Sailing Mango

PV to SD - Day One

The day started similarly to the couple of days before it, with a list of things to get done prior to departure. Several things were still on the list; buying last minute groceries at the outrageously priced grocery store in Paradise Village, securing the deck, taking on our final water, buying a few last things at the chandlery. The chandlery items included a small diesel jug for fresh diesel when changing fuel filters, just one more gallon of engine oil, spare hose for the cooling system, and acetone, sold in anonymous liter sized bottles with a hand written label, "Acetone". No MSDS label here.

You might think preparing for a three or four week sailing trip would be filled with excitement, and possibly novelty. Not really, it has been about as exciting as the paragraph above, many tasks, broken down into their constituent pieces so as to make the whole possible.

At 10:30 three people from the port captains office came to Mango to check us out. They came below, wandered the boat, a twenty second job, and then sat in the cockpit jovially talking while one of the threesome filled out the paperwork. Our visas where taken, they bid us adiĆ³s, and then we spent another two hours at the dock finishing those tasks that would allow us to leave port without losing too much to breakage down below, or having objects being lost over the side on deck.

Around one PM we motored to La Cruz for fuel, topped off our tank and filled our new to us deck jugs, about fifty extra gallons bringing our total to one fifty, and left. Sails were raised in twenty knots of breeze, the engine turned off, and off we went, scooting across the bay.

Through the course of the afternoon we raised, lowered, and trimmed sails, all at the whim of the winds. When darkness finally set, we had just the jib and jigger flying, fifteen or so knots of wind, and Mango was making five, just about perfect.

Our watch schedule is ostensibly three hours on, nine off. Adam takes one of those watches, but to prevent him from sailing to Hawaii, one of the parents is awake with him, or at least napping in the cockpit.

Bioluminescence in these warm waters is magical. The waves are brushed with bright pale blue, filled with motes of sparkling dots, brighter than the stars by far, but casting no shadows. I watched it for hours. At some point in the night I saw a bioluminescent blob just off our port quarter, behind the boat. At first I thought it was just our wake, but it swelled and ebbed, shortened and lengthened, and eventually came right alongside the boat. It was a school of fish, but difficult to distinguish the individuals. After just a few minutes the blob blobbed off, and disappeared.

Emma had dolphins on her watch. She held Biscuit tightly in a hug, helping him to understand these were friends, not foes. Eventually he lost interest, and went to sleep.

Around three am, as Emma came off watch, I raised the main so we could continue sailing with some low state of haste. The winds had dropped to about eight knots apparent.

I jolted awake in the early morning as Kristen started the engine. Winds were low and shifty, within an hour became shiftier, and she was obliged to furl the jib, spin the rpms higher, and continue with just the main and mizzen mostly helping to dampen the roll.

Day one has passed, along with the days of preparation that preceded it, to be replaced by six or seven more days of routine. Sails go up, are sheeted and trimmed, followed by sails going down, engine on and hot. Basic food is prepared, perhaps ramen, a hard boiled egg, or maybe a real meal cooked while trying to maintain a three legged stool with both legs and a butt butted against the counter. Watches are maintained, fuel estimates updated, and water is conserved rigorously.

And that is about how it goes.

I love a shifting wind when it works to our favor! Ignore the routing update putting us on land.