Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Finding the Trade Winds..

Captains Blog- 4/14/2015

Rick & Terri Rogge join Captain David Lawn and First Mate
Weston Williams for the next leg of the journey to the Marquesas

Sea Angel and her crew are doing well.  We departed Santa Cruz in the Galapagos on Thursday the 9th of April.  Aboard are Weston Williams, Rick and Terri Rogge, and myself.  We are eating well, fishing all day long, and just tuning the boat to sail as quickly as we know how.  We all have finally settled into the routine.

It is very interesting indeed, and I have found myself during the process of navigating, learning first hand a little bit how our beautiful earth functions.  The Galapagos is just slightly below the equator in the southern hemisphere.  It resides in or very close to the doldrums, a band of the lower earth's atmosphere that rises with the equatorial heat, but has little movement across the surface of the planet which isn't particularly good for sailing.  About 300 miles south (and north) of the equator the Coriolis effect starts the wind moving, in a westerly direction.  That is the area we sailors seek to find, the trade winds, the path west often called the "coconut milk run" taking us to the far reaches of the west Pacific.  So in leaving the Galapagos we started moving quickly toward the South West trying to get down to that band called the trade winds.  We have arrived there after 5 days and are now turning westward more directly toward the Marquesas.  Currently we have traveled about 680 miles from the Galapagos and have about 2,280 miles to go to the Marquesas.  It is pretty awesome indeed.  We basically remain on the same course day after day now, only adjusting the sails or course based on local weather patterns.  Last night we reefed the main as the wind was consistently over 20 knots and the seas were a bit rough.  Today with the wind easing some we set the spinnaker and are flying along at 8+ (and up to 11+ occasionally).  We traveled 172 miles in the last 24 hours which is pretty darned good.

The day to day routine is broken by a variety of highlights, some not so fun, but those are the ones we remember.  On Saturday the sea water wash-down hose came loose just behind the wall panel in my stateroom.  Within seconds I had the pump shut off but by then sea water was dripping rapidly into my bunk and bedding.  That afternoon was spent hosing down the mattress with fresh water, washing the bedclothes, and starting the two day drying process.  It is all back in order and good as new.  In repairing the sea water valve I was operating a power drill on the outside of the stern and Rick was holding the fitting on the inside.  An agonizing yelp and funny dance maneuver was my clue that I had drilled a whole in his thumb.  Two days later it is healing nicely.  We caught a very small Yellow fin tuna on Sunday.  Rick demonstrated his fishing acumen by putting a teaser bait on the hand line and setting it off the stern.  That evening when I brought it in it was tangled and twisted up worse than Janis Joplin's hair after a hard party night.  We decided a swivel in the line would help next time.   

On a more emotionally draining note, a multi-day radio communication began regarding a boat, "Nirvana Now", that was having multiple difficulties aboard.  She was ahead of us on the same crossing, about in the middle, perhaps 2,400 miles from any sponsored rescue help.  I was involved in a radio relay for her early on, but on the second day she called out a "Mayday" and the government began coordinating the rescue.  Several vessels on the radio net which we attend daily were within 48 hours of her and altered course to assist.  A vessel by the name of "Continuum" arrived first and picked up the two persons on board who are now safe, but sadly, Nirvana Now was abandoned and scuttled (sunk).  I can only imagine how frightening and emotionally taxing this was for the crew, and they were, and are still in my prayers.

Between the learning, the highlights, the camaraderie among the boats crossing, there is the alone time; time to just stare out into the ocean, watch the stars, feel the seas, enjoy the birds and the flying fish, and just soak up the expanse of this big ball we call Earth…


Weston - Hanging with an old tortoise in the Galapagos 

Captain Dave- Exploring the Galapagos

Sea Angel is sailing for a cause. 

Sea Mercy is a benevolent program developed for disaster and critical care needs for remote islanders. Sea Mercy is a non-profit 501 (c) (3) charity with a simple vision and mission to "stand in the gap" with a service delivery vessel, trained health care volunteers, support equipment, and critical care services as island nations develop their "outer island" health care infrastructure, when critical health care need opportunities are present, or when disasters occur. We welcome you to consider donating on our behalf to Sea Mercy - they have several ways to get involved and are so grateful for your support. 

Sea Mercy's Corporate "We Care" Program is designed to help organizations attract and engage clients, vendors, and employees in the spirit of social responsibility and provide a wonderfully enriching partnership. There are several ways to participate with "We Care". Visit Sea Mercy's website for additional information. If you know of an organization or would like to involve yours, please share this information forward. 

Sea Mercy is now working to raise funds to assist with the sheer devastation from Cyclone Pam in Vanuatu. You can learn more here, and please consider a donation or even a medical rotation if you're able. The people of Vanuatu can use help and prayers at this time. 

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