Drifting Through The Traffic Lanes

Miles traveled days 25-28: 445
Miles traveled total : 3,470
Miles to Port Angeles: 1,584

While 445 miles doesn’t look too bad for 4 days in our slow boat, it’s really two pretty good days and two slow stinkers. And tonight we’re in for another slow one. We’ve got 7 knots of wind from the east, which of course is just the direction we want to go. We’re basically nearly adrift in a north setting current, making about 2.5 knots over ground. The forecast says by daybreak we should be getting wind from the south, so hopefully that’s true and we can point the boat towards home and make some more miles to the good. We’re just about as far north as we want to go, but seem to have little choice at the moment about that.

We’ve learned that the forecasts any further out than 48 hours are barely worth even looking at. The forecasters seem to give the absolute worst case – everything that could go wrong – type of scenario again and again. Maybe they got sued like the Canadian forecasters, who are well known in the Northwest for predicting a gale 7 days out of 7 when the summer light air breezes are barely noticeable. Nearly every 96 hour forecast we’ve seen has shown huge lows, gales and even storms. The 72 hour forecast always shows a much more settled picture, and by the time we see a surface analysis showing current conditions, the area where they predicted 30 knot winds 4 days ago has 6.

Tonight we seem to be drifting across the east/west traffic lanes for freighter traffic between Los Angeles and Asia. It may seem strange, but being in the traffic is actually quite comforting. With so many ships in the same area they’re more likely to keep a good lookout. We’re never sure this far out how good the watchkeeping is on those freighters in the middle of the night, and the last two I hailed earlier this week did not answered me on the VHF. Before I took my first nap tonight there was a ship that was going to pass about 1.5 miles in front of us. When he was 6 miles away he suddenly turned up 5 degrees, giving us a 2 mile gap. I called him on the VHF to say thanks, and this time he did answer, saying he saw us on radar and was giving us some space. Nice to hear, that’s for sure.

Not much else going on. Today we actually saw real sun for the first time in forever. Funny thing was, there was a hole in the clouds directly above us allowing the sun to peek through, and we were totally surrounded by fog. Tonight we have the same conditions – a nearly full moon above and fog all around. This is the first we’ve seen of the moon this entire cycle. Maybe we’ll get lucky and have one last starry night before we finally get to put this passage in the record books.