12 Feb Day 4 | Going with the Flow
The first few days of a passage are often the hardest. It takes a little while for the body to adjust to constant motion, strange sleeping patterns, new noises. My mind takes a few days to adjust, too. Do we have everything we need? Is that belt throwing off more dust than it should? What about the generator, is it running too warm? Are the fuel filters starting to clog up?
Over the course of a few days, I get comfortable with the machinery. We do engine room checks at least every three hours, sniffing, searching, and recording data points in the process. This serves two purposes: first, it allows us to (hopefully) identify problems early, when they’re more easily fixed. Second, it gives us confidence that the boat is running as it should. When we’re a thousand miles offshore, nothing helps me sleep better than knowing Starr is ticking away like a Swiss watch.
Here’s a short video showing what conditions are like out here:
Speaking of ticking like a watch, Starr’s pilothouse is so quiet that the ticking of the engine hour meter is one of the few audible intrusions. With the pilothouse doors open, which they are most of the time, the sounds of waves rolling under the boat drowns out any machinery noise. With the doors closed, the engine is nearly silent. A couple of times I’ve awoken startled, thinking the engine had died completely. It hadn’t, it’s just that quiet.
We go through five time zones and cross the international date line on this journey. We’ve decided to set ship’s time back one hour for each 15 degrees of longitude we travel. This should keep each watch at about the same “sun time” every day, and by the time we get to Guam we’ll be adjusted to local time. Our current time zone is “UTC -11.” We don’t think there’s any land on the planet that’s on the same time zone.
As we get into the passagemaking groove, we’re starting to tackle small projects that we never seemed to have time for at home. Organizing fasteners and adhesives, fixing cranky door latches, things like that. We’re also reading, catching up on internet stuff, FaceTiming with our families, and listening to podcasts. It’s relaxing and peaceful but not boring.
Clay making a logbook entry while Don and Sharry FaceTime…thanks Starlink!
We do have a problem: Boobies. They congregate on deck overnight, leaving unwelcome gifts for us in the morning. After scrubbing the decks today, we’ll rig some lines from the flybridge to the bow and stern to hopefully deter them from landing.
Traffic and trash have both been light. Today we saw one floating plastic water bottle. We haven’t had a radar or AIS target since the first night out of Honolulu. No balloons or UFOs even!
Conditions have mellowed out over the last few days and we’re enjoying a very comfortable downhill ride. We’ve throttled back to 1300rpm, which gives us about 8 knots over the ground at less than 6gph thanks to a little boost from the current and waves. If this holds, we’ll arrive with 1000+ gallons still in the tanks. All systems are functioning well and the weather forecast looks like more of the same. 650nm down, 2650nm to go, and in no rush to get there. Life is good!