Tasman Crossing: Day 7

KeyTas
Author: Pete
Location: 28°18.148S’,  158°37.837E’

 

Day 7 at sea.

Well, that’s one week on passage! One thing that has been surprising about this crossing is the lack of anything or anyone at all out here. Not one freighter has crossed that horizon into our bubble. We’re always on the lookout for them. Steaming at twenty knots they can sneak up on you in a hurry. Every so often I’ll fire up the radar to see if anyone is WAY out there. The radar can detect ships at almost forty miles out, the ones skimming our bubble whose masts just barely clear the horizon and can’t really be seen through binoculars. Still, nothing. The navigational equivalent of crickets. If it weren’t for the squalls showing up as fuzzy blue blobs on the scope I’d be convinced that the radar was broken.  We keep logging location, sea and wind condition, and sail configuration on every watch change.  Sometimes it’s useful.  Sometimes it just helps pass the time.

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Taz is behaving himself, thankfully, though I’m not sure for how much longer. We had another gorgeous, sunny day today. Fresh winds this morning, then a lull, then renewed winds. Scooting along happily tonight despite the cloud cover that’s just come in this evening, painting out the stars. The overcast filled heavily, and now you can’t tell where sea meets sky at the horizon. The moon is rising later and later as our passage goes, and without it now I can’t see the bows from the helm. But tonight I’ll enjoy the sailing on the graveyard watch despite the pea soup visibility. Not too many things more exciting than sailing fast in the dark with nothing but empty horizon.

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HAA! Spoke too soon! No sooner had I punctuated that last sentence a blip appeared on my radar scope. You can’t make this stuff up… Huzzah! Life! A boat! And another blip: a squall! I track the boat for a half hour, and lo and behold, we have a possible intersection (read: collision course). Sounds to me like zero fun in the middle of the night. Good thing I’m all juiced up on gummy sharks! The ship’s blazing lights (must be a cruise ship) are on the horizon now, but we’re about to go into a rainy patch and I might not be able to see it for long. But that’s what radar is for! Eventually, the ships contact details come up on my AIS screen and I hail Carnival Spirit (definitely a cruise ship) on the VHF to see if they have me on their scopes. Yes, they do, and yes it might be close, so I tack the boat to let them go through. Nothing more humiliating than being run over by a cruise ship. It’d be like getting hit by one of those circus fire trucks stuffed with nineteen clowns, sirens and pinwheels screaming. I sail the wrong way for a few minutes to let Barnum & Bailey bulldoze on through, then tack single-handedly back to my course. The whole rigmarole took about an hour and a half and now it’s raining! Dang! I had a great playlist picked out for a solo deck dance party too! I’m drowning my sorrows in gummy sharks.

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2 Comments

  1. charlie bentley   •  

    Lol. Fantastic

  2. Mom   •  

    I share the sentiment expressed so nicely by Greg and others – I am sorry that errantries.com will not be popping up on a daily basis. Your blog has been tremendous and we have shared it with family, and friends, and friends of friends…so many people. You’ll never know how far it has spread. We have all been on deck with you. Your descriptions have all been breathtaking. A stellar adventure – completed by few- thanks for painting such great pictures and sharing with us
    XOXO
    Mom

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