Wind, Sails, and Deck Squid
Sea Dragon pointed towards O’ahu, Hawaii at 1400 Monday, May 27th. The sun was shining and the wind was blowing and we were cruising along at 10 knots. The ride on a tight reach was pretty bouncy, and a few of us got to know a variety of sea sickness meds pretty well. My favorite is a strong mix of Kwells and ginger tea. It was quite the introduction to life on board—everything is tricky when you’re in a new space, and erratically moving surfaces don’t make anything easier.
After 4 days, the wind finally swung north and we hung the spinnaker pole, pulled the yankee to starboard, and went wing on wing. The ride is a bit more wallowy, but the movement is much smoother than it was. We’ve been averaging 200nm a day, and we reached the halfway point Sunday morning! We celebrated after dinner with raspberry brownies and ice cream. Decadent.
This trip we have 8 people on board, and I’ll try to introduce them in a few sentences, although I’m sure it will not come close to doing them justice. First up is Tom. He’s a fellow midwesterner from Detroit who enjoys telling rowdy jokes at midnight (or so I’m told). He also makes a mean artichoke dip and is reading through the library onboard. Then there’s Roger, a witty gentleman who joined us from Japan. He doesn’t sleep much and is, more often than not, seen with a coffee mug in his hand. Pure caffeine runs through his veins. Matt, who is studying sustainable agriculture in Ireland, is researching how to best process breadfruit. He regales us with tales of weird plants and their uses and is currently fishing off our stern. Peter is a Brazilian wind surfer from San Francisco. He’s not a huge talker but what he does say is quite profound: sometimes steering can get a bit squirrelly, and after a few of us had lamented being sightly off-course, Peter said wisely, “Well, we probably won’t miss Hawaii.” Last but not least is Dan. Dan is a retired mechanical engineer from San Diego. He has a million stories and tells them all in the same hilarious, matter-of-fact manner. Night watches move quickly when he talks about polar bear cages in Alaska or his “old geezer” bike group.
And then of course, there’s Shanley, Eric, and me (Sarah). But we’re pretty much the same as we were.
As well as a cycling watch schedule, which ensures none of us end up with the same watch time every day, we also cycle cooking duties. So far we have had quite the culinary array: curry, enchiladas, pasta salad, garlic bread, nori wraps, tabouli, burritos…the list goes on. We cracked a fresh coconut on deck the other day—tricky to open and tricky to eat, but, man is it worth it. We are currently trying to eat as much fresh fruit and veggies as possible before they go bad. Orange juice and mangos for everyone!
Since leaving Mexico, we’ve seen quite the array of sea life. Lots of flying fish with beautiful bright blue wings; Peter got smacked in the back TWICE by these guys! Roger spotted a group of pilot whales, which are actually big black dolphins with large curved dorsal fins and large, bulbous heads. We’ve also seen plenty of albatrosses swooping close to the waves on their long, skinny wings, and small little tropic birds with long thin tails floating about.
I didn’t know these were a thing, but mini squid exist. They squirt themselves up on deck in the middle of the night, and if you don’t remove them quickly enough they leave a nice, juicy stain. Roger mentioned eating dried squid once, and Tom is a fan of the ink…so naturally we have one pinned to our clothesline. No one has eaten it yet, and I will not be the one to volunteer.
The skies are clearing and the sun is shining, and there are many more miles of ocean to go! (Below are Matt, Shanley, and our oranges)