Friday 9 October 2009, at sea
Sue at sunset, on the Indian Ocean
Dear Friends and Family,
The last few days have had as near perfect sailing weather as is possible. We write this, knowing full well that sometimes the wind and weather gremlins are wont to play tricks on us when we "brag" about good fortune. But then again, we figure that it doesn't hurt to praise the blessings when we get them.
Last night we sailed on a rolling blue-black sea under a waning small gibbous moon. It left a trail of molten silver on the water, and though it obscured many of the stars it left us Orion's Belt and many of the brighter heavenly lights. Only occasionally capricious swells joined together to tumble over each other and produce a shimmering necklace of white caps. Ocelot danced to her autopilot at 5‑6 knots, creating calm swooshing sounds from her twin hulls.
Today dawned bright with popcorn clouds in a light blue sky. The winds stayed steady off our starboard quarter letting us sail wing-and-wing all day. No squalls, no dramas, just peaceful sailing in the southwest monsoon. Today reminds us of the best of South Pacific crossings. Plenty of time to write, read, meditate, sing with the CD's, and create new delicacies from our fresh fish. It is days like this that make passages a pleasure and allow us to forget the difficult times.
As of 4pm we're at 4°48'N 91°14'E with only 250 nautical miles to Weh Island, Indonesia, having come 1,140 miles from Gan.
Today we really have had Fair Winds and Calm Seas and we wish you the same -- Sue and Jon Hacking
Saturday 10 October 2009, at sea
Wing-&-wing across the Indian
Dear Friends and Family,
We've had a fairly quiet day today. Just after our flaming sunset last night the wind died so we've had the starboard engine ticking over at 1,800 rpm ever since. This isn't ideal, but we are carrying a HUGE amount of diesel on board. We were worried that the dying SW monsoon would have us motoring much of the way from the Maldives, so we're actually very pleased that we've been able to sail as much as we have.
In fact, this passage has been as idyllic as any we've ever had, reminiscent of our crossing the eastern Pacific, or even our trip from Malaysia to Sri Lanka, where we never even took a reef in the main. The winds have been gentle but consistent and from right behind us - a very comfortable direction on Ocelot. We've had a lovely moon to light our way at night. During the day the skies have had lots of clouds, but generally the soft and fluffy sort, not the black and angry sort. In fact, I think we only hit a single 35 knot squall, and that hit in daylight and didn't last for more than 30 minutes or so.
The seas have been very comfortable and we've got very much into the rhythm of passage-making. I get to watch the sunrise on my 4‑8am watch, then Sue gets up and decides what we'll have for breakfast. We still have lots of fresh fruit, so that's nice.
After breakfast it's radio time - We talk to some other cruisers crossing the Indian behind us, then connect to one of our Winlink ground stations to send and receive our email. It's always a high-point to read that to each other.
We make log entries every 4 to 6 hrs
Sue often bakes bread or something else delicious for lunch while I do whatever maintenance chores need doing, put out the fishing lines and start the sun-shower heating. We don't keep a formal watch during daylight hours, but someone's usually outside while the other is often reading, sleeping, or doing Sudoku down below.
We usually do email again in the afternoon, have our cooling showers, and Sue serves up something delectable for dinner, which we eat up on the helm seat watching the sunset. Then she lets me rest until my 8‑midnight watch.
We miss our "crew" (Amanda & Chris started standing a full watch when they were 13 & 15) as the night watches were that much shorter, but having a nice quiet passage like this makes it pretty easy.
We're hearing lots more VHF radio traffic now that we're getting closer to the Malacca Straits and the "highway" that goes from there to the bottom of Sri Lanka. Only 2 ships have gotten close enough for us to warn them that we're here.
Got a bit of a surprise when we went to bring in the fishing lines last night. Something had stolen our lure and CUT our 200‑lb (100kg) steel leader! They didn't even pop the bungee. Probably a shark of some sort (with frighteningly sharp teeth...)
At 3pm we were at 5°26'N 93°26'E, or 110 nautical miles from Weh Island. (I'm told you can clip that position and paste it directly into Google Earth if you like, but there's nothing around but ocean...) We'll probably rest up a few days at Weh before continuing on to Malaysia. The GPS says we should arrive sometime tomorrow morning. In the meantime, all is well on Ocelot.
Fair Winds and Calm Seas -- Jon and Sue Hacking
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