Thursday, February 25, 2016

Acapulco to Puerto Angel: Birthday Beer, Moonlight Sea, Light Airs, Dolphins

Via satellite

We left Acapulco around 1530 yesterday under a hot sun, light winds and smooth seas.

My stomach finally felt good enough to crack open the big 1 pint 6 ounce bottle of Lagunitas IPA that Hannah brought with her to Puerto Vallarta and I have been saving for my birthday. It was absolutely delicious and I enjoyed it immensely. The beer was followed by a chocolate cupcake that Renee had bought me, complete with candle and singing. A belated birthday celebration, enjoyed all the more by feeling well again.

A nearly full moon rose shortly after the sun set.

Coming on watch at 2100, the diffusion of the moonlight makes the air seem thick, with a mist that isn't really there. The water feels thick, the color of liquid steel, the surface undulating. The moon's light splays out on the water like a beacon, a few stars struggle to be seen through its brightness. There is the barest hint of land in the distance, only a dim light or two. The diesel quietly throbs along with the quiet rush of water as it streams past the stern and little wavelets splash from the sides of the hull. A gentle salt-scented wind, due more from the boat's movement through the thick air than a breeze of its own accord, cools my skin. Our presence wakes a resting dolphin, who stirs, making rings of ripples like a pebble dropped water, takes a silent breath, making a gentle arc with its glistening black body, slipping out of and back through the surface. I feel peaceful, aware, a happy speck gliding along in the immensity of the sea and sky.

On my next watch at 0300, the wind has built to 8-10 knots coming from slightly ahead of the beam. We raise the mainsail with two reefs, so that it won't shadow the Code 0, which we unfurl next. With the wind at nine knots at 60 degrees apparent, we're sailing at over seven knots over the bottom. I figure there must be a favorable current of over two knots helping us along. Even when the wind drops to less than five knots, we're still moving at over four! We enjoy quiet, calm peaceful sailing until 0600, when the wind disappears and we have to start an engine and live with the constant throb. Fortunately, our engines are pretty quiet and some distance from the helm and living quarters.

Around noon today, a pod of about two dozen dolphins paid us a visit, racing each other across the sea to intercept us and then flaring parallel with us to swim between the bows. They swim only a few feet below the surface and twist themselves to take a look at us watching them from above. After they have a little fun, they dive and peel off to resume whatever it was they were doing before we showed up.

It's very hot. But there is enough wind for us to sail through the calm, blue sea in peace and quiet, save for the sounds of the hulls through the water and the occasional boat noise from the sail and lines.

We have about another 17 hours left on this passage.