Monday, April 12, 2010

Day 14, two weeks at sea and we are approaching the crux.

Position 08 49 N 124 37 W. DMG = 104 miles/24 hours

Four yellow tuna swimming by my keel,
One bit my hook, and what a delicious meal.
Three yellow tuna swimming by my keel,
One bit my flying fish, and spun out my reel.
Two yellow tuna swimming by my keel,
With a squid off the deck, I'll get you for real.
True story and to be continued!

We have had 4 yellowfin tuna following us for a couple of days now. I caught the first one yesterday and we ate it. Then all day yesterday the remaining three taunted and tempted me by swimming so close but not taking any hooks that I offered. They were swimming so close to the boat that I finally got the spear gun out. But after several hours of just waiting for the perfect shot alas I gave up. The tricky buggers would stay just out of range. This morning I used one of the many flying fish that we find on deck each morning as bait and as soon as my hook hit the water a big tuna hit. The reel began to spin out as fast as it could but unfortunately the drag device on the reel malfunctioned and the fish spun out my entire 80 lbs test line before I could get a glove on to stop it. I guess I'll have to wait until tomorrow morning before I'll have more flying fish. We did find a squid on top of the sun awning (how they get there is still beyond me) so this evening I'll try my luck again. Yesterday we also got a big strike and had a fish break the 80 lbs test like it was nothing, big fish!. As I write this, I can look over and see a 40-50 lbs tuna, swimming in the crystal clear water about 4 meters from me. Just swimming, darting, mocking!

Yesterday I watched the clouds for hours upon hours. Our motion has become more regular and the wind consistent. Since leaving La Cruz, Mexico, we have now sailed over 2700 km. We have not run our engine for two weeks now. As Hyo mentioned, we are nearing the Intertropical Convergence Zone. If you look at a map of the Pacific Ocean, the wind north of the equator circles in a big clockwise direction producing the Northeast trade winds, and South of the equator the reverse is true. The catch is that in the middle there is an area of low pressure called the equatorial trough or ITCZ or more frequently, the doldrums. In this area, the weather is hot, humid and the wind is non-existent except during the frequent local squalls that can produce strong but short-lived winds, lightning and very heavy rain. These local thunder heads (Cumulus nimbus cloud formations) march across the vast horizon in a daily procession to produce an amazing array of atmospheric wonders. Yesterday we watched as several squalls rolled by us or over us, either blessing us with wind and a touch of rain or leaving us in a windless void. Out here with the horizon so vast, one can see several local squalls at any given time. The entire succession of cloud formation, thunderhead building, rain, and final dissemination can be observed repeatedly. Particularly spectacular is when the light hits the rain from a distance and produces rainbows under the squalls. Yesterday at I witnessed three independent rainbow illuminated cells wander across the sky, all missing us by several miles.
The ITCZ is currently about 500 miles wide and considering that we only have enough fuel to motor about 250, by necessity, we must use these fluky winds to get us through.


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