Just wrote a new 'retro' update posting my writing during the Indian Ocean. If anyone wants an honest detailed description of what an ocean passage in moderate to rough seas is like on a small boat, I think this captures it, haven't even put it on the SailingSalsa.com website yet, so I'll post the long blog entry here;
LONG INDIAN OCEAN PASSAGE REPORT COCOS KEELING TO MADAGSCAR.
Aug 13 2011, 930am departing Cocos keeling. The weather was borderline "sailable" at the time I left, being very light winds and somewhat variable, most boats deemed it to be 'unsailable' and it probably was in their bigger yachts which require a bit more of a breeze than little Salsa. Then again as I write this, 48 hours into the trip the wind and seas are so big I would consider it 'barely sailable' in Salsa and the other boats would be flying along having a ball, albeit I suspect with at least a bit of discomfort. Right now the seas are around 10 to 15 feet high, and the winds 25 to 35kts. Its just pure poop out here. It?s been so cloudy and rainy I haven't seen the moon or sun since the day I departed until now. When I left there was a slight breeze from the north and as I was sailing west, it was perfect, just barely enough wind to fill the sails and keep them from slapping around in the big but gentle southerly swell that just never goes away, even when there is no wind. This Northerly breeze (a bit unusual as we should have SE trade winds around 20kts or so I thought) kept going until around 9PM when it just got too light, I was only sailing at 3kts and the sails started to bang around too much to make any headway. So I prepared to just drift a while, well actually we kept sailing more or less west but only at about 1 to 2 kts since I put 3 reefs in the main and nearly took down the Jib to protect the sails from all the banging around with no wind, however there was just enough wind to keep moving under reefed sail, and I went to sleep for a while. After midnight I awoke to the GPS alarm telling me that I was off course and turns out the winds had finally gone back to the SE, but still at a miserly 10kts. Even with the main deeply reefed I let out most of the genoa and we were making 4kts again, not bad, and then it started building, the wind and seas. By morning conditions were very uncomfortable, winds over 25kts, seas over 10 ft, cloudy, rainy, I completely furled the jib by then and was sailing with only the triple reefed mainsail, (and have been just like that for 24 hours as things just seem to get worse, but not dangerous). Currently I'm making near 6kts (that means up to 10kts when I start surfing down these waves) and I'm thinking I might have to completely douse the third reef in the mainsail and go back to just a tiny bit of the jib. I tried going out this morning for a shower in the rain but before I could dry off a huge wave smacked me and it seemed the salt water spray was hitting me more than the fresh rain water, lovely. So yes, this is one of those moments when you think, why the heck am I out here. I just spoke to my friends still in Cocos on the radio who are fishing, diving, having BBQ fish on the beach, and I'm here in the poop. Funny how they have Sunshine and light winds just 150 miles away. Last night I took a wave into the cockpit so big that it was almost full of water, I was surprised how long it took to drain, several minutes, hmmm.... On top of that, my radar is acting up AS USUAL, worked fine the first day, but today I have had to reset it 4 times to get it to work, and I really need it as I am actually around shipping lanes and with this weather I couldn?t see any ships outside even if I was looking. THEN about half way through writing this I hear my fishing line go, and I see a nice Wahoo (my favorite fish) jump clear out of the water, and before I could even begin to pull him in, he got loose. So that?s how my day is going. It's funny because back in Bali someone asked me about sailing and said, wow you must have some amazing times, and some awful times out there on the sea. And that is the exact truth. If every day was like my last 24 hours I would never be doing this. The really hard question is does all the nice days make up for the crappy ones!? Sometimes it's hard to say. But I think somehow our little brains tend to remember the better parts and therefore convince ourselves to keep doing this kind of thing.
On my second day underway from Cocos the winds maxed out gusting up to around 40kts and seas were up to around 15 feet, been taking a lot of water into the cockpit and even a bit into the cabin...........
OOPS, my entry exceeded the allowed length (20000 Characters) you'll have to read the rest on www.SailingSalsa.com
, should be up by the time you read this, or certainly within 24hrs..