Tuesday, March 07, 2006

in The Gulf

At Sea, N 24 07 W 83 32

What a splendid day. We arose to a nice little breeze and a beautiful day. We got underway at 0700 Libby and I have trouble getting ourselves out of bed for earlier departures. By 0800 we were clear of the Dry Tortugas and heading for sea.

Only 15 miles south of Dry Tortugas we crosses a shipping lane. There were so many ships it looked like a Conga line. We navigated to stay as far away them as possible.

The winds have been moderate. We're sailing a broad reach and averaging 4.7 knots. At this speed it will take us 62 hours to reach the Mexican coast and 110 hours to reach Belize. However the forecast is for more wind than this so we'll improve on those numbers.

Our course points at the northeast corner of Yucatan and takes us within 50 miles of Cuba. I hope that's a safe margin.

No worry about running aground out here. We have a kilometer of water under the keel. The depth sounder gave up at 400 feet so I turned it off.

We tried to check in with the Cruisehimer Net on the SSB radio this morning. I tuned the frequency and I could hear them but I couldn't transmit. I could tell because the DC ammeter did not move when I called. Odd. It transmits when using email. I had to re-read the owner's manual. When one selects a frequency with the keypad, the default is receive only. To transmit on the same frequency one has to select that frequency also with the keypad. By the time I figured all that out it was too late. I'll try again tomorrow.

There are flying fish out here. Not like the Pacific ones I read about in Kon Tiki but little guys about 8 cm long who fly about 1 meter out of the water. There are lots of birds out here too.

We still haven't come to the Gulf Stream itself although we have a 1.1 knot current pushing eastward. I guess we'll enter it after sunset. You'll have to wait for tomorrow's blog to find out how it was.

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