FREE OF THE INTER TROPICAL CONVERGENCE ZONE (ITCZ)

Yesterday afternoon I tacked east and after a few hours the wind started to back around and I could head south again.  We are close hauled on the port tack again with the wind from south of east.  The motion became quite violent on board as Truce was jumping off waves and crashing into the following one.  I have reduced sail to preserve body and boat.  We should still make Christmas Island in two days if the wind does not go any more south.

The sunrise this morning was magnificent.  Blue skies and high cloud.  No more ITCZ.  We spent four days in there and had two wonderful nights sailing, dining and watching movies in the cockpit.  We also had two not so good nights.

This morning I did my bread making workout.  Quite an effort when going to windward.  Hopefully this batch will last a couple of days.

The Truce movie appreciation society watched the first ‘Men in Black’ movie last night.  Jessica’s choice.  I have seen it a couple of times previously, it was a family favourite with the children – but still entertaining to watch again.

KIRITIMATI, Christmas Island. Photo Google Map
KIRITIMATI, Christmas Island. Photo Google Map

Talk is now turning to Christmas Island and what we will do when we get there.  Important items include go for a long walk (Jessica), fresh fruit, laundry and cold beer(me), snorkelling, fresh fish, fresh vegetables, sleep and hang out with the locals.  Christmas Island is on GMT plus fourteen hours, we will need to adjust a day before we get there as we are currently on GMT minus ten.  Voyage distance 1,026 miles.

FIVE HUNDRED MILES FROM KIRITIMATI

We are now five hundred miles from Kiritimati.  A large area of calms is showing up in front of us and appears to be growing by the day.  This is the ITCZ, an area of calms, thunderstorms and variable winds we need to cross before Christmas Island.  The current weather is overcast with rain, the winds are getting lighter as each hour passes.

The wind is still on the port bow, aa it has been since the first day out of Honolulu.  Truce is still moving along nicely as we continue to work our way to the south with an allowance to the east.  I think that by this evening the wind will be very light and the fun starts.

Once again the solar panels are not putting out enough charge to keep us topped up.  I have switched off some non-essential items to conserve power until we can get a nice sunny day.  The combination of short tropical days and continuous overcast skies is something I hadn’t counted on.

Last night’s fresh Dolphinfish Thai fish curry was excellent.  Jessica did a fantastic job of cooking in a galley that was jumping around – not chef friendly.  We decided not to have rice with the curry and cooked pasta instead.  Neither Jessica or I like cooking rice without a rice cooker (one of mans great inventions) – it always sticks to the pan and needs cleaning off.  I am sure the Thai’s and Italians wouldn’t approve the mix, but there are not here.  It was good.  Voyage distance 695 miles.

SAILING INTO THE TROPIC OF CANCER

Looking at the log book for last night I see I was having a hard time.  Sails up and down, in and out, tacking, gybing and engine on.  Sometimes reducing sail as going too fast and others just no wind.  I was surprised to find we had covered 109 miles noon to noon, a commendable effort in such trying conditions.  It must be good for you, good exercise in the fresh air.

Since midday it has been easy street.  Sailing with just the jib poled out to port, making a steady five plus knots in sparkling weather directly towards our destination.  Also, an opportunity to catch up on some sleep from the night before.

Waikiki beach, Hawaii. Photo Ngozi Penson
Waikiki beach, Hawaii. Photo Ngozi Penson

Today we crossed the imaginary line into the Tropic of Cancer.  This line marks the furthest point north the sun will get before heading back to the south again.  If you stood on the line at midday of the summer solstice the sun would be directly overhead at noon.  The word tropic is derived from a Greek word meaning to turn (that’s what we learned in navigation).

The Greeks were quite good at maths and figuring out what the planets were doing.  The ancient Brits were also up to speed on all that stuff – just that being illiterate they couldn’t write it down – they had to explain it in big stone circles

Entering the Tropics. Ray Penson jpg
Entering the Tropics. Ray Penson jpg

This time last year Truce and I were in Sitka Alaska.  Sitka was a really nice place, one of the best towns in Alaska.

What a contrast sailing into Hawaii.

I am getting quite excited by it all now and really looking forward to getting ashore in Hilo, only three more days to go.

A small rum and coke will be appropriate for sundowners today, we are in the tropics after all.

Voyage distance 1,816 miles.