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Old 28-12-2007, 08:33   #1
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Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Currently on the boat, somewhere on the ocean, living the dream
Boat: Morgan 461 S/Y Flying Pig
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December 26 - Life, Love and Death on the High Seas (not a Tangvald web)

December 26 - Life, Love and Death on the High Seas (not a
Tangvald web)

Well, here we are on Boxing Day, moving inexorably toward our
intermediate destination of Lake Worth, where our Kiwi buddies
are staging for their jump to the Bahamas. Color us jealous, as
we'll not get to go this year, having other things to attend to.

Unfortunately for them, his back is in one of its rebellions, and
unless things improve markedly, the ideal window which is
forecast for this weekend will pass them by as his back will not
tolerate motion to any great degree. The weather, for us, has
been the usual frustrations.

None of NOAA's predictions have proven correct - either the
direction or velocity of the wind forecasted, or both, have been
wrong. That's meant that we have not made the progress we'd
expected. However, with the exception of our couple of times when
we hove to, we've made slow progress southward, regardless of
what little wind we had.

Last night, the wind was out of a different direction, and
substantially lower speed, than forecast, but it did allow us to
continue. When I woke Lydia to take her shift at 2AM, the wind
was an underwhelming 2-4 knots with gusts to 6-8 knots as
compared to the forecasted 15. As it was very close to astern, I
was running a prevented (so that the boom would not flop around
in the remaining relatively higher seas than would have been
expected from the wind velocity) main and loosely sheeted genoa.

We're very happy with our new sails, as we were making more speed
than the average wind speed seen, as little as it was. However,
shortly after taking over, Lydia woke me to say that the wind was
picking up and ask if we needed to put up the pole to keep the
genoa out. Because the situation was steady with the wind nearly
dead astern, and only building slightly, I suggested she just
sheet in the main and flop it over.

She did that, and prevented it on the other side, and continued
onward under wing and wing, and cleared the restricted areas
around Cape Canaveral just before dawn. When I woke at 10, the
wind had dropped again, so we put out the pole and continued
under wing and wing, getting 4.2 knots from 3.5 knots of wind,
helped by a slight counter current off the Gulf Stream. That
would continue throughout the day, whatever the wind speed was.

Back to the title, Life aboard is marvelous. Unlike our early
travels, nothing has broken recently, and we've been able to
proceed without panic stops. Love is alive and well - Lydia and I
are so happy it's illegal in most states, and we're falling in
love all over again. The part about Death has to do with our
visitor from yesterday.

When we left you, the little bird had roosted in my sweatshirt.
At dawn, it stirred, and drank from the water we'd provided for
it. It hopped around the cockpit for a little while, but Lydia
got nervous with Portia present, and put the little bird in my
cabin, while I slept. It roosted in some socks of hers, but had
moved to just above my head as I slept, and as Lydia was afraid
it might be crushed if I moved, she took it topsides again, and
put Portia under leash and harness. When she opened the aft
window of our enclosure, our visitor took wing. She expected it
would head to shore, a little closer, now, but speculated that it
might return.

Sure enough, as I got out to do some line adjustments, there it
was, huddled on the deck. I picked it up, with no resistance, and
returned it to the comfort of my sweatshirt. However, as Portia
woke up and we went to protect it, it fell on the floor, dead. We
speculate that the bird was in distress when it first landed,
perhaps contributing to its lack of fear of humans. Birds do all
they can to appear normal, to confuse potential predators of
their injury or poor health; aside from the unusual (well, not
unique, we've discovered, as another of this sort visited us
earlier this year, and on our initial purchase delivery trip, an
adolescent barn swallow visited with us for a time) nature of a
bird comfortably in the cockpit with us, this bird appeared

Apparently, this bird had blessed us with its final hours of
life. Such unexpected beauty and trust, while saddening for its
death, was one of the marvelous surprises we enjoy as we live on
the water in our "mobile home" - moving from place to place as
the wind allows.

And, for those not getting the pun, we've been reading Peter
Tangvald's book of the same name. If you think we've had
troubles, you should read this book. We're very thankful to be in
our condition and state.

That's not to say that we don't have continuous challenges of one
sort or another. Every boat is full of potentials for repairs or
replacement of parts, or broken gear, or unexpected (negative)
surprises. However, our challenges are small by comparison.

Earlier today, I discovered that I'd not made the bowline in the
second reefing line on the mainsail tight enough, and the line
dangled from the boom. It will require redoing as or after we
lower the sail, but it's of no particular note, other than if we
really needed a second reef before that time. However, with the
wind as it is, if there were enough to support it, we'd be
running the spinnaker. Unfortunately, the wind is so light that,
in frustration, accompanied by the lack of sunlight for the last
couple of days meaning that we'd not had any assistance from our
solar panels, *as well* as no wind generation, this afternoon we
turned on the engine and motorsailed off on our continued way,
charging our batteries as we go.

Tonight I was able to get on the Maritime Mobile Net, through a
relay in Houston. That relay became the net control later in the
evening, and I heard from all parts of the world that the
propagation was really poor, the cause of our inabilities to make
contact on other nights.

Given that we're motorsailing, we'll be arriving at the entrance
to Lake Worth in the middle of the predawn morning. However, as
it's lit, and we have not one but two different electronic
programs, our chartplotters, and paper charts, we'll make that
entrance on arrival, rather than waiting for daylight as we'd
originally thought to do. Once we're inside the channel, we'll
make the turn to the left and go to the anchorage just south of
the marinas south of Peanut Island, and turn in until either it
gets too hot, or the sun wakes us, or both.

So, as Lydia takes the first watch, I'm off to my shower and a
nap, and will leave you with the hopes that your Christmas or
other holiday celebrations were as you wished.

Stay tuned.



Morgan 461 #2
SV Flying Pig KI4MPC
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"There is no such thing as a problem without a gift for you in
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(Richard Bach, in The Reluctant Messiah)
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