April 22, 2011
The stars are back. Last night as I began my first night watch, the sky was full of stars. The cloud mass which has been with us fairly constantly on this leg, finally cleared. Stars filled the sky in a way I hadn’t seen since leaving Mexico. Standing outside the bimini, I spent my first hour watching the stars, Touch Rain cutting smoothly through the water, throwing up phosphorescence in her wake, and listening to Rod Stewart sing love songs.
Truly one of those magical watches you inevitably hear about when discussing off-shore passages with almost any sailor. Hard for me to believe, until I got here, that the middle of the night could really be such wonderful time of day. The stars didn’t disappear until the moon rose several hours later, providing adequate compensation for their loss.
These are the moments which allow one to forget and discount those uncomfortable, stomach bouncing, intimidating moments which can make up an off-shore passage. Starting my day on such a positive note, encouraged me to write down for this blog my five most favorite things about the past few days.
1. The confident, effective way Touch Rain glides through the water. One expectation which has come to life is the consistent speed with which the winds provide our passage to Hilo. It’s intimidating to begin a 2,800-mile passage with enough diesel fuel for approximately 450, but the winn Gods have provided well. Day and night, Touch Rain, with only a headsail, moves between 5.2 and 6.8 knots.
2. Playing travel Scrabble with Michael in the cockpit. A fun easy distraction which helped pass several hours.
3. The leisure time to spend hours and hours reading without any residual guilt. I’ve been reading at least one book a day—the added bonus being the wonderful discoveries of books and authors which came into our possession based on the available books for trade in our last several ports. The previously undiscovered author—what a treasure.
4. Downloading our sail mail in-box and discovering delicious letters from friends and family. What a unexpected pleasure to stay in touch with our “old life” in this manner. It’s fun to be so tuned in from a distance that we know many of our friends will be gathered at the Wine Loft for wine tasting. It is nice to feel that connection.
5. Discovering that I do like bearded men. It’s been interesting to see the new stranger living on board with me. With his long hair, it’s almost time to teach him to braid, and an almost full beard—I love looking over and see this very attractive stranger looking at me with a familiar smile.
Guess I need to add a sixth favorite-every dinner we’ve had on board. We are really eating well. Dinner is the highlight of the day—when all three of us join together in the cockpit. We put up the table, lay down our non-skid mats, and pour half a beer or sparking water each. Once I serve the plates, each person must hold firmly to plate and fork. Every night I think of my father, who was such a stickler for table manners.
“Sorry Ernie”, I say. Because without firmly planting ones elbows on the table, blocking the plate from sliding, it would be impossible to even sit up at the table, much less finish your meal. Can’t even imagine what he would think of our dog, Jordy, sitting beside Michael, eagerly awaiting her share!