PAC Voy Day 11-14

Eleven Days and Officially half way there but don’t hold us to it as we still need to cross the doldrums.
So, you’ve heard of the doldrums just like you’ve heard of the trade winds…..but what are they.
South at the equator we have what we sailors call the ITCZ or the weather man calls the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone. This zone loosely follows the equator (around the world) and separates two different weather systems. Northern Hemisphere and the Southern Hemisphere. The trade winds follow the equator east to west but each end up there following a system that pushes from their respective poles.
The trade winds are very consistent and much the reason sailors make their way around the world East to west.
The doldrums are the zone of no wind that separates the trades. That area was known to drive the old sailor crazy drifting for days without a puff in the air.

Sea Bella is only about 200 miles from the ITCZ and we are planning our crossing. This means looking at lots of weather predictions and trying to determine where it is the narrowest. Fortunately for us, we hired a professional to help us with this and we are approaching the ITCZ between squalls and into a window that will allow us to sail across. Once we are south of the equator our weather systems will trend from the South east and our spring will become fall and we will be Shellbacks not pollywogs. (Google it) Lol
Ponder this, in the northern hemisphere Hurricanes turn counter clockwise, in the southern Hemisphere the Typhoon’s turn Clockwise. As do the toilet bowls swishing counter clockwise in the north and clockwise in the south as well. 😉

We saw our first squall coming, and saw it on Radar!!

In other happenins’
Two of our friends Ciel on SV Auryn and Dirk on Moin are dropping off fuel for that boat that lost his mast south of Socorro.
Travis on Niniwahini is slowly going to make his way back to Mexico. His wife and kids were dropped off in Oahu.
We applaud our fellow cruisers and anyone lending a hand to this family.

Fun facts: Masked Booby (I had been misspelling this bird for 2 years!) His name means bobo or fool, for their silly looking mating dances. (Have not seen it yet) I have been watching these birds for a week now, darting and playing in the big winds for hours, never diving for food and never fishing from in the water like I have seen.

This perplexed me, so I learned that these white and black boobies eat the flying fish and flying squid we see daily, at NIGHT!
Also seen during our night watches with the same dietary likes, is the Galapagos Petral,  endangered by the way.

Boat Chore Facts: after yesterday’s 5 big rain squalls (not wind events) it was necessary to air out the deck lines and a few cockpit pillows. Scott and I noticed a strange dank smell in the galley and salon area. I took out all bedding and aired them in the 2 knot breeze. I rolled up our wool rug and aired it out. I checked all cupboards for leaks then, OMG! Scott says, “its a fishy smell”.

Sea Bella has 3 common, metal hood vents covering small manual fan vents for the salon and cabin.  I continued my hunt on the foredeck. A large squid had propelled himself up 7 feet and “hole in one” landed right into the hood vent! I am glad we found that stinky thing today.
Boat facts: Last night 8pm sharp, while Scott was on the SSB net, Kathy pulled in all the sails and got us underway. Looking at the weather, this may continue 2 days.  But its perfect for our Equator crossing tomorrow morning!

3/31/23 Sea Bella has crossed the Equator! This morning Neptune gifted us 12ks of breeze at 4am and we sailed briskly across. No swimming for us but we had fun making our time honored celebration in our transformation from Slimy Pollywogs to Shellbacks, see silly video on Facebook. Probably a very different ceremony than Scott’s Dad had on a Submarine 50 years ago.

A number of boat friends, back in Mexico decided to do an equator crossing secret sailor gift exchange. Sadie picked us!! Chocolates and a great green fish lure!

Pac Voy, Days 9-11

Day 9: We’re amazed at Sea Bella and how many miles she has taken us in the last 24 hrs, 181km! She loves the sailing conditions. And now only 770 km to the equator, woop, woop. We needed to run the generator a few hours today. When its overcast, our solar panels can’t keep up, batteries need charging. Making water is much quicker since we replaced the 8gal/hr system with a 40gal/hr one. However, a water hose that was next to the generator (which we hardly ever use) leaned into a belt and caused a hole….., so head down into the engine room to replace the piece of hose before we spray too much water all over the engine room.  Not a fun place to be when its rolley.
Kathy did a quick stainless wipe down of the sea salt, as it creates rust spots very quickly. Scott did a spot check on foredeck for any chaffing, all good except a rubbed spot on our Genoa sheet. Kathy did quick inventory of fruits and vegs=about 1/2  left, but most looking a bit sad. Banana bread is on the list for tomorrow,

How many sleeping locations and positions do we try before we just give up and go listen to audible or watch a movie? Well… on rolly seas, on a slight port tack, its best to wedge yourself somewhere starboard. However, which way, head to stern? Which side? Belly or back? Cockpit or cabin? Nothing really stops you from sliding 3 inches, back and forth either way you lay. Kathy tried a few new positions that didn’t work, one is feet flexed on starboard hull to keep from sliding down. She made 2 perfect beds in the cockpit last night, then it started raining! AGGG! Not complaining here, just saying.

Btw, the Banana nut raisin muffins turned out scrumptious! Scott learned about using radar for upcoming precipitation, how and where we will enter the northern edges of the ITCZ in 3-4 days.
-How can there be so many birds out here? And why are they fighting above us.

  • Damn! This ocean is big.
    -Will the rain wash the poop off the sail?
    -How can I see the next squall coming? That was really spooky at 2am.
    -Are we out of Vegetables yet? I knew I was giving up on Alcohol but man Kathy is trying to make me a vegetarian. (Have to use them all up).
    -600 miles to the Equator
    -175 miles covered yesterday
    -water is 82 degrees
  • we are Paralleled to Nicaragua
    -It’s getting warmer and more humid
    -almost direct below San Luis Obispo
    -3 days with no sun makes Sea Bella grumpy
    -The water below us is over 13,000 feet deep.
    -Starlink is Badass
    -everything in every cabinet is a scramble.
    -we are loving every moment.
    -people help people and cruisers are cool!
Us and our friends, who we don’t see with our eyes, only with tools and ssb

Pac Voy Day 4-8

It started slow on day 4 with us drifting in a huge pond to finding the wind this afternoon.We saw 2 bright white sailboats behind us before sunset last night, yay! Last night started to be a good sail until the wind turned off about midnight. Rolling us around in a circle and flipping about. We dropped all sails and bobbed for a few hours. Finally over breakfast it blew 8 knots, but slowed to 5 about noon, for 2 hours, then back up. Darn unpredicted fickle weather. We ran our main and Genoa all day.

A few activities to pass the time in our own personal duldrums: Scott started a Steve Martin book, Kathy had an epic nap, made fried plantains, sourdough bread and yogurt, we played a quick game of gin rummy to a 100, Scott took first place! We had a great discussion and drawings about lat and long, times zones, international date line, and what time it is actually now since our phones won’t be able to update out here with no cell towers.

Best news: Land Ho! We saw Isle Socorro. It will be the last land we see this month!!!

We chose not to fly Pink Floyd; the spinnaker at night with only 1 person awake, in the dark shifty winds, our Genoa gives us all the speed we need!  We have been turning on starlink for about an hour twice a day. Its mostly working well, but draws 5 amps per hour  and we have been managing battery levels. Today was cloudy and cool, good wind speeds of 13-15 knots and 77 degrees. It was fun to study our world cruising books and discuss future wants and wishes. A very great thing about being way out here are: no mosquitos, flies or bees. No sealife today, except for some stinky guests and for a white boobie, and it ain’t mine!

Day 7 and 8 …and….”The Call”
Sunrise for the second day in a row eluded us. The blue sky’s we had 3 days ago have yielded to Grey sky’s and muted colors in the water below us. For the second straight day the seas have been big, and it doesn’t help that we need to go almost dead downwind to get to our next waypoint. Sea Bella is a 30,000lbs surf board that lumbers down a face of a wave and she can see 11 knots while the scuppers on both sides of the boat might see water. I watch in amazement what surfing style Sea Bella does have is handled by the autopilot effortlessly. Thank god!
Sleeping, cooking, sail changes and even just sitting become a challenge. We could easily be sailing faster with more sail changes and pushing our gear but comfort and safety keep us conservative.
Yesterday morning we get a call out on the SSB morning net. Sea Bella is being hailed to change course to assist a vessel in distress. We are told a sailboat with a family of five has been dismasted and needs our help. We quickly change course and wait eagerly to receive the details via our SAT phone Iridium Go. As the details emerge, we learn that we are the closest vessel to them and we are still at least 220 miles from them.
Racing through our minds is how are we going to get these people on board in these 12’ seas! Also, how is Sea Bella going to carry (now) 7 people including a 5 month old Baby another 2000 miles.
Baby!!!! Ha. Whatever, we’ll make it work if we have too.
A few hours into our new course we learn that a tanker was also being diverted to intercept but that it was necessary for us to stay in route in just in case the tanker couldn’t render proper assistance. 6 hours later, the tanker pulls along side and rescues the mother and three children. The skipper decides to says aboard to try and save the vessel. He has cut the mast and rig away and is now under auxiliary power.
So, Sea Bella goes on her way, mother and children are now very comfortable on the tanker but have a new way point of Japan and the vessel’s skipper tries to figure out how to motor back to the Socorro’s with remaining fuel on board. The story has many more details, for later.

We are about 1/3 of the way there. We are looking forward to the equator and some flat seas. Until then, we will leave you with some pics of our efforts in find a sleeping spot

Pac Voy-The First 3 Days

The water is so much bluer 2 miles deep! The stars are so brilliant and use up the entire sky, right down to the horizon!

Such a slight breeze all morning, going only between 2 about 3 knots. Very little swell, clear skies and water and air temps at about 80 degrees. No sealife, birds or boats to be seen. We dont want to put a hand line in the water until we have room in the freezer or fridge for a fish.

Activities of the day: quickly made fried eggs, avocados and tortillas at 7am before we started healing again, watered new basil plants, screwed down leaky skylight in vbirth, made new dynema spinnaker bow soft shackle, hung up sheets for shade, and noticed the thousands of string of pearl jellies.

The lack of wind the first two days has been biggest frustration. We even decided to motor an hour here and there, not good. Definitely not making the miles we had hoped but doing better this morning. The first night was a drift fest with 0 wind and 3-5 foot seas. That does not bode well for sleeping.
Last night we had a steady 5-7 knots and it made for a good night. I actually told Kathy that we had a calmer night underway than we’ve had at anchor in front of La Cruz. Ha
We are planning on sailing out to about Clarion and heading southwest. It might have been light the on the way out but we will definitely have a sled ride south after Wednesday.
We have also both given up on any alcohol consumption for the passage. Many cruisers will have a beer or so but we decided it would be good for us. May be the longest I’ve gone without an adult beverage since college!! 😝
We are on the SSB twice a day talking to many. Super fun to keep up with others and still having fun with an upgraded radio I picked up in Barra.
Only about 20 days remaining!!!! Lol
See the notes below the pics for more information. You can always find us on our Predictwind Tracker and we will post here occasionally if Starlink permits.

Kathy’s fix it plan to all things that go bump in the night.
New little hobby
Delicious Pizza
Communing with the dolphins

Goodbye Mexico. Time to cross the Pacific Ocean.

A few good bye parties, and some visits to favorite anchorages.

We started a simple YouTube channel to log some videos, as this site doesn’t load videos well. Here are a few to check out.

Goodbye Mexico and cruising friends around here, it’s been AWESOME!! Our last day on terre firme was an exciting and busy one: topping off on diesel/propane, dinghy tied up tight, laundry, final run for leafy greens and fruits, friend fun visits, stowing all deck toys, securing all items, making up salon beds, and spending our last pesos in La Cruz. We have a 3 day good wind window going west, then we catch good trade winds going south. Expected to be a 21 day passage total.