Here you will find tales of voyages past and present on our trusty Pacific Seacraft Dana 24, "Sockdolager," and our Bigfoot29 powerboat, "Raven," from Port Townsend, Washington, USA. In 2009 we sailed north from Puget Sound up the west coast of Vancouver Island to the Queen Charlotte Islands (now called Haida Gwaii.) In 2010 we went back to the west coast of Vancouver Island. In July 2011 we left the Northwest, sailed to Mexico, and in March 2012 we crossed the Pacific to French Polynesia, then on to the Cooks, Niue and Tonga. We spent several months in New Zealand, and in May 2013 loaded Sockdolager (and ourselves) on a container ship for San Francisco. In June and July 2013 we sailed north along the California, Oregon and Washington coasts, and in August we arrived home. In October 2016, Sockdolager found new owners, and we began cruising on Raven, a unique wooden 29' powerboat. In 2018 we cruised up to Glacier Bay, Alaska, and back. But in 2024 we had the chance to buy Sockdolager back (we missed her), so we sold Raven. We hope you enjoy reading about our adventures as much as we enjoy having them. (And there will be more.)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Bounding Main

Pacific Crossing, Day 9: Overcast, cool, still a mixed 10-foot swell but at least it's down from the 12+ we've had. Sockdolager is averaging 107 miles per day, which makes us happy. Winds are lighter today, but we're still moving well under reefed main and nearly full genoa, wing-and-wing.

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

1 comment:

  1. Tracy Lorraine SmothMarch 22, 2012 at 7:24 AM

    MJO, Madden Julien Occilation, a large tropical convective mass, is going by, hopefully your sailing will quiet down now. Tracy lorraine