02 Mar 1000nm to Guam
Note: this was written last week but we forgot to post it. We’re now en route from Guam to Okinawa and will update the blog over the coming days.
One of the challenges we’ve had is figuring out what time it is. Apple devices, it seems, have pretty limited time zone choices. It’s a bit of a guessing game to figure out which city is in the same time zone as we are. If we can’t find one, we resort to manually setting the time. Unfortunately, this screws up the “world clock,” causing much confusion. The other morning I had to text my mom in Seattle and ask what time it was. We’re now on Efate, Vanuatu time, and all seems to be well.
The perfect conditions Clay wrote about in the last blog didn’t last. We’re using PredictWind for weather forecasting and it’s been freakishly accurate. Within minutes of the prediction of increased north winds and squalls, they arrived.
The north wind stayed with us for about 24 hours and made things a bit lively onboard. Very quickly, we went from grease-calm to 20-30 knot northerlies. Steep, confused 10-12 foot seas built. We scrambled around the boat securing things before settling in for a not-so-restful night.
We were on track to arrive with 1200 gallons of fuel and decided the bumpy night was a good time to burn some of it. We increased the throttle to 1550rpm and made 9 knots at about 9gph all night. At this speed, we still have plenty of fuel to reach Guam, but it seems wrong to be so wasteful. Once the wind and seas moved aft of the beam, we eased the throttle back to a more miserly 1300rpm and 6gph. We’re still averaging over 8 knots and have half our fuel in the tanks. Starr is an efficient boat!
We haven’t seen any traffic in many days, not even an airplane overhead. This is a lonely patch of ocean.
Whales—possibly “false killer whales”—paid us a visit the other day. They moved fast and our pictures are terrible, but they really were there! The water was so clear that we saw their dark shapes darting about beneath the surface as they followed us for a few minutes.
During the passage I’ve spent some time reading World War II history of the area—Wake Island, Guam, and Okinawa, specifically. The loss of life is staggering and impossible for me to comprehend. One of my grandfathers was stationed in Saipan during the war (the other was in England). I’ve often thought about how different our circumstances are and how easy we have it now. We’re never in doubt about where we are, whether a ship is hostile, or when we’ll talk with our loved ones again. We sleep in air-conditioned comfort, shower as frequently and as long as we’d like, wash and dry our laundry in machines, eat like kings, and each of us has our own private cabin and head. We never worry about being shot or bombed. Thank you to the previous generations who have made this possible.
As I write this, we’re more than 2/3rds of the way to Guam. The forecast for the remainder of the trip looks good. All systems are operating well. We anticipate arriving sometime during daylight on Sunday, January 26, which is Saturday the 25th in North America. We’re a little uncertain what to expect as far as arrival formalities. We’re a US-flagged vessel, everyone aboard has a US passport, and we departed from a US port. Since Guam is a US territory, is this trip the same as any other between US ports? We’ll find out in a few days!