occasional glimpse of a quite large bird gliding in the distance yesterday - but it never came close enough to the boat to see if it's an albatross or not - I've heard people say they've seen them when on passage here but I wouldn't like to say what this bird was. At least in the Southern Ocean the albatrosses come right up to the boat so you can identify them easily. But a lovely white Tropic bird did pass by for a short time just before midday today, inspected the boat and dived for a fish, before flying off.
I got all excited this evening just around sunset - I spotted quite a large ball floating on the surface of the sea - but when I circled around to close on it, it turned out to be a large black plastic float and not the glass ball I was hoping for. It had obviously been floating for a time, with lots of gooseneck barnacles hanging down from under it. I'll keep looking while the sea's calm.... it would be nice to find an old glass float and, by all reports, they do still seem to be around.
DMG: Tues: 132 n.ml. Wed: 138 n.ml. (Shortest distance to Port Townsend, by Great Circle route to the Strait of Juan de Fuca: 1770 n.ml. at noon )
I'm not able to head directly for the Strait of Juan de Fuca yet because the wind direction is still from the E, so our COG is only just E of due north still. Once we're a bit further north, the winds should veer to the SW around the High and then we'll be able to change to a better course.