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Wondertime Sails to the South Pacific – Day 14

We are surrounded by dark clouds, many in the distance are steel grey right down to the water indicating a downpouring of rain. Above us, strangely, is a patch of blue sky, just for us. If it was night, you could see flashes of lightening illuminating the towering clouds that look like volcanoes erupting up into the sky. The sun, when the black clouds pass to let it through, is blindingly white. After a nice rain shower this morning the last puff of wind blew out and it’s been glassy calm all afternoon. Unless we get too close to the black clouds. Then the wind, and often rain, just seems to pour straight down out of them for a few minutes.

This place is eerie; we have no desire to linger and have run the engine for the first time in nearly two weeks in order to reach the other side, and the southeast trades, more quickly in these glassy conditions. Sometimes a squall will last long enough that we can take advantage of the wind to gain more peaceful miles under sail, as we are doing now.

We’re passing through the ITCZ, or the Intertropical Convergence Zone. This is the narrow band of light- or non-existent wind, rain squalls, and thunderheads that mark the change between the northeast trade winds and southeast winds that lie on the other side. Our daily weather fax shows it between 3 and 4 degrees north; we just passed under 4 degrees so hopefully 60 miles or so and we’ll be back in the trades.

Total miles at noon: 1535
Miles since yesterday: 93
Apples remaining: 8*

*There are Puddle Jump provisioning articles on the internet galore so I won’t add to the pile of them except to say that the fruit that has tasted the best and lasted the longest (the remaining ones taste as fresh as when I loaded them on the boat 2.5 weeks ago) are good old Washington apples! I wish I had packed on at least twice as many as I did, especially the green Granny Smiths (which are excellent with Nutella by the way) but who would think they’d be so happy in the equatorial heat?

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