Saturday, July 27th
Hello friends, Dads, Moms, sand fleas and sports fans. We are happily sailing North going between 7 and 9 knots. Hawaii is 70 miles to the south and the forecast ahead looks good. Everyone is in good spirits, the seas aren't bad, and the boat is flying along.
Getting out of town was a little slow yesterday: the fuel dock I usually use was closed, and the guy that delivers the fuel to the delivery crews had run out. So instead of sailing east around Diamond Head, we went to Ko Alina to fuel and sailed around the west side of the island.
It was a beautiful sunset and Elyn made a great dinner. The wind was aft, we had just the main up, and were going 10 knots. We reefed as we came around the corner into the open sea and settled in for the night. Oaxaca is a dream to sail.
Capt Rhys Balmer
Sunday, July 28th
Oaxaca cuts through the waves, surfing over the top as bioluminescence sparkles in our wake. Above, the stars cut through the dark and the wind; the milky way so bright one would think it was part of the clouds that tiptoe across the night sky. We hear nothing but wind, waves, and the boat's contact as it flirts with the sea.
Night at sea is a big experience. Your senses are full of the mystery of the night, but your mind is turning. Checking the apparent wind angle, the boat speed, the wind speed. Calculating all these while trying to feel the oncoming wave that, in the black night, you cannot see. There is a sense of letting go of mind, and entering a state of flow where you allow trust. Trust the sea is clean, without debris. Trust that the boat will respond; trust that the night, in all its beauty, will lead to day.
The sun rose this morning on salmon pink clouds, the sea whispering the secrets that only we awake at night could hear. We poured coffee and watched as the stars faded into the morning light.
Oaxaca headed NNE, headed home.
Monday, July 29th
We are moving well, close-hauled going due N-NNE with 15-20 knot winds. Occasional squalls soak those on watch and create challenging conditions. We set one reef before leaving Oahu, which seems to suffice. We have one more reef available if we want it.
The boat maintains 6-9 knot speed, requiring some finesse in steering. If we move fast enough against an oncoming wave, our bow gets airborne then slams down as the wave kicks past the stern. It gets hot and noisy below deck while trying to rest or focus on some reading, but we are adjusting. Once we reach cooler latitudes, we will have an easier time between our respective times on deck.
Matt, Doug, and Andreas had motion sickness but seem to be adjusting. Sleeping in the hot belly of this bucking, noisy boat has not been easy for any of them. They are hanging in there. Elyn appears unaffected by the sea state and is as cheerful as ever.
I am observing that everyone is taking their watch schedules seriously: making sure to get enough rest, contributing to the chores necessary to run a healthy voyage, and maintaining common courtesy for each other despite the challenging conditions. I am grateful for the goodwill and camaraderie that is evolving as we spend more time on this voyage. We have another 10 days of this experience, which I am sure we will miss once back to our daily lives.
Capt Erden Eruç
Tuesday, July 30th
I have to say, I was very grateful to depart Honolulu: I wasn't going to make it much longer without some serious pool or ocean time. The heat and mugginess of working to prep the boat was an expected variable, but not fully appreciated in my mental preparations.
The sailing has been grand! The exhilaration and excitement of sailing a Santa Cruz 50 is evident in the boat’s ability to accelerate and recover coarse after slamming into a wave. She is like a thoroughbred who just wants to run, but needs to be bridled back upwind for the sanity and safety of the crew.
Notably, as has been reported, I did experience some seasickness. However, it wasn't until off watch on the 2nd night. I had been at the back of the boat wrestling with the lashings on the life raft and smelling diesel, followed by log entries at the muggy chart table, and then a trip forward to recover my drying towel. At that point I experienced a couple ounces of sickness preparing to rack out. No big deal, but apparently, I make these statements purely out of pride and ego.
Nonetheless, my heart is filled with gratitude for the opportunity to be here and to experience my first true crossing. I feel its important for my personal development to go the hard way first, so as to know I can handle what may come when I have the chance to race the gentleman's way to HI.
Signing off for now,
Watch Capt. Matt Aldred
Wednesday, July 31st
Today I noticed two important changes - my seasickness was finally over, and the conditions changed from sloppy seas to light conditions. During the night we still sailed in strong winds with sometimes high waves when swell and waves combined.
During the days the wind calmed down from about 20 knots, to maybe 15, and then 12; the sea state also became much smoother. The crew got together for some social time in the cockpit, and the general mood seemed bright. We talked about our plans for crossing the North Pacific High.
I'm looking at our position now, and it is clear that we will exit the trade wind belt tonight. I'm going to miss the impressive squalls that we had yesterday!
Crewmember Andreas Wieberneit