I just kissed the newly off-watch good night, remembering to step well over the foot and a half high saloon door frame, a real shin barker, out into the very dark world of our cockpit which has an eerie glow courtesy of Escape Velocity’s chart plotter and navigation instruments. It’s a moment that fills me with joy and wonder. To my left the Big Dipper fills the entire starboard side view of the cockpit, so close that I could reach out and touch them, Benetnash, Mizar, Alioth, Megrez, Phad Merak, Dubhe. (I looked it up.) To my right, the port side view is dominated by the magical Southern Cross, Gavrux, Becrux, Acrux, and some other star that gets no ink, all pointing to our path south. Hard to go too far wrong.
It was a boisterous but uneventful night watch until five a.m. I’d noticed this pattern develop where just before dawn the wind and waves get substantially worse but I can’t say if they are due to squalls or not but definitely not welcome in any case. I was dealing with 25 knots of wind but the sea state was amazingly bad. We had the usual crossing pattern with some waves overtaking other waves and at one point we found ourselves down at the bottom, looking up at three steep monsters each going in different directions but surrounding us in a triangle. EV just popped up and over like a cork. What kind of ocean is this?
Luckily we still had our triple reefed night time mainsail up but its a little hard on the nerves especially so close to the end of this marathon 42-day passage to French Polynesia. Yes, you heard it here first. If we’re lucky we may just squeeze into the Bay of Virgins, Fatu Hiva this evening! Things are looking up, Escapees.