To St. Helena 3

Just a few hours ago we crossed from the East to the West.  Gemma, the kids and I watched the numbers tick down from E 000° 00.001’ to W E 000° 00.001’.  Since I missed seeing this happen when we crossed the equator, it was fun to see for the prime meridian.

We are now officially back in the west.  It feels more or less the same.

Our time with good wind and waves might be coming to an end.  The forecast shows that very light winds should start by morning.  The forecast has been showing lighter winds coming for several days now but the start keeps getting pushed back which has been to our advantage.  We are trying to reach St. Helena by Saturday afternoon, in time for the pig roast at the restaurant called Anne’s Place.  Coco de Mer, a fellow World ARC boat, has sent us a satellite email briefing us on upcoming events. 

We will miss the fish fry at the Yacht Club which is happening Friday evening and, worst case scenario, we should still make it for the curry on Sunday afternoon.  Given a choice, I would take fried fish or pork over curry, but the wind will most likely whittle my chances down.

To prepare for the lighter winds, around sundown, we took down the mini spinny (little workhorse spinnaker) and put up the main and the gennaker.   Too bad we couldn’t leave our little spinnaker up.  The main is so dang noisy and so much more work.  With the spinnaker, with the right conditions, we just put her up and leave her.  She flies off the bow, makes no noise, requires almost no trimming, and pulls us along beautifully.  For the past three days or so, sailing has been effortless. 

The main has been up less than two hours and already is flapping in the lighter winds or slamming with the waves or requires adjustment of the traveler or preventer or various other lines and gizmos.  No matter what I do, some part of it squeaks or bangs or flaps.  Ah well, I guess it just allows me to appreciate the spinnaker even more when we can fly it.

Joe and Gemma stayed out after the main was up, allegedly to back up the gennaker halyard with a spinnaker halyard (Joe said he saw a worn spot on the gennaker halyard) but I think they just wanted to enjoy the beautiful evening.  It was quite lovely and all of us who watched thought we saw the “green flash” with sunset.  Joe and Gemma have been doing almost everything that is needed to keep the boat moving along, all without ever getting a full night’s sleep so they have certainly earned any moments of beauty that they get.

Boat life has continued in much the same vein as before.  We did introduce a new sport.  Cobin has been testing the limits of electronics usage during non-school hours lately and is rarely found without his headphones so I have started trying to find creative ways to lure him outside.  Wrestling practice with his Dad is a winner!  Marin was quick to observe and try out the same moves on Tully. 

Our science experiments on radish plants continue and yesterday we discovered that radish seeds, left in a foil-covered baby jar for 5 days, will sprout!  The seedlings actually grow quite tall in the absence of light and are noticeably a very different color from those grown with light, which makes discussions about chlorophyll far more satisfying for everyone.

We made good use of our day off school to introduce Gemma to the joys of “The Princess Bride” so that she might finally understand why Joe tells her, “Good night.  Good work.  I’ll most likely kill you in the morning.”

No real wildlife sightings – the kids did sweep the toe rail of four dead squids and two baby flying fish but we have hopes for more sightings in the future.  We have heard reports (via Coco de Mer) that people have been able to snorkel with whale sharks in St. Helena.  The ones who went had to brave adverse sea conditions to make the trip so we are hopeful that the calmer winds will also bring better conditions for us when we get our chance.

Signing off from the edge of the western world, hoping that we can maintain a 7-knot average to make the pig roast!

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