Day Four Offshore: Sunrise and Dirty Underwear

I know for certain that I'm going to jinx us by writing what I'm about to write, but I'm going to write it anyway. It's the dawn of our 4th day at sea on Sojourner since departing St. Croix, and if you count the leg from St. Lucia, today marks the start of our seventh consecutive sailing day broad reaching on starboard tack with 20 knots of wind off the stern quarter. Remarkable sailing.

I've been sitting here standing watch in the cockpit with the iPad in my hand waiting to write this until the sun came up. It was already light when I relieved Tom at 0600, but the sun was still somewhere over the horizon. Soon though, a large bank of clouds, like snow covered mountains in the distance, lit up a brilliant gold as the sun crept up beyond them. The sky above the boat turned all sorts of orange and pink and blue. As it got higher, though still hidden behind the mountainous clouds, rays of sunbeams fired out in all directions, up and over the peaks and down onto the ocean. It would be impossible to photograph this, or even paint it. If you've seen it, you'll know what I mean. If you haven't, we'll get out there and look for yourself. The combination of slight sleep deprivation and the mental state that affords, plus the great wilderness that we're sailing through gives sunrises at sea a special feel. Even if you could properly convey the image of the scene back home, you'd never convey that feeling, and that's what it's all about.

I should mention for the wives and families back home that Sojourner is currently in position 22 45 N, 070 38 W as of 0630 EST. We changed back into the Eastern time zone yesterday, and in another 45 miles we'll be officially out of the tropics (north of 23 30 N, or the northernmost latitude that the sun will reach in the summer solstice in late June). Kevin would know that well by now - he and I spent many hours yesterday discussing celestial navigation, and worked our way through his first sun sight. (I love the binder he made up for the class. On the back cover he printed a photo of the Dos Equis 'Most Interesting Man in the World.' Kevin's invented caption reads, 'I don't always shoot sun lines, but when I do, I always use the lower limb.' Pretty clever!)

Today will be a cleaning day aboard the boat. All of us now are going on more than half a week in the same scuzzy clothing. I haven't changed underwear since Tuesday, and my scalp is starting to itch and my fingernails are dirty. It's HOT sailing offshore in the tropics, as you've got to keep the boat all closed up. Down below it must be 90 degrees. It's a huge relief coming outside and feeling the breeze on our dirty skin. So well heave-to later on this afternoon for a swim and a good cleanup. I'll change my underwear and shave. Well wipe down the cabin sole with fresh water and clean the galley and the head real good. Dump some fresh water on the cockpit cushions (it hasn't rained more than a few drops yet).

So that's life aboard Sojourner as it stands today. Kevin and Tom are proving awesome crew members and good company, and we are eating quite well - chicken curry ala Chef Andy last night, burgers by Kevin the night before, and with any luck some fresh mahi mahi tonight if my dad can prove himself a real fisherman. Northwest we sail towards the Bahamas.

Until Next Time, Andy and the Crew