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13-14 June 03

Dear friends and family,

Happy full moon Friday the 13th everyone.  Did our day live up to its reputation?  You decide.

Last night was a nice night, with a bright moon, gentle seas, and just enough wind to fill the spinnaker.  The wind stayed constant throughout the whole night, but the seas built up a tad, becoming the short, choppy waves we met so much in the Caribbean.  Since the wind didn't pick up all that much, we were still floating along slowly and rocking a bit more (although boats just south of us got lots of wind).

A slightly freaky feeling to be swimming over 14,000 feet of water!
It's a slightly freaky feeling to be swimming over 14,000 feet of water!

This morning was a large jumble of sail changes.  While I (Amanda) was still asleep, the spinny got bagged, and an engine was turned on to charge the batteries and run the watermaker.  When it was time for the morning radio schedule, the spinny went up again, and engines off.  After breakfast, we bagged the spinny, rounded up, hauled up the main, and put the spinnaker up again.  Then we decided the main was actually slowing us down, so we dropped it.  By 13:30 the wind died so much we had to bag the spinnaker and just drift, but the sun was so hot and the wind so light, we were burning up.  So we rigged several lines off the side of the boat, got out the snorkeling gear, and jumped in to clean the bottom.

It is truly amazing to swim in the middle of the ocean, thousands of miles from any continent, floating around with 14,000' of blue underneath you.  The water is so crystal clear, we could see for 100', if there were anything to see.  It's surprising, after being in the Galapagos where we couldn't see from one end of the boat to the other, to be able to put your head underwater and count the legs of the crab on the hull 30' away.

The beauty of it all was slightly diminished by Mom getting majorly stung by something, a line down her back, around her arm, and on the backs of her legs.  I was already out, having swapped places with Chris, but if I had been in I would have leapt out like a jumping bean.  Chris and Dad didn't seem to be affected that much - perhaps because they're covered in hair, which seems to protect them - so they kept scraping the hull while I dealt with mom.  We got vinegar and Solarcaine on it fast and she seems to be okay now.

Just as Dad was rinsing off, a little squall came by, rinsing off the deck and giving a fresh puff of wind, so we popped the chute.  We were doing okay for a while, but then the wind died again.  We're now motoring at about 5.5 knots at 8 18' S and 136 11' W, 236 miles from the Marquesas.  It's nice that our engines are well insulated and we can hardly hear them because they may be on for a while.  (Though we really hope not).

Fair winds (wind? what's that?) and happy full moon to all,

The Hackings - Amanda, Chris, Jon, and Sue, S/V Ocelot

13-14 June 03

14 June 2003

Dear family and friends,

Hello everybody!  Several people have asked if I (Chris) would write one of our daily passage reports, so without further ado...

Today (Saturday, June 14) was much like yesterday in that there was almost no wind in the morning.  This had the great advantage that the seas were calm, but meant that sailing was almost pointless.  We motored clear through the night, which did our batteries a lot of good and allowed us to make a reasonable speed of 5.5 knots, but used a lot of fuel.  We actually have enough diesel that, if necessary, we could motor all the way to the Marquesas, but we worried about refueling when we we got there.  It was reassuring to learn that diesel is available for purchase, but the price of $1.10/liter ($4/gal) was not.  Our many hours of motoring did allow us to use the watermaker to replenish our tanks.

Bagging the chute, once again!
Bagging the chute in its sock, once again!

Fortunately, by 10:45 the wind had picked up enough that we redeployed the spinnaker.  We turned off the engine and watermaker and ghosted along at about 2.7 knots.  We were able to maintain this until almost 3pm, but then the wind died again and we started up an engine once more.  After slightly more than another 2 hours, we put up the main and jib for the first time in over 3 days, taking advantage of a 7 knot wind off the beam (90 degrees apparent, an excellent point of sail) and shut the engine off again.

The excess electricity and water from running the engines meant we could wash a load of laundry for the first time in three weeks (thank goodness for the washing machine!)  Amanda and I also worked on our computer-related school projects (programming in my case) which I quite enjoy.  Due to restricted power, I had not been able to program for some time.

Overall, the day was comfortable and relaxing, and with the exception of several changes between sail and engine, we only needed a minimal watch.  At 5:30pm we are riding comfortably at about 3 knots, with about 7 knots of wind just forward of the beam.  Our position is 8 48' S, 138 2' W.  We have about 1 knot of favorable current, and 122 miles to reach Ua Pou (pronounced Wah Poo).  We are all looking forward to a calm and restful night, and we hope to reach the Marquesas soon (i.e. within the current geological era.)  It is a great joy to know the end of our long journey is so close.

Wish us steady winds and an imminent arrival!

Chris, Jon, Sue, Amanda, & Arthur Hacking

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