Pacific Cruising

Greetings from the ‘cruising phase’. We are motoring in convoy with Jamaica and Garmin. It’s not been much of a cruise so far – we’ve been ‘deep- cleaning’ from am to noon every day, and the days are too hot for work, the nights too stifling for sleep.
We DID stop for a swim yesterday – at about six pm we had a ‘drift-up’, rather
than a raft-up, with the other boats, and we were all able plunge into the deep and incredibly blue and clear Pacific. It wasn’t exactly cool, at about 32C, but it was refreshing enough after a day sweating in the bilges. Garmin are clearly the party boat in our group – they were doing tube rides in their dinghy, and had their whisker pole set up for people to swing from the end of before plunging seaward. A post dinner quizz between the three boats ended the evening – despite pooling all that remains of our collective intelligence, we only managed a draw with Jamaica. We did see more amazing shooting stars and lightning flashes as we all gathered round the handheld VHF at the helm, straining to hear the questions. The waxing gibbous moon cast enough light to make a horizon, and Maaike and I made a few desultory attempts at bringing Sirius down to it with the sextant, until we both figured we had horrible schedules with midnight and 2pm wakeups. So we retired early and claimed some bunks in the newly cleaned forpeak, where our trusty, much patched, windscoop makes at least some breeze.
Today we had a minor engine room flood, as one of the hoses escaped from it’s connection while we were running the fire-hose to wash floorboards. Ryan says he will never forget the look on my face as I opened the engine room door to receive a spray of salt water all over me, and to see the water level almost to the bottom of the engine itself. He thinks it’s funny that I immediately slammed the door shut again, but if I hadn’t the engine would have happily sprayed the Pacific Ocean all over James’ bunk and everything else. Eric managed an impressive display of calm, reclining on his foredeck throne – the folded staysail – and observing as we hastily stopped the engine, bailed with buckets, and pumped with the portable whale bilge pump as the fixed one refused to work. We washed everything down with our precious freshwater, and no harm was done, the water reached neither the air intake nor the electrics. Whew!
Sea life continues to entertain us – leaping manta rays being the latest addition to the show. Our tuna the other day was absolutely delicious – the best, freshest sashimi I have ever tasted. The chilling overnight in the cool box was brilliant, eating it warm just didn’t seem appealing. We had another avian visitor too – a little finch, who had misplaced himself 2 hundred or so miles form the nearest land. He perched on the mainsheet for hours, then the guardwires, before hopping under a coil of sheet hanging from a winch to hide for the night. ALthough in the morning he ate some bread and water, he didn’t last long, and sadly we had to bury him at sea rather than taking him with us to Panama.
And talking of Panama, we were really hoping to be calling in at Golfito, Costa Rica, for fuel tomorrow. But now we learn that we and Derry will only get to hang around outside the harbor while Old Pulteney takes in the Jerry cans we have collected from our motoring mates, as well as our own. Could Clipper make it any more clear which boats they don’t like? We are SO frustrated that get to waste the time going to Golfito but we don’t even get to go ashore for supplies when we get there!
At least today has been cloudy, with some refreshing bursts of rain, so we are a little less sweltering and salty than we were yesterday. From Team HLFiftyYOPS, soon to leave the Pacific behind.

One thought on “Pacific Cruising

  1. I like the bit about Eric reclining on his foredeck throne!
    As for the favouritism, I have had plenty to say to a some of your followers. I am disgusted by the changing rules for some, and finishing lines! I would have thought that Clipper, on the world stage, would operated in a more sportsmanlike way and show more ‘proper behaviour’!
    Go show ’em team!

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