3:05 am, April 4. I'm sitting in the cockpit, facing aft. The full moon is lighting up the boat from the port stern quarter - you can easily do any deck work without a flashlight and could probably read a book by the moonlight. There are some puffy clouds scattered about. There were none earlier tonight when the moon first rose. It was hard to choose between watching the moonrise in the east or the sunset in the west. I mostly watched the spaghetti I was shoveling into my mouth at dinner time, which came a little late tonight, but was delightful thanks to Les, today's chef de cuisine.
A note on the crew while we're on the subject. Les is a former semi-pro mountain bike racer from Toronto who now runs a family car shop outside the city that's been going strong for something like 45 years. He and I have had a lot to talk about, discussing cycling, running and fitness. I met him once before, at the Toronto boat show in January, though by then he'd already signed on for the trip. Canadians are great - this is only my second expedition, and already four of the seven total crew have been our neighbors to the north. Pretty neat, eh?
Jim is from Kansas City, which despite my dad's confusion is not actually in Kansas but really in Missouri. He's been a lake sailor there for ten years or so and is three years from retirement as an IT guru for a bank. His retirement plan includes the new Beneteau Oceanis 45 he's just ordered that will go into charter with Dream Yachts in Annapolis and Tortola. He'll use it on and off for five years and then own it outright for his retirement adventures. Sounds like a good plan to me!
Ocean sailing. Sojourner is wing on wing making 7 knots through the night. I just finished a hot cup of my 59 North Oh Dark Thirty coffee, which I conceived for just such occasions. 'For the night watch,' goes the tag line! I could not be in a better mood. I'm fully acclimated to life offshore now, having slept most of the day away yesterday and finally gotten a good poop earlier this afternoon. It sounds gross, but it's a fact of life offshore - your body gets out of kilter and sometimes you'll go days without a nice sit-down, which truly affects you physically and mentally. When you finally have acquisition, it's a huge relief. I think Jim and Les would agree that most people probably underestimate just how physical an ocean passage is, even just moving around the boat. You really do need time to acclimate, not unlike getting used to higher altitude on a climbing or skiing expedition. But once you do, man is it enjoyable!
I spent the first hour of my watch tonight listening to David Byrne & St Vincent's co-album called 'Love this Giant,' one of my favorites despite its hipster status (according to my ex-girlfriend from long ago who teases me about liking it). I don't care, it's awesome, and has been a staple of inspiring night watches since I first listened to it on Saudade, a Tayana 48 I brought back from St Thomas. I'll spend the last hour, after I'm through typing this, reading a crime novel by Norwegian author Jo Nesbo, which will also make me happy because it reminds me of Scandinavia, which reminds me of Sweden and Mia and the fact that we're going back there together soon.
So I'll enjoy the rest of tonight, knowing that these gorgeous, inspiring nights are only on loan. The payment's going to come due in another day or so when that cold front catches up with us and our warm, downwind sailing turns into cold, upwind sailing. For the reason we're going so well tonight is this glorious SW wind which almost always heralds the coming of a cold front and a wind shift. But I'll take it for now and enjoy the moment.