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Saturday, December 4, 2010

11/26/2010 - Day 5 underway

At 0640 (N25*44.66' W113*24.76') the sky is almost totally clear. It's sunny and the winds are down in what I estimate as the 5-10 knot range. It's still cool, though. We're wishing and hoping for that weather change we've heard and read about. The one where the foul weather gear comes off and the t-shirts and shorts go on. Of course, it is almost the end of November. We're 68 nm from the closest land.

At 0930 the wind was so light that the A/P couldn't steer. Doused the jib and started the engine since the batteries needed charging anyway. By 1100 it was flat out beautiful. Nice and sunny and the seas, while not flat, were at least not too bad. Lulu's down below cooking breakfast if you can believe it. I think she had a bowl of cereal but she made me an egg/cheese/jalapeño quesadilla. Yummers. We've been using instant coffee on this trip because it's easy to do even when things are really ugly. However, we used more than anticipated and, unfortunately, ran out. Been settling for tea since. But today, things were calm enough that she made me a cup of real coffee. Ah, what a treat!

Due to varying wind conditions, we sailed some, motored some and motor-sailed some throughout the day. But, looking at the log, it looks like we mostly motorsailed all night. At one point, during Lulu's 2100-0000 watch she summoned me on deck. She thought we might have enough wind to sail but it turned out not to be so. Oh well, at least we're trying.

Also during this watch, Lulu saw a comet. Said she thought it could have been a flare so she jotted down our coordinates at the time (N24*54.15' W112*44.10'). Talking to her later, I'm pretty sure it wasn't a flare as it didn't go up, arch over and then fall back down. Rather it started in the sky off our starboard bow and shot right to left until it fizzled out in front of the boat. It was way bigger than the stars. Not taking nearness into account, it appeared to be about 1/4 the size of the moon. Bright orange ball with a long orange tail. "Looked just like all the pictures you see of Halley's Comet." Wish I'd seen it.

Speaking of watches: the 2-1/2 watch rotation worked out so well that we increased it to 3 hours. That gives the off-watch 2-1/2 hours of solid sleep with a half hour to prepare to go on watch. Only problem is that 3 hours on watch in the middle of a calm night can get pretty boring. I'm still not really comfortable with spending very much time below when on watch, even when we're over 20 miles offshore.

At midnight we shut everything down long enough to add a pint of oil to the transmission. Yes, the seal is still leaking.

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