Our weatherfaxes showed that the big seas of late may have been from an unusual-looking combination of extratropical cyclone (closed isobars, winds labeled "Hurr Force") in the North Pacific, and what looked like a "squash zone" of high winds (squeezed isobars) between two weather systems further south of it, but well north of here. With all that activity in the North Pacific it's no wonder the seas reached us way down here at 13 degrees north latitude. Seas can travel very far, and in an era of "Global warming means local storming," as one climate scientist puts it, traveling seas could make any big storm larger than local in effect. I've wondered with no little trepidation what the effects of global warming might be on our voyage.
Interestingly, Conrad's "Mirror of the Sea" refers in the 1870s, to a regular 3-year wind change on open oceans, perhaps an early reference to a more regular El Nino/La Nina? Anyway, this is the end of a La Nina cycle, so we expected more boisterous winds.
One of the blue-footed boobies flying along with us (yes there appear to be two species) managed to land on our big solar panel, but it's slick as ice. When the boat rolled, the booby slid off and went Plop! into the water. The only thing injured was its pride. I laughed out loud. Emboldened, others tried to land but we shooed them off with a rattle of the fishing pole alongside the solar panel.
With all this cloud cover, our batteries are low. Participating in the nightly Puddle Jump Net means a draw of 15-25 amps when transmitting. We don't want to have to reach up there to clean booby poop off the solar panel so our batteries can charge... see how this stuff works? We haven't yet signed into the Pacific Seafarer's Ham Net because 1) it can take nearly an hour for roll call, 2) the battery draw would double, and 3) it's during prime sleep time before my midnight-to-four watch. Maybe later we'll sign into it, but for now we're on the Pacific Puddle Jump Net every night at 0200 Zulu time, channel 8A.
There's good news! As of yesterday, convection in the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) has stopped west of about 123 degrees. There's some wind instead, which means a window for boats already there, like Estrellita. Of course the ITCZ can change overnight, so a boat can only aim and hope. Pandeon, a 64-foot cutter, is already across the Equator. With all this overcast maybe there is less heating by the sun, which might mean less convection in the ITCZ (my conjecture.) Maybe there'll be a window for us, too! Keep your fingers crossed.
Sent via Ham radio