Data at 0800 hours…engine hours: 4233.5
Miles traveled yesterday: 157 nm Total miles this leg: 157 nm
Fuel consumed yesterday: 110 gal. Total fuel consumed this leg: 110 gal.
Weather: partly cloudy, SW winds 10 – 15 kts., ~64 F
Sea state: wind waves ~2 ft., W swell ~3 ft.
Barometer: 1008 mb
Water temperature: 65.6 F
Midnight to 0300 watch
We couldn’t have picked a better weather window to start this leg. Yesterday there was neither swell nor wind waves to disrupt our comfort. There was even a nice bit of current giving us a little push. The gaseous world was nearly as nice, making for what I’d call a totally milk-toast kind of day, which is exactly what we want. Only a persistent haze, making picture taking a challenge, and air temperature marred the potential perfection.
Ah, yes, the temperature. None dare talk about it too much, but it’s kinda cold. Like the slow advance of the seasons, we’ve been subject to the steady reversal of heat units, ever since Florida. It was downright hot to start, edging ever so slightly, almost imperceptibly, to this point. Now, it’s cramping our style. I have been in slippers for a week, though Bob and Jason continue barefoot. We’re keeping (some) doors open or half open (Dutch doors), but having to layer up on the clothes. Jason is wearing a sweatshirt and Shar is starting to disappear under puffy layers of down. Only Bob appears immune to any change in ambient conditions, but we know he has a secret agenda.
Just got off the VHF with Rob, on Jura. They, too, saw lots of dolphins and whales, yesterday, but also a sea turtle. Jura is only eight miles ahead, so we’re still in radio range.
Having the moon up and nearly full is a welcome change from the inky black nights of the last leg. The sea shimmers a platinum hue in that forward direction, while sky and clouds take on a hazy, ultra-pale blue quality.
Non-events of the day
We’re on an east-northeast course, 84 degrees, taking us slightly north for a spell. This is to position us for northerly winds forecast for later this week. As we near the Portuguese coast, we can turn to run south, with the winds at our back. It means more miles and hours…and higher comfort. It, also, delays our arrival-approach to Gibraltar…which is a good thing. There’s a persistent tendency for winds to blow from the east in the strait because of higher atmospheric pressure over the Med. Similarly, there’s an opposing current going into the Med, to make up for all the evaporation that occurs in that heated enclosure. When the outflow winds get cracking, as it’s been for days, the seas can be downright nasty; not dangerous, just seriously uncomfortable. So. The forecast looks excellent/fabulous/supercalifragalisticexpealidoucious for those winds to abate on Sunday onward. Getting there later-than-sooner, therefore, is to our benefit.
Except, maybe for Jason. It’s still touch-and-go for his return to N.A. If need be, we can fling him overboard, close to the coast, so he can swim in and hitch a plane ride home.
For the continuing tutorial, Boats 101, today’s snippet is about Moxie’s main engine. The propulsion unit that pushes us around the globe is a beauty: 300 horses of marinized (specifically adapted to a marine application) diesel made by Lugger, an industry leader. This brute is made to last 30,000 hours before a rebuild, whereas this trip will take only about 500. Care and feeding is pretty basic, but while we’re under way, routine checks for any abnormality is mandatory. Bob makes these visits every couple of hours.
The engine is as tall as he is, yet burns about 5 gallons/hour at our current RPMs (up about 10% on this leg, due to no slow pokes in the smaller fleet). That’s about what a big SUV will burn per hour at freeway speeds, though the vehicles differ much in miles traveled vs. mass moved.
Events of the day
Relish set the tone in catching 2 black tuna earlier today. They lost a third at the last second and brought a blue marlin to the boat. So, while happy for them, we were getting jealous. Then, about 2000 hours, FISH ON! It’s a tuna, probably a black tuna, but our fish books don’t show anything that looks exactly like it. It’s the fattest fish, shaped like a football, I’ve ever seen.
So, everyone’s happy, again. That’s all it takes.