Oaxaca Transback Logs: August 2nd-4th

You can follow Oaxaca’s return track here on Oaxaca’s website.

Friday, August 2nd
Position: 32º 24’ N 147º 04’ W
Course over ground: 065º magnetic
Speed over ground: 8.3 knots
True Wind Speed: 9.7 knots

Its hard to know when the days begin and end out here. If we didn't have the ships log to keep up on, I'm pretty sure we could forget what day it is.

Last night I got off watch after we got our first Polaris sight of the trip. It was hugely satisfying pulling the star to the horizon with the sextant and using the orientation of Cassiopeia to correct for true north. You don't get long before the horizon fades and you can’t measure the angle, so we had to pass the sextant around quickly to give the three crew members still up in the cockpit a chance.

It was glassy calm then and we were motoring. Now it’s filled in abaft the beam and we have the A4 spinnaker up. Top speed today is 13 knots! So nice to have the engine off. The future looks good too, the isobars between pressure systems have straightened out so it looks like we will be able to hold this reach for a few days!

Matt came up this morning for his watch as Elyn was driving and telling me that this was her first time setting and flying a spinnaker. To which Matt said that she had already driven on one tack under spinnaker longer than he ever had in his years of sailing. After a day of beautiful spinnaker reaching and a lovely dinner, Erden called all hands on deck to do a practice douse (letter box style) while it was still light. Everything went smoothly, Matt led a lesson in repacking ,and we re-hoisted right as a pod of dolphins joined us.

Pretty spoiled out here. Hope you guys take care of each other and don't break the country while we are gone.
Capt. Rhys out

Saturday, August 3rd
Position: 33º 43’ N 142º 55’ W
Course over ground: 060º magnetic
Speed over ground: 8 knots

Today's post is dedicated to Bon Jovi. Specifically for his song, "Living on a Prayer", which was heartily sung during today's Halfway Party sunset karaoke moment:

"We're halfway there now, oh, oh, living on a prayer, so take my hand, we'll make it I swear, oh OH…" etc.

Andreas, who had made delicious veggie and rice bowls for our party, then chimed in with a very uplifting German ballad about a ship lost at sea near Madagascar where the crew all died of plague. Which, at the expense of German ballads, did add a sense of levity to our party. We toasted our water bottles and commenced to refill the diesel tanks in celebration of getting halfway across the Northeast Pacific.

As it stands right now, we are roughly 1,000 miles from Hawaii, and roughly 1,000 miles from San Francisco. Around 10:30 am today, we saw our first jetliner fly overhead, and we realized that it was the closest to "other people", aka civilization, as we had been since leaving Honolulu over a week ago.

We are seeing more wildlife, including dolphins, albatross, and other birds. We are also seeing a tremendous amount of plastic trash, nets, rogue buoys and other junk in the water. 1,000 miles from anywhere and one still can't escape the plastic bottle floating by.

Elyn Andersson


Sunday, August 4th, 1:00
Position: 35º 46’ N 138º 30’ W
Course over ground: 070º magnetic
Speed over ground: 6.6 knots

I felt like I couldn't get enough sleep yesterday, to which the rest of the crew seemed to agree. Given, they allowed me to sleep through hours and hours of motoring and dinner. Though nowhere nice enough to save me a healthy portion of Quesada and Spanish rice.

I'm now writing today because I have many more positive memories of the day, having arisen from my best Rip Van Winkle impression (credit to Doug for remembering the name of the folk tale character who slept for years but for whom my memory circuits couldn't recall without Google.)

So, this morning as I awoke to the engine being shut down and feeling well rested. I was not at all perturbed to arise and make room to check the oil. It was determined a little oil wouldn't hurt, which prompted the discovery of additional hand line hooks and fishing lures with the oil and engine bits.

This was followed by some eggs and banter about making sure this lure was tied on right and not as prone to loss as the last two. Then true to form and proper punnery, the 3rd time was indeed a charm.

During the start of the noon hour in the middle of Elyn's sight-taking, Doug watched a male Mahi-Mahi rise up and strike the lure, coming full bore out of the water and becoming right properly hooked. To which, I was the privileged first responder.

I was perhaps mildly underwhelmed by the fight as the fish did most of the work bringing himself towards the boat, causing me to joyfully but simply strive to prevent losing tension on the line. This was followed by the captain dispatching the fish to great sea beyond and proper filleting of the best parts. The corpse of the fish properly named dinner was returned to the sea.

The great fish catch accomplishment has been followed up with a half dozen attempts at making way via sail, including the hoisting of the fabled and often spoke of Black Betty, Oaxaca's massive carbon fiber light #1. The apparent wind has been teasing and testing us: showing favorable enough conditions to hoist, only to be abated by shifting and ebbing winds. This meant we had to transfer and stow the last starboard rail fuel jug into the tank with visions and hopes of a long port tack run to come dancing in our heads.

Now off to enjoy some dutifully prepared fresh fish and fried rice cooked by Elyn for which I served as technical advisor. Fingers crossed, apparently my rep is on the line.

Signing off for today:
Watch Capt. Matt Alded