Adventures of Maia | Blog
An adventure, sailing and cruising throughout the world with Laura, Dick and Ellie.
Sailing, Blog, cruising, MAIA, Sceptre 41, sailboat, fun, adventure,
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We have been out here 2 weeks! Holy cow, it feels as if the time has passed quickly, which is a good thing because we might have 2 weeks left to go! Yikes, that seems a little crazy! 4 weeks on our 41 foot Sceptre sailboat. The only times we will have gotten off is to go for swims. We saw another ship today, it was a freighter heading for South America.

It is really, really beautiful out here. The Water (a deep blue, yesterday when we went swimming you could see the sun rays beaming Deep into it.) The Sky, Clouds , a Green Flash, and Rainbows (we have seen rainbows the last couple days!) Yesterday and today we had Dolphins visit us. Yesterday, one jumped about 8 ft out the water, so amazing! We have seen quite a few different kinds of Birds, almost every day it seems like something new flys by. A couple days ago we had a pair of brown boobies hitchhike a ride on the boom overnight. We see flying fish almost everyday. Thankfully, only a few have landed on the deck. (Late addition, one landed in the quarter berth last night, next to where I was sleeping! Hannah was able to save it and throw it back into the Sea!) We also have seen one sea turtle!

We are very grateful for our Banderas Bay Pacific Puddle Jump radio net, where we check in every night and learn where others are and if everyone is doing ok. The group organized in La Cruz, we had weekly meetings to discuss the Pacific Puddle Jump and the radio net was organized thru the group. Marina La Cruz was an awesome place to be to get ready for the jump. If anyone is considering the Puddle Jump in the future, I would recommend La Cruz as a starting point. Besides our weekly meetings other talks were given that were of great significants to us. There are plenty of stores nearby to do your provisioning, a marine store, sail loft. It is a very friendly place for cruisers.

We have been sailing most of the day today, even though we had super fluky winds this afternoon (it was similar yesterday). We also appear to be in the equatorial counter-current which is flowing against us. We are feeling that we should soon be out of the ITCZ (the Doldrums) and into the South Eastern Trades Winds, where we are expecting more consistent winds. We still have over half our diesel in reserve, to use when needing to charge the batteries and move us in the case of little to no wind.

How far did we go? April 10, 100 miles; April 11, 120 miles; April 12, 35 miles (ugg!)

It is a beautiful clear night. The stars are out and are lighting up the Ocean all around us. I saw a shooting star! There is very little wind (1-2 knots). The Ocean looks like a big glassy pond, except you can still feel the dependable swell. It is the clearest starlit night of the crossing.

As we are still in the ITCZ, keeping our eyes our for squalls. This evening it looked like we might get hit by one, it came within a mile and then retreated. Lightening is lighting up the sky and it is very hot and humid. The weather reminds me of the midwest and Lake Michigan in the summers. Except there are no mosquitos!

It was a hot, hot day, in the 90’s. We had light winds and this morning Hannah and I gybed the sails as the wind had shifted. Winds were coming from the ESE (East South East) a sign that we might be entering into the Southeast Trade winds! Tonight we are motoring as the winds are very light, 2-4 knots. We are going at 6 knots and the breeze is helping cool things off.

We have somewhat settled into our routines, with our nightshifts and Dick & my naps during the day. Dick has been sleeping in half of the V- berth, the other half is storage, I have taken over the Quarter berth and Hannah is sleeping on the settee. When the wind is blowing and the waves are rocking and rolling the boat making it tough to sleep, we have all figured out how to get comfortable in our bunks. Hannah has figured out how to wedge herself with pillows between the table and the back of the settee. I use my feet and back against the different walls. Dick…..

How far did we go? April 9, 95 miles

We are in the Doldrums / the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ). On Friday night Hannah noticed some lightning, it appeared we had arrived! (As I was laying in the cockpit, wondering if I was going to survive! I got hit with a headache, nausea and vomiting, earlier in the day, not fun!)

We altered course to head to 9* 117 W, as our weather map showed that as the eastern edge of a strong convection warning zone. We were able to steer clear of the storms overnight, then Saturday morning the clouds and storminess were all around us. We lowered the main, reefed the genoa, set up the staysail, and cleared the deck, preparing for whatever may come our way. Do we dive into the dark or steer toward the light? We chose the light!

Around 1000 we could see a storm that appeared to be coming toward the stern of the boat. (We visually look around and also use the radar.) Hannah and I rolled up the Genoa, took off the monitor wind vane and turned on the auto-pilot. By 1045 we were surrounded by the squall, the rain started, we had a small change in wind direction from E to ESE. We had wind up to 21 knots. By 1115 the wind had died, the engine was on and we were heading South. We had survived!!!!

By 1430 engine was off as the wind had picked up. We had NNE winds up to 20 knots the rest of the day and we were sailing by the staysail only! We continued watching for squalls and had a small one Saturday evening. Sunday morning we got hit with a strong rain, but not much wind to go with it. It was an awesome shower for Maia, she hasn’t been this clean in a long time!

How far did we go? April 6, 125 miles; April 7, 138 miles; April 8, 132 miles

We had a different day today, it was overcast and cooler. The clouds never looked threatening, just filled the sky.

We continued sailing wing and wing, throughout the day. At sunset we decided to change to a Port tack, to see if it will be a little easier sleeping tonight. (Last night we were rocking and rolling most of the night and I had a really hard time getting into a position where I was not getting knocked around. I finally put my back against one side of the quarter-berth and braced my feet on the other.) Generally, the swell is not too bad, until the set of the big ones come in and knock us all around!

Several more of the boats in our “fleet” from Banderas Bay have arrived or are arriving in the Marquesas in the next couple days. So exciting! We still have probably 2/3rds to 1/2 of the trip left to go. I think we are all doing ok, getting into the swing of things, but also excited to get there. We are starting to prepare more for the new weather pattern we expect to experience soon!

How far did we go? April 5 – 120 miles

It is a dark night, as moon has not risen. It is somewhat of a catch 22, for me, as I really like the moon shining, so I can see all around us. (It feels safer!) But tonight, there are millions of stars shinning even with the clouds around. I see the Southern Cross constellation to the South. The phosforessence in the water is amazingly beautiful, it is like tiny little stars lighting up the water streaming off the boat.

Dick and I made more sail changes first thing this morning. We were heading too far west so we needed to gybe (change direction, with the wind at our stern). Decision was do we just tack (put the sails on the other side of the boat) or sail wing and wing (with the wind directly behind us, with the genoa on one side and the main sail on the other). We decided to tack, once we did, we realized we would be heading to far east, so we reset the genoa and set up the spinnaker pole. We have been sailing wing and wing, with the monitor wind vane ever since!

Hannah and I reduced sail after sunset, as suddenly we were getting gusts up to 15-16 knots, when the wind had been staying below 10 most of the day. The boat was rocking and rolling a little to much. We generally like to be more conservative with our amount of sails out overnight.

We believe we have a couple more days of sailing in the trade winds before we get close to Doldrums and the Inter Tropical Convergence Zone, (ITCZ), where the wind and weather will change. There is generally less wind and also squalls to contend with!

How far did we go? April 4 – 142 miles

We decided to sail through the night with the spindrifter as the winds continue to be light. I woke up this morning hearing the water rushing by the hull of the boat and could feel that the boat was heeling. I checked in with Dick and the wind was around 12 knots so we decided to douse the spindrifter ( winds got up to 15 knots). It was a little difficult pulling the spindrifter in, but we managed and then rolled out the genoa.

We have been sailing around 6 knots throughout the day. The swell and winds waves have been rocking us around, so it is not as smooth sailing as the last couple days, but we are making better headway! The monitor wind vane has been working great! Once we took down the spindrifter, we set out the full Genoa with a reefed main and have been sailing smoothly with the monitor ever since. With the lighter winds we had for a couple days we had to give the monitor a little nudge every now and then to keep the sails full and us on track.

It has been quiet without hearing anyone on the VHF radio. The wierd thing was that yesterday (or the day before 🙂 we were hearing the US Coast Guard San Diego for the first time in months. We think probably because we were no longer in the shadow of Baja.

We tune into the Banderas Bay Pacific Puddle Jump Radio net nightly at 0100 zulu, but unfortunately, it is very difficult to hear most people. It is great being able to check in with our position and information and hear where others are. Today we got some bad news, Epiphany, one of the boats in our fleet is heading back as both their battery banks decided to die in unison!

How far did we go? April 3 – 95 miles

We feel like we are sailing with the trade winds! Even though they are very light, we had the lines of puffy clouds that are typical of the trades!

Early morning (0520) engine on. Windspeed went down to less than 1 knot, only the rate of our roll at the masthead was recording! Speed over ground was less than 1 knot. We motored only until 0740, which was enough to give our batteries an extra charge and also warm our water. Warm showers for all later today!

We had the spindrifter up by 0940, and are very excited about it. Currently wind is blowing 4.7 knots and the boat is moving along at 2 knots. Much better than last night with the Genoa slapping around and us going even slower. The spindrifter is much quieter, we just need to keep a closer eye on it, maker sure it stays full and that we keep the wind coming across our mid-ship.

Late afternoon we doused the spindrifter and furled the main and went in for a swim! It was perfect, even though the water was a little colder than expected, but it felt wonderful!!!

Hannah did some baking today, she made bread and a yummy root vegetable dish. We pondered where to store our eggs and vegetables that we would not fit in fridge and ended up storing them in the V berth. It seems to be the coolest location. Fruits and veggies seem to be holding up ok, bananas are very ripe but still good to eat.

We talked about how night shifts are going today. It seems good for us all. I am feeling a little tired, but will try to get more napping in during the day. My shift goes quickly and it is easy to stay awake, however my body seems to like 8-10 hours a night and I am only getting about 7.

We had dolphins visit this evening, just as it was getting dark. It was hard to see them, but Hannah heard them coming up for breaths and we could see their bodies streaming through the water.

How far did we go? April 2 – 55 miles

It feels like we are getting into a routine. We had another day of light winds, sunshine, and a full moon rise, I’m a happy girl! Weather is forecasting a couple more days of light winds. No easter egg hunt aboard Maia.

Dick pulled out the Honda generator early and charged the batteries. We went over safety procedures today and realized we need to get clearer on our COB (crew overboard) procedures. We also talked about the liferaft, fire and fire extinguishers, EPIRB and a few other things.

Tonight was our night to host the Banderas Bay Pacific Puddle Jump Radio net, we had lots of checkins! Thank goodness Sea Casa was there to relay for us. We could only hear a few boats clearly, which has seems to be the situation most evenings. It is great to be able to find out where others are and really exciting when we hear when one of the fleet has become Shellbacks! (They have crossed the equator and are now in the Southern Hemisphere.)

How far did we go? April 1 – 78 miles

It was a gorgeous day, temperature in the 80’s. We put up a shade cloth in the cockpit in the morning and it stayed comfortable. We spend most of our time in the cockpit, when not cooking, sleeping or on the SSB radio. The cabin gets hot, we only allow a hatch or two to be open, so not much breeze comes through.

The wind mellowed even more today. Currently it is only blowing 5 knots from the North and our speed is in the 1 knot range. It feels ok to be going this slow, knowing that we have a limited amount of fuel for the trip. The sea has really mellowed, (2-4 ft with a long break between them) so it is super comfortable. Dick got the monitor windvane going, and it is working fairly well. Occasionally, we need to tweek it a little, but it is really helping with using less power & it is quiet!!!

We had a couple more yummy meals today. We had brunch around noon, with potatoes, onions, mushrooms and eggs. For dinner, quesadillas with blue corn tortillas, artichokes, beets, leftover rice and potatoes.

Our night shifts seem to be working, I start the evening at 2100 and go till 0030 when Hanna takes over until 0400. Dick generally does a little longer shift until I wander up around 0830. Then he goes back to sleep for a bit. Then I take over until they wake up again. It has been nice having quiet mornings.

Today, the boom was banging around with the light winds and one of the new gooseneck screws Dick put in came out! We now have a strap pulling it down to keep it from jumping up and down.

La Luna is shinning super bright as she is full. We have very few clouds in the sky. We decided to try to head a little east as there looks like there is more wind out that way. Our weather forecasts are looking like we will have fairly calm winds for the next several days. That may give us time to get prepared for the ITCZ zone and the squalls we may experience. Dick has been studying up on the weather. It is a little daunting thinking about what kind of weather we may experience! Also, thinking about the weather in the Islands, sounds like we will be getting some major rain storms.

How far did we go? March 31 – 70 miles

It is a beautiful night, with an almost full La Luna lighting our way. We have about a 90% cloud cover, but she has everything lit up nicely! With her light, I feel safer and it makes for a much easier night passage.

Our wind calmed a bit today, but we sailed again all day. Speed averaging around 4 knots. The seas have calmed tremendously! Swell is around 2-4 feet from the North. Winds have varied a bit, currently 10 knots from the North. We have been heading in a westerly direction and will be passing Isla San Benidido in an hour or so and then will head more Southerly.

There has been quite a few big boats (10-15) we have been seeing on the AIS today. Boats going to Mexico, South America, Panama! We have only been able to see a few in person, the rest are just symbols on our chart plotter.

With the calmer day, Dick pulled out the generator and was able to top up the water tanks with the water maker. We all took showers this evening! Dick also added the new anti-slip to the stairs. It feels much better and looks better too! Hannah and I played some rounds of Gin (card game), FUN!

Everyone is feeling better today, especially Hannah. She ended taking a couple of anti-nausea pills and felt better fast. Oh, the miracle of drugs. (Definitely recommend Ondansetron, orally disintegrating tablets.) I am feeling a little off, I think mostly because of lack of sleep. I finally got the blog updated the night before we left, staying up until 3:30. I have always been a great procrastinator!

I cooked our first real dinner of the trip, sautéed mushrooms, onions, zuchini & kale and we made white basmati rice. It was super tasty. We have lots of fresh veggies to use up before they expire!

How far did we go? March 30 – 130 miles