Valis at Noon, July 26

Greetings from VALIS, sailing home.
Our noon position is latitude 23deg 18min N, longitude 157deg 52min W. We are sailing due north (true north) at a speed of about 6+ knots. The weather is good, with 12 knot winds from the northeast, patchy clouds, and warm temperatures.
Last night we got a VHF radio call from “Stray Cat Blues”, who were too far from us to be seen, but still close enough for short-range radio contact. They thought they might have seen a flare coming from our direction, and wanted to make sure we were OK, or if we had seen anything. We had seen nothing unusual but agreed to stay alert (we are all a bit anxious in the aftermath of XL’s sinking). Shortly after this, the Honolulu Coast Guard contacted Stray Cat because they had heard our conversation, and wanted more information about the possible flare sighting. On VALIS, we also spoke with the Coast Guard, and at their request ran our radar for a while, looking for any blips. Again, we saw nothing. Stray Cat thought it may have been an airplane’s lights, or it could have been the light at the top of VALIS’ mast, or any number of innocuous sources, so we aren’t particularly concerned. The Coast Guard did send out a plane to search the area, and we promised to contact them if we saw anything.
At midnight PDT, the radio net for returning Pac Cup vessels commenced, but we had to switch frequencies several times to work around other signals. The boats reporting in were California Girl, Locomotion, Spirit, Green Buffalo, Rainbow, Orizaba, Basic Instinct, Stray Cat Blues, Contessa (Contessa is returning to Hawaii due to gear failure), and of course VALIS. There was also a sailboat checking in who was returning from Lahaina, after participating in the Vic-Maui race. It was good to hear all our friends on the radio. The net is being run from the Kaneohe Yacht Club.
We started running a watch schedule last night, with four three-hour watches starting at 10:00 PM PDT. We will shift this to a 9:00PM start as we get further east. We are standing watch in first-name alphabetical order, so first up was Davey, then John, Paul, and Phil. So we aren’t stuck with the same watch every night, we rotate: Phil, who had the last watch last night, gets the first watch tonight, followed by Davey, John, and Paul. The conditions were changable last night, with periods of light winds followed by mild squalls. It was interesting to see how the swells varied throughout the night, with long periods of mild seas, in between the larger (but still moderate) seas.
Breakfast this morning was cereal topped with dried cherries, courtesy of Phil. Phil has rigged the fishing pole with a new lure we bought before we left, and he is intently trying to bring in tonight’s dinner. (I’d be happy with canned chicken… paul)
Attached is a Google Earth trackfile of our departure from Kaneohe Bay.


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