16 April 2010 | Pacific Ocean
The winds started picking up today, and with it so did the swell. Diego noticed a few drops of water that had leaked into the cabin near the navigation desk, and after a little investigation, we decided it had to be addressed immediately. There is a small rail along the starboard side of the boat that holds a pulley for adjusting the twist of the jib. For some reason, the builder of the boat didn’t reinforce this piece very well. The small piece of wood under the fiberglass is rotting and the nuts on the bolts are coming through allowing water in. Alex spent some time in Nicaragua replacing the same rail on the port side (around 2 weeks), but to do it on the starboard side will be a huge project. We had noticed it in Panama and thought we had solved it with a quick fix, but water started dripping in a different place. Just before we started that repair, a pretty big wave hit the boat. I smelled diesel and saw that one of the cheap diesel cans that we had bought in panama had flipped and was leaking. So for the rest of the day, Alex and Diego dealt with the leak while I cleaned up the spilled diesel and retied all the diesel cans down. All of this great wind has come at a bit of a cost to us. We were planning on having to motor for a day to get out of the duldrums, but were able to catch good wind which saved us a ton of diesel. The problem is that diesel is heavy and doesn’t last forever. We’ve only had to run our engine a few times to recharge the batteries. The extra weight is making us ride a little lower in the water and probably slowing us down. On top of that, we don’t have the best diesel cans, so there is always the risk of a little leak. Another thing we have to consider is that if diesel sits for too long, bacteria can grow in it, but we’ve thrown in an additive that is supposed to help us avoid that problem. With all that said, we still prefer this wind and hope it continues for the next two weeks. We also found out that while the cucumbers look like they will last forever, they don’t. I was looking into the source of a foul smell (unfortunately something we’ve had to do quite a bit since we provisioned too early) and started searching for a bad orange. I grabbed what looked like a pristine ripe cucumber to move it aside. It felt almost like a water balloon and burst in my hand, showering my bed with cucumber water and seeds. Looks like we’ll be eating cucumber salads for the next few days. We cooked up some black beans and rice (would have been great with some fish), and as we were sitting in the cockpit to eat them, I noticed that our heavy line setup had been hit by something. I tugged on the line and felt a fish. All three of us grabbed on the hand line to bring it in and then we realized that what we were pulling in was the foam spool that the line was supposed to be wrapped around and must have gotten knocked in with a wave. Luckily we had cleated the line down in two spots in case something like this happened. It put up a heck of a fight, diving with every wave and nearly pulled us in. We were hoping there was a fish on as well, but no luck. We got it in and had quite a tangle to unravel. We covered 155 nm, just 2 miles short of our record. Winds are predicted to pick up, so hopefully we can beat that.