Blogging at sea

Wednesday, 26 September:

Traveling by boat across the Pacific Ocean is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. One moment, you might have seas so calm you could build houses of playing cards, and 3 hours later, the waves are 8-10 feet tall. Right now, we’re motoring out of some 10 foot waves, the seas are beginning to calm, and I can see nothing but water, sea birds, and some high wisps of clouds.

Dolphins come and visit us every so often. They see the wake left by our boat as a fun challenge, so they dart up to the front of the boat, swim under the bow right as we go past them, dart forward, jump, and then swim back to the boat, barreling though our wake at a mind-numbing 35 or 40 knots (I’ll let Google do the conversion for you, just type “30 knots in miles per hour”). We, on the other hand, top out at about 8 knots in calm seas, or 10 with a good current behind us.

We’ve been motoring continuously since Monday at 10am. We came through the Ballard Locks in Seattle, set a course, and just kept on going. It’s not exactly roughing it, because we have satellite radio, several books, a satellite phone, three independently redundant navigation computers and GPS units, an autopilot (nobody’s at the wheel right now! AAAH!), and two radar units for fog and low visibility. This is not to mention the microwave, refrigerator, stove, showers, washer, dryer, and fully stocked commissary. Still, there’s something slightly unsettling about being knocked a half a mile off course in 20 minutes, or not being able to stand up straight and have the horizon be steady, instead of rocking back and forth. And at times, the simple fact of not being able to see land — we’re 40 nautical miles off shore at last check — makes you panic, especially after several days of being tied up to various docks and piers.

Anyway, I need to go up for my watch. I’ll write more when I have more. 🙂

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