Finally, we are seeing another ship ... this one is called 'Tokyo Car' and is 183m long ... listed as a cargo ship, it's not much of a mystery as to what her cargo might be! The clock says it's 3:23a.m.
The last ship we were in touch with was at about the same time on Sunday June 5th. I was awakened by Larry calling a Chinese fishboat - the 'Sheng Lian' at 3:30 a.m. Larry placed the call to find out what kind of fishing gear might be in our way. Under International law - boats under sail are obligated to stay out of the way of working fishboats. Apart from fishing boats, powered boats 'give way' to sailboats as it's considered we are less maneuverable. When the 'Sheng Lian' answered, it was apparent the sailor didn't speak or understand English and we wished Mary MacKenzie (who grew up in China) was with us. He finally called back and we understood him to to say that they don't fish on Sundays! He then proceeded to keep turning his boat as if he wanted to hit us ... very odd when - with only two boats - we had the whole ocean to navigate in. So Larry had to call him again ... finally the Captain (who could speak English) was called onto the scene and they headed off to the west.
The temperature is quite benign now ... during my night watches I have been exercising and cleaning. Larry helped me store all my winter clothes in the bow locker. Those which need to be laundered are also stored until we reach Townsville - now that the official laundry bag is full, there's no sense in having them 'clutter up' the place. The Christmas music is provisionally stored there as well until we can reunite it with its companions, which are somewhere else (WHERE?)
Of course, the forward cabin is the most 'active' on a boat underway and impossible to work (or sleep in) at most times at sea. In a 'mixed' blessing, the wind nearly died away altogether so we motored for about 24 hours and that's when I cleaned and oiled the forward cabin. It is always a joy to work with the woodwork on Traversay. Each of the cherry strakes and slats were individually chosen and matched or selected for their interesting design by the woodworkers. I would say about 80% of the boat interior is of cherry wood. The cabin soles (floors) underfoot are alternate strakes of Canadian maple (light-coloured) and cherry from Eastern Canada. At first we merely damp-cleaned the wood as it is varnished wood. But when we were in Ensenada our friends Eddie and Delores gave us a number of products from their D'Tail line of chemicals and I'm now waxing and polishing ... IF there is ever a chemical wax build-up the next owners can deal with it!
Our cupboard doors are 'shutter-like' in that they have numerous cherry slats fixed in position. These allow air circulation - a very important feature on a boat. We have never had a problem with mold in those cupboards featuring these lovely doors. A few of the other storage areas have needed the addition of computer fans which Larry has ingeniously installed ... these are cheap in dollars and in electric power and they circulate the air enough to discourage dampness.
In tending to the woodwork, I start by cleaning all the 'shutter slats' first and then continue with the rest of the room. Yesterday, in my customary pre-work procrastinating and total lethargy I counted all the little slats ... there are 384 of them throughout the boat. I've now finished with the forward cabin and made a good start on the galley and chart table area, so altogether I've cleaned 186 little individual and unique pieces of cherry. Although most people might not agree, our decision to sell everything (including our Condo in Vancouver) and pay to have this beautiful boat built was the best move ever.
If only some of our sun-loving friends could enjoy the amazing weather we're having. Larry and I are far past any idea of sun-bathing - so except for sail-handling we avoid being outside until about 3:30 when there's plenty of shade in the cockpit. We're moving more slowly and Larry's been able to sleep in the forward cabin (fan whirring) as I write this. Days are very short as we are sailing into the Southern Fall/Winter. This morning sunrise was at 6:46 and tonight sunset will be at 18:03. I'm in charge of meals today (bacon, cheese & asparagus wraps for lunch; curried pork w broccoli for dinner) and I have the 'short' sleep tonight (from midnight to 0400) so I'm going to try to get dinner early so we can eat outside, watch the sunset, and I can have a short nap before my watch starts at 20:00.
We have enjoyed some spectacular sunsets. A week ago I took notes on a most amazing sunset. One of the features of being alone out here is that you have a greater-than-IMAX Sky-Surround so you can have several conflicting sky-scapes at once. To the right of the boat (N West and starboard side) there were large black clouds ... it looked like a watercolour on wet paper with the upper part completely black ... around the mid-point, the black paint started streaking and blotting its way down through the small strip of muddy grey sky towards the inky deep blue of the water. In total contrast, behind us and to our left (North and East) the sky was filled with gorgeous white puffy clouds - like those (complete with a few Cupids) favoured by Rennaisance painters. The small patches of sky visible were a true robin's egg blue. Here and there floated a few gauzy bright pink clouds. Meanwhile the sun in the west was a brilliant orange and it disappeared very quickly leaving behind a sky turning a deep - almost blood-red colour - merging with the burgundy (wine-dark) sea.
With only 2 weeks (at most) to go, I am truly relishing my time outside with the stars, the moon (now gradually waxing) and the evening and morning skies. Our watch schedule necessitates the need to be alone a great deal ... I think being solitary and in nature is amazing and wish everyone could have this experience. So where are all the other boats?
I must go and wake the Captain ... 'talk' to you next week!
At 6/14/2016 17:57 (utc) our position was 14°19.53'S 174°11.50'E