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Sunday, October 30

At 7:30 last night, I was napping and Gail was at the helm when all of a sudden the main engine stopped its usual purr and pilot-hourse alarms started blaring. With flashlight in hand, the problem was confirmed: a drifting fish net had wrapped into our propeller and choked the engine. I tried cutting it loose by the light of a flashlight in one hand and a knife in the other, while holding my breath. It soon became apparent that we should wait for morning. We drifted through the night and early this morning pulled out the scuba gear. By 6:30 we were cut loose and, thankfully, there was no apparent damage to the engine, transmission or drive shaft. We were off, again.

At 7 a.m., we are at 29 04N 139 08W, steering 68 degrees true at 7.5 knots.

While suiting up with the diving gear, we noticed a little shearwater had landed in the cockpit for a little rest. Maybe it was our good-luck charm.

Lots of excitement.

Wednesday, October 26

At 9:30 a.m. we are at 25 53N 148 36W, steering 066 true at 6.8 knots. At last, it looks like we have shaken the curse of running against the trade-wind current. Our Flo Scan fuel computer gives continuous readings of miles per gallon, and the result varies remarkably depending on wind, waves and current. Today's favorable sea conditions are giving us 1.5 knots better speed at a lower fuel-burn rate.

This morning, we boated two more mahi mahi. The typical mahi gives us four to six meal-sized packages. One of today's fish produced 16. It must have been a good hunter--it certainly was a good fighter.

When we shut down the main engine this morning, to check the oil, we enjoyed having stabilizers powered by a five horsepower electric motor. We were running with the wing engine for power and the generator indirectly powering the stabilizers. This is a feature that brother John designed and we installed. Our new 57 has a hydraulic pump on both the main and wing engines.

Before leaving Hawaii, we barbecued and froze several packages of chicken and steaks, making meals much simpler to prepare. The pre-cooked meat plus some Costco entrées were particularly handy when the seas were uncooperative.

The weather is beautiful and all is going well.

Kind regards,

Dick and Gail

 

Tuesday, October 25

At 9:30 Tuesday morning, we are at 24 56N 151 01W. Wind and waves are 20 degrees off the starboard bow. This is giving us better speed and fuel burn compared to right on the nose, where it was until last night.

Rain squalls are washing salt off the boat, so far today. We are
alternating three-hour watches from 7 p.m. to 1 p.m. In the afternoon, we are doing informal watches, depending on chores.

It has been too rough for fishing since our first day out of Hawaii. But,
we did catch enough fish for 12 dinners, so we are not doing without.

 

Monday, October 24

At 9:30 a.m. we are at 24 05N 153 05W, steering 045 true. Skies are sunny, but it hard to say what the cold front shown on this morning's weather chart will bring. We had quite a bit of rain last night.

A bulk carrier bound for the far east from Panama crossed in front of us around midnight. We picked it up on radar eight miles out, talked to the skipper, slowed and altered our course to let him pass.

All is ok, here.

 

Sunday, October 23

At 9 a.m., we are at 23 13N 155 06W. By 7:30 this morning, we had pulled our sea anchor and hopped back on the great-circle route that takes us just south of Catalina Island. The long arm of a North Pacific cold front made seas uninviting, yesterday morning, so we got to practice our first deployment of our sea anchor. It kept us pointed into the wind and larger swells, but waves from other directions kept us rolling around. It worked best when the weather was at its worst, 35 knots wind and 15-foot seas. Retrieval went fine, although pulling the 24-foot parachute, 400 feet of one-inch line, shackles, swivels and all gave a pretty good upper-body workout. Local marine weather reported that the cold front had stalled out.
They were wrong.

We are experiencing the same conditions as when we crossed to Hawaii, but from the opposite direction. Wind, waves and current are right on the nose, instead of following our craft. The result is slower progress toward Dana Point. Nonetheless, the ride is comfortable and all is well.

It will be interesting to see how the additional heft and range of our new 57, to be named Ice Dancer II, compares to the 50.

We were unable to made contact last night with the Pacific Seafarers Net (YOTREPS). Maybe ham-radio-band conditions will be better, tonight.

Kind regards,

Dick and Gail

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