A Gentle Breeze

I woke up to a text from Oliver, my weather router, asking for my coordinates. He changed my course slightly so I can avoid the high and stay in the low. I know what your thinking, why on earth would you want to get low instead of high? Highs are areas of high atmospheric pressure that are known for good weather, but they don’t have enough wind to blow a whistle and I need wind to make my baby move.

Talking to Oliver reminds me of talking to a fortune teller. It goes like this: Oliver: “Olivia, I predict light winds and squalls in your near future.”
Me:”Oh awesome! Got any more good news for me? What about kids, you see any of those in my future?”

Squalls! I know that the Pacific is riddled with them, I just prefer to avoid one if I can. The squalls I have been in on the Pacific usually blow by pretty quickly, but the wind rips so hard in such a short amount of time you could loose a limb. That might be another situation I set the sails for, but let God steer while I huddle in a ball in the quarter berth, suck on my thumb, and pretend I’m in a hammock beneath a palm tree sipping on a coconut.

At the moment, I am on a downhill slope wind-wise over here. Currently in what they call a “gentle breeze” and it is way too gentle for me, hell I think it’s even too gentle for a boat made out of porcelain. Juniper is moving at half the pace of yesterday.

This must be the edge of the high.

The real trouble with the “gentle breeze” is that I re-ran my reef lines before I left the dock and knowing what I was in for the first few days, I hoisted my main with its second reef already in. (A reef is used to reduce sail area and is good for high wind conditions and storms etc.) Anyway, now I’m in light wind and I can’t for the life of me get that reef to shake out. It’s like something is stopping the halyard from going any higher, but what?! No it’s not the luff cringle. I am wondering if I ran the first reef line wrong and it’s preventing a full hoist. I spent a good hour trying to fix the darn thing and the whole time I was working on it the littlest bird kept flying back and forth showing off its “gentle breeze” moves. I mean that bird probably flew from another continent in the “gentle breeze” just to grab lunch out here and I can’t get Juniper to move but an inch an hour. So I decided to move on to the next task.

…I’m not giving up, I’m just taking a little break until sunrise.

There were bigger fish to fry today anyway, like my bilge. That thing is deep. The leg of a basketball player wouldn’t even reach the bottom of it. And looking down in there is like looking in a coal mine. I have to put on all three of my headlamps and wedge my face in between wires and cables and what not just to see what is going on in there. When I turned that bilge pump on today it starting huffing and panting like it was too tired to work anymore and then the thing just croaked.

So I am manually pumping everything out of the bilge with my emergency bilge pump and I might as well be doing a Jane Fonda workout. I have to take a break every 20 pumps to wipe the beads of sweat off of my brow.

Oh and then I went into the v-berth to grab a sweater and something was in there stinking to high heaven. So I picked up everything and sniffed it, like I was a dog in heat, until I found the culprit. It was a feather pillow soaked in seawater near my anchor locker. I picked it up threw it in the cockpit and went on to my next task.

The whisker pole! My friend and I made this pole out of another pole from a smaller boat. It weighs at least 10 lbs which doesn’t sound like a whole lot, but when your on the bow of the boat holding it up in the air trying to get it on to the Genoa sheet and waves are tossing you too and fro your like a weeble wooble with weapon that can rip a hole in a boat. There are normally multiple people working the pole to get it set up. Anyway it’s just me out here and I had practiced in the slip a bunch with it, but it isn’t the same. I had the pole on a topping lift and in the ring on the mast and I was all geared up to get it on the sheet and a wave came and I about knocked my bow pulpit off, so I let that task go until sunrise as well.

I just ate a peach to celebrate the things that I did and did not accomplish today. The peach tasted a little past it’s prime. It’s nectar was sour to say the least. In any case, when I finished It I threw the pit into the sea. This far offshore you can throw anything in the sea except plastic, according to Annex V of the Marpol Treaty- an international law for a cleaner safer marine environment. I disagree with this law. The sea is not a trash can. I could be wrong, but I don’t think things will break down, they will just sink and sit there or some fish will accidentally eat it or accidentally swim into it and get stuck, or who knows what. I am ok throwing a seed in the sea, a seed would naturally find its way there anyway, but metal, rags, dunnage, crockery, glass, forget it.

I went to an old landfill on Jamaica Bay that is only exposed during low tides and nothing in there is going anywhere fast. The beach is covered in glass bottles, old roller skates, guns, ceramic plates, you name it. What would be different at the bottom of the Pacific? The only difference is that we can’t see it.

I’ll be the smelly boat pulling into harbor with piles of trash on deck.

Today I read about clouds and weather patterns and sea creature sex. More on all of that tomorrow.

The reflection of the moon on the water has
turned the sea into a galaxy and now I must stare at it.

Sweet dreams!

8 Replies to “A Gentle Breeze”

  1. Hello Olivia,
    I am a friend of you mom’s in Little Rock and we all have been following your progress. I have loved your blog and am so excited for your adventure. Keep the stories coming – they make my morning! Andrea Gary

  2. Your entries remind me of Tania’s. Factual, sometimes melodramatic but sweet from the heart. You are an amazing and strong woman. I love following your journey with Juniper.

  3. You’re not racing. Solo in the middle of the freaking Pacific Ocean I wouldn’t be fooling with no whisker pole. Just come off the wind enough to gybe back and forth rather than trying wing and wing. At least you haven’t mentioned (yet!) trying to use a spinnaker.

  4. Olivia, you are amazing beyond amazing. I love, adore, and wait for every word you write. Godspeed and when you get to a destination where you want fresh peaches… I will get them to you. Safe travels dear friend .?

  5. You had a very busy day
    Sorry the bilge was an issue
    Getting that water out and keeping it out is so important as you move across the waves. You seem to be settling in for the balance of your journey.
    Hope this day was smooth sailing ?? look forward to your post tonight. Blessings

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