Thursday, July 03, 2008

Day n+4, Thursday, July 3, by Bob

It's yesterday again! I'm not sure whether we crossed the international date line yet, but I changed to Attu time and date. The international date line makes a jag to include Attu with the rest of the U.S. When we cross the date line again, we should be able to see ourselves a few days earlier coming across from the other direction.

It is Oklahoma Time minus 4, or UTC-9. It's also the same day as Oklahoma. We've been calling Steve for a few days telling him (or trying to) Happy Birthday, because we're not sure what time or day it is here or there. Happy Birthday, Steve!

We are at 40°41'N 175°39'E, 728 miles south of Agattu Island and 751 miles south of Attu Island. It's 56 degrees outside. The water temperature is 56.8. Wind is 11 knots from the east. We're going 8.2 knots, mostly north. I just heard it's 97 degrees at home.

Monday, we arrived at the seamount in the middle of the night. Everybody was sleeping except me. Nothing came up on the depth finder under 1500 feet deep. In fact, nothing came up on the depth finder at all. I drove around for about an hour looking for some sign of shallow water, but there was nothing. So I turned north and we didn't anchor or dive.

From there, the wind picked up and we started going fast for a day or so. Later, the wind died. We got ambitious and decided to put up the middle-size spinnaker, Thumper. As is our normal practice, we bungled the sock-raising. The sock is the sail cover that slides up to the top of the sail. It makes it easier to raise and lower the spinnaker. If done properly. Which we don't.

Anyway, we went fast for a while -- around 10 knots average for a day or so. The wind picked up and we took down the spinnaker. Although it was a creative spinnaker-dousing, we did manage to keep the sail out of the water.

Sometime in the middle of all this, a light light lit on the watermaker. When I was down in the engine room, I noticed the steering gearbox was coming loose. One of the bolts had pulled through the wood it was mounted to. Since that could be a rather important failure, we spent some time fixing it. We took down the sails and disconnected the rudder. The fix was easy, but it was in a place hard to get to, and it was really hard to get the bolt out, so it took a few hours. It would have been fun to kayak while we were stopped, but the waves were pretty tall. Now we can steer a bit more accurately, but there is still a red light on the watermaker.

For a quite a while we were doing over ten knots in around 30 knots of wind. The wind and waves were coming from behind, so the ride was relatively comfortable. Then we crossed a cold front. Or, more accurately, a cold front crossed us, because the weather moves faster than the boat. At any rate, we lost our big wind and it got cloudy and rainy. It's been cloudy ever since.

The wind is supposed to be medium to light over the next few days, which means a comfortable but slower trip into Attu.

Melinda broke out the piano a couple of days ago, and we've all been playing. Mike caught a cool looking fish, a short-billed spearfish, about 5 feet long. We also caught a couple of dolphin (the fish, not the porpoise), 11 and 13 pounds. Yesterday evening a school of dolphin (the porpoise, not the fish) came up and followed the boat for a little while.

Last night I was the only one awake. I went outside to let a sail out a little. Just after I moved the sail, I heard some holler "Hey!" That was odd. Nobody was up but me. I yelled back, but no answer. So, I thought I better find out if everybody was still on the boat. I stuck my head in the bedrooms and asked if Mike, Josh, and Melinda they were in there.

It turned out that I had a movie playing, and the outside speakers were turned on. I had heard someone in the movie yell. They wonder about me sometimes.

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