Smooth sailing and another visit from above

Date: July 18, 2016, 4 a.m. Position: 12 10.00 S, 126 15.00 E

A very pleasant day of sailing today. It was almost too perfect! We had to continually glance at the GPS to believe that we were really making 7 knots of speed over ground…it felt almost like we were standing still. With a gentle 14 knots of wind from behind we only had 7 knots of apparent wind in the cockpit. The sails stayed filled and we enjoyed about 12 hours of broad reaching and 12 hours of wing-on-wing.

Just one more day of sailing now until we clear the continental shelf and get back into deep water again. The Arafura and Timor Sea are so shallow–just a few hundred feet on average. The waters are therefore a disturbing muddy shade, and we long for our electric purple sea. Our watermaker filters will be happier too–we’ve been putting off making water here due to all the biological bits floating around in the water. It looks like our timing on Ashmore Reef might not work out so well, with an ETA at the reef entrance for just after sunset. We don’t necessarily want to heave-to for 12 hours, especially if these sailing conditions continue. The long-range GRIBs look really great and we may just continue on with this relaxing run, under the full moon.

We’ve really gotten into a good sea routine now. This year is all about making the sea miles. On this leg to Christmas Island we’ll pass the 1/3 the way around the world longitudinally from our easternmost point of Oakland, California. However since leaving Alaska we have already covered well over halfway around the world if we were to sail along the equator. And a short month or two from now, we’ll be closer to Alaska if we keep sailing west! It feels really good making the miles out here, with Privateer doing what she does best. Life is good on the long blue highway.

We are away from the land and all the troubles brewing about. We hear that it’s dim times in many corners of the world, and we fell fortunate to be removed from it all and visiting the lands with the friendliest people (Vanuatu, Fiji, Marquesas, etc) where happiness and wealth are measured by the size of the family and not the bank account, and the monetary economy and poverty are just abstract concepts. The ghost of Trump haunts us all and Privateer will be sailing en-route to Africa when America decides whether or not to take the plunge into darkness. Privateer is not only our magic carpet ride but also our escape pod! Perhaps not escaping from America, but bringing some of the “escapism” we’ve learned in the South Pacific back to our own families. The USA desperately needs an escape from the maddening, narrow rut that so much of the world seems stuck in. As one keen observer in Vanuatu asked me–“Why the rush? What happens after you rush?” Our generation is looking for its JFK and Martin Luther King but we are overexposed by the media. We can’t see the diamonds in the rough when each rock and murderer is amplified and sensationalized. We seem to be in such a rush that even bullets aren’t fast enough.

We’re loping along at 3.5 knots in very light winds now and enjoying this pace. Our “rush” today happened when we sailed through a massive school of leaping tuna. We frantically looked for the fishing line but alas it was buried in the locker that we cannot get into when the Monitor wind vane is engaged. Thoughts of fresh sushi tantalized us until we gave up in disgust. We had another visit from the surveillance in the sky again today. This time the plane buzzed us head-on with a radio call afterward. It’s quite odd to be out here in the watery wilderness and suddenly have a very brief and unexpected encounter with another human.

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