July 29 – Squalls, Sun, Moon, and Birds

Latitude: 23 deg, 34 min N Longitude: 156 deg, 51 min W
It is now 3:30PM PDT on our second day of the return voyage. Skys are mixed clouds and sun,and the seas remain relatively calm. Wind is about 15 kts from the west. We are sailing on a course of 010 degrees magnetic, at about 6.5 kts.
All crew is feeling good, and we have been able to eat, sleep, and stand watch and actually enjoy it. During the day we have no fixed watch schedule — we use the honor system to make sure that someone is always topsides, and the rest of us lounge around, clean up, prepare meals, etc. From the hours of 9:00PM to 9:00AM (PDT) we each take a three-hour watch. So we aren’t stuck with the same watch every night, we have a daily rotation. Last night the watch order was: Rich, Carl, Paul, and Dick. Tonight it will be: Dick, Rich, Carl, Paul.
The days have been warm and mostly sunny, and that means we get squalls — usually during the evening. So far these have been moderate. Last night we reefed the genoa during one squall, and we left it reefed until sunrise. We lost a little speed, but it was more comfortable and easier to handle. The nearly-full moon illuminated the sea and sky for most of the night, occasionally hiding behind the clouds.
Last night for several hours a large bird was flying around our masthead, making pass after pass trying to land on the windvane. There’s a bunch of stuff sticking up at the masthead, and I suspect this is why the bird never succeeded in landing. Dick and I were careful to keep our mouths closed while we watched.
While we left Kaneohe using the hydraulic/electric autopilot, this morning we switched over to the Monitor windvane. It’s doing a great job, and not using any electrical power to do it.
The weather pattern looks favorable for a Seattle landfall, so that is the working destination. At this point in the voyage we would be sailing the same course whether we were heading for Seattle or San Francisco, so I remain flexible.
Aloha, Paul / VALIS

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