Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Life Raft

January 27, 2010
N26 21.67 W113 54.738

Day 4 at sea. It has been a fine couple of days sailing. Two days ago we had good wind and pushed our haul speed most of the day and well into the night. 121 miles noon-to-noon. Yesterday saw some light air and even calms for a few hours ruining our average speed and our 24-hour mileage count. Thanks to our good speed the night before we still managed over 100 miles.
We saw our first two sea turtles yesterday. Still no fish though!
Yesterday we also had a small incident that reminded us of how precarious our lives aboard IO really are. She really is a life raft.
During a calm spell, we were barely moving and making less than 1 knot. It was really sunny and warm and Hyo stood up and managed to drop her hat overboard. It slowly meandered away from the boat, too fast to grab but seemingly very slowly. I quickly stripped down and dove into the cold but not freezing water and swam the 50 meters to the hat. When I arrived that the hat and turned around I managed to inhale some water and began to cough. At the same time a little breeze just happened to pick up and I could see IO slowly begin to move away. There was no trouble as Hyo was standing right there on deck and abruptly dropped the drifter while is swam back to the boat, which was now about 75-100 meters away. We have always said "if you fall off the boat, you're dead" and held this as our working principle on this voyage. Yesterdays swim reminded us that even at such slow speeds one could never catch up to a sailing boat. Of course it does not help that I am negatively buoyant and without swimming I sink like a rock! I was also abruptly obvious how out of shape I am as I huffed and puffed my way back. We were at a depth of about 3000 feet and while swimming, the image of my ghostly-white naked body sinking to the depths below sent a chill up my spine.
This past leg has also been the first time that we have been able to relax on a passage. We are getting used to our routine aboard IO. The weather has been great and there are no adverse weather warnings for the foreseeable future. The nights have been warm and the waxing moon has accompanied our night shifts with its luminous presence. We have not run the engine in 4 days now. I have not felt the stress associated with sailing when there has been a rush or urgency (weather, timelines, etc.) to reach the next port by a certain date. As we had hoped and predicted, sailing in warmer climates is so nice. I have begun to enjoy the shifts and have even been daydreaming about the longer passages that we may undertake in the future.


  1. I'm not sure I can jump overboard while underway even becalmed. Yikes!

  2. Mike, from your post it sounds like you jumped for Hyo's hat naked -" my naked white body"....
    You saved her hat while swimming naked. I thought I would never say it "how romantic!!!" my head is tilted.
    But seriously please stick to the priciples of not jumping, unless you are saving Hyo. I have a dream of seeing you again one day.....
    Miss you guys and happy sailing.