Middle of the Coral Sea

Date:June 13, 2016, 4 a.m.
Position:15 1.00 S, 158 51.00 E

Conditions got windier and wavier as forecast. Once we came out from the relative lee of New Caledonia and its associated reefs, a nasty 4-meter cross-swell from the Southern Ocean found us. Every 50th wave or so peaked with our regular swells at right angles and would explode into the cockpit or smack the side of the boat. It wasn’t anything dangerous, but just annoying. We had to keep all hatches battened down. Otherwise, it was another fantastic day of fast downwind sailing. We poled out the jib in the morning again and ran wing-on-wing for an hour or two, but were a little too optimistic. Our speeds quickly jumped into the 9s with the Yankee out, but the winds built right up and hovered around 30-35 knots all day. So we went back to our trusty standby and have been running a comfortable 6-7 knots under the storm staysail and double-reef main. We hardly touched the Monitor today and incredibly have stayed within 2 miles of the rhumb line (direct course) of our destination.

Taz had a busy morning with his “activities” as he calls them. He learned how to use crayons today and quickly figured out that it is way more fun to color on his chair and all over his body than on paper. He looked like he was putting war paints on as he smeared the wax across his chest.

Our visiting bird sadly left us this afternoon after doing his night-watch all night and into the morning. Oddly, I felt like he really was watching for ships, and I felt comfortable leaving him on watch for a spell while I did chores below-decks. He flew away when one of those big swells smacked us and soaked his perch. This evening we got on the radio with the Beguine who are just 21 NM behind us. “We have a visitor” they said. They were very surprised when I responded “does he have a furry white unibrow?” There was an awkward pause on the radio and then Beguine answered “…why, yes!”

It feels really good to be pointing the bow toward Australia and Africa after our “checkmark” down to NZ. We’re playing leapfrog with the sun now–she rises astern and sets right off the bow. It’s as if we are on a giant celestial gerbil exercise wheel, sailing around and around. As we near the equator the familiar constellations like the Big Dipper appear low on the horizon, and upside-down.

Kelsey pointed out the obvious this evening “We’re out here on the middle of the Coral Sea, the whole family. Is there any place you’d rather be

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