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Day 10

Bravo kept us on our toes today. Early morning, we turned on the engine to charge up our batteries. On startup Andy noticed it wasn’t running right. Within minutes the alarm went off, and we saw smoke coming out of the engine compartment. Andy killed the engine, grabbed one fire extinguisher, I ran towards the other extinguisher VHF in hand, opened our forward hatch to make sure we’d have more than one exit, and Matt opened and began pulling items out of the lazarette. It wasn’t smoke or an engine fire; exhaust was coming out of our engine compartment. The impeller was broken, water wasn’t flowing through the engine and parts of the exhaust mixing box melted through. Quick fix! Andy replaced the impeller and epoxied the holes in the mixing box. We are giving the epoxy enough time to dry before turning on the engine again. Matt and I agreed – MacGyver would be proud.

A super friendly brown footed hitched a ride with us today. We have a pet! She’s found a comfortable spot on our paddle boards and spent the entire day grooming herself. She looks fluffy and gorgeous. Matt named her Princess Rhonda Boobarella.

PPJ10_Pet
We have a pet!

As we approach the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ), we are being even more strategic with our heading. Crossing the ITCZ is one of our milestones for this journey (there are five that I can think of: leaving, catching the trades, crossing the ITCZ, crossing the equator and getting there!). The ITCZ is where trade winds from the north meet trades from the south. The point of convergence can be narrow or wide and what it ends up being has a huge impact on the overall passage. So many decisions made to date –  where to depart from, not going to Costa Rica, the route to take, when to leave, how much fuel to carry, even how to plan our meals –  have been based on the ITCZ…and now it’s upon us. Squalls form near the ITCZ and we’ve been through a couple already. Today we spent the day hopscotching through squalls, in 25 knot winds with huge 10-12 ft waves. It feels like we are riding a bucking bronco (cue the country music). Under these conditions it’s impressive how Princess Boobarella balances herself quite nicely on our paddle boards with her two adorable webbed feet. I wonder how long she’ll ride with us.

Since doldrums (areas of no wind) are also expected in the ITCZ, we are all evaluating the X, Y coordinates for the narrowest path. The approach to the ITCZ has now become the main topic of our exchange with our buddy boats. We are aiming to cross the ITCZ at 5 degrees North, 127 degrees West. We are still a couple of days away so for now we keep an ultra-focus on sea states, wind forecasts and precipitation models in an attempt to avoid the squalls.

Good night everyone. Until tomorrow, Bravo out.

Stats

  • Date: 3/26/18
  • Time: 0000 UTC
  • Position: 08°35.0’ N 123°42.9’ W
  • Course (Heading): 213 T
  • Speed:  7.5 knots
  • Wind direction and speed: ENE 20 knots
  • Swell direction and height: ENE 6-10 ft
  • Cloud cover: 45%
  • Barometer: 1012 hPA
  • Status:  engine failure this morning, work in progress. Crew doing well.
  • Distance traveled (nm): 1371
  • Distance to go (nm): 1523

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