Sail Mail - March 23, 2015

Location: 1.56.0S - 140.47.3W - 450nm North of Nuka-Hiva - 1500nm SW of Hilo HI
Course: 352
Sea: 5ft
Wind: 12-17kts from E

Last Port: Nuka-Hiva
Destination Port: Hilo HI

Sorry for the lack of updates. I wanted to stop using sat phone minutes and start using the SSB. After straightening out the antenna and wire brushing the antenna feed contacts, its working!

Anyways, we stayed in Nuka Hiva for a night to get resupplied and left Friday afternoon. The first night was spent motoring around the island with light northerly winds which was painfully slow. Under sail: this boat is happy and flying at 9kts with ease in even light air. Under motor, especially to windward, we are lucky if she is moving 5kts. She does not like to motor and has made that very clear.

There's a couple interesting sea mounts right to the north of the main Marquesian islands, according to the charts, they come within 150ft of the surface and span miles across. Needless to say, it seemed like prime fishing grounds. We crossed them with 5 nice looking lures skimming behind Zephyr. Low and behold, about 3 miles in, we got a bite!

Bitter sweet news though. Whatever it was was BIG. Too big. It was on the only fishing pole and taking out line fast. By the time we had the boat hove-to and stopped, half the line on the drum was gone. I picked up the rod and could feel immense power from whatever was on the other end. I began synching up the drag as my line began to dwindle but it wasn't enough. With about a kilometer of line paid out and only 50 meters left on the rod I had to tighten the drag all the way down, unsurprisingly, the line broke.

Whatever it was dove deep and ran along the bottom. Tuna are known to do that so perhaps it was a 100lb+ tuna. Billfish (marlin) typically run along the surface but the power/speed of thing left me with a suspicion that it could have been one. Something else hit one of our hand lines in the same bite and broke 350lb test mono filament line, stealing the lure. Had we landed a 300lb billfish or a 100lb tuna, I'm not sure where all the fish would go so maybe its a good thing it escaped.

Other than that, we've been doing some fast sailing. Today is looking like we are going to have knocked off ~210nm in 24 hours. There was a good period in the evening where the boat is flying at 10kt. You wouldn't have known it in the saloon though....while that was going on, we were inside enjoying beer, brats and a movie. The faster the boat goes, the more stable it becomes as the windward hull surfs on waves while the leeward hull digs in deep.

Tomorrow afternoon, we should be crossing the equator.

Only 1550nm to Hawaii with our planned route. We'll keep heading a little shy of north until we hit the NE trade winds somewhere around 6-7 degrees north. At that point we'll head straight for Hawaii on a beam reach across 20kts winds and big seas.