WHEN: Thursday April 7th 2100Local / 2200EST / 2300BRZ / 0200UTC
WHERE: 06:18N 127:55W
MILEAGE: 1,718 miles since La Cruz (sailed), 1,171miles to Nuku Hiva (straight line)
Ok, let me see where to start from …
We’ve had a busy 24hrs since the last post.
After the night set yesterday, a number of squalls started to hit us. The winds got lighter and lighter and a counter current seemed to be taking away the little progress we were being able to make.
By dawn the sky was looking heavily charged, and we decided to take the spinnaker pole out and leave the genoa free, in order to gain flexibility should we need to act fast.
It didn’t take long for this to happen. Just as the sun was rising, a decent-sized squall hit us, with winds of up to 25 knots, the day was promising. It lasted for maybe 30 minutes.
We were still wet from the rain when we decided to have a quick early morning snack before the next one hit. I had not finished my second toast yet when it presented itself. Looking “normal” at the beginning, the next squall quickly started to build proportion. We rushed to shorten the sails – the main was fully rolled in and the genoa was left with just 50% of its area out. I was still on deck when the deluge of rain started and arrived already drenched to the cockpit. Adriana had a fearful expression on her face. I told her this one was going to be stronger than the others, and even predicted the highest winds to reach 35knots. I was wrong. 15 minutes later we were being lambasted by powerful gusts that peaked at 45 knots. This is more than we had upon the visit of hurricane Blanca at Puerto Escondido last year! But Pesto responded extremely well, and handled these gusts with dignity despite being overcanvassed for the situation. The strong wind show lasted some 20 minutes
and started to subside. Then, the rain also subsided and we thought the storm was nearing its end. We switched the radar on to check, and the image was ominous. We could see that large storm with thick patches of rain almost all around us. It looked like the storm was trying to “eat” us. And worse, now that it was wrapping around us, it sucked all the wind from the air and we were bobbing there, with walls of rain falling all around us. “That’s it, party is over” we declared, and on came our might Volvo Penta to take us out of that ordeal. We motored for 2hrs to finally get out of the hold of that wicked storm, and catch some good wind again.
It was now almost mid day and we started checking the weather to refine our route, and then came the second blow of the day – this one perhaps even worse. A huge area of dead-Calm was forecast to form starting right where we were, and all the way to the Equator. Our last two or three days’ tactics hadn’t worked and we needed to take action. The wind was already fading.
Physically tired, drenched, seriously sleep-deprived, and hungry, we hadn’t noticed our emotions were a bit on the edge and it didn’t take long for a silly quarrel to develop between Adriana and I.
It was on this mood of absolute frustration, but without hesitation, that we set our sails and turned back. To the Northwest that is. We were now on a desperate race to reach the Trade Winds again before that huge area of Calm engulfed us. Luckily, another squall was approaching, and this time instead of dreading it, we rode it. It gave us quite a good lift for nearly 3 hours as we quickly gained miles NW. With Pesto flying at speeds of even 10 knots, the miles to our next “salvation” waypoint quickly reducing, spirits quickly went up and soon Adriana and I has solved our issues.
A while ago the wind died almost completely, and as I write this, our sails are flogging. But the forecast predicts it to come back within the next 2 hours and we shall be in the game again. On the meantime, we are taking advantage of the rather calm conditions to run the generator and make energy. We will need it to run the radar and monitor squalls during the night.
And so is life on the verge of the Intertropical Convergence Zone. I wish tonight and tomorrow bring steady winds and few to no storms. We would appreciate the opportunity to take some rest.
Have a happy Friday!