Lat: 3 35.9′ N
Long: 84 18.7′ W

Well, the good news is that we are sailing. We have a steady blow of 15-20 knots. The bad news is that the wind is on the nose (from the southwest–precisely the direction we are trying to go), so we have had no choice but to sail in the wrong direction by as much as 30 degrees. For the first two days, we sailed on a west-northwest course, and after making westerly progress but obviously not getting any farther south, we had to tack back to the south this morning. This wouldn’t be so bad except that with the strong counter-current, we are now heading back toward Quito, Ecuador! Talk about two steps forward, three steps back…we can definitely understand why this is not a preferred passage among cruisers of the Pacific.

You might ask (as I did), why not just flip on your engines and motor on your desired course? Well, not only do our captains prefer to sail whenever there is sufficient wind, but also Dallas has been keeping a close eye on the engine hour-meters in preparation for their 150-mile oil changes. They are both at around 130 hours as of now, so we could potentially motor for a day or two, but we are going to save up the hours for the next few days when the wind is expected to die down.

There are a couple of other minor issues that we have had to address in the last two days. First, the seas built up to 6′ or so–not a big deal in itself, but since we are beating into the wind and swell, we are experiencing a lot of pounding and taking a lot of waves across the bow. Second, we’ve had leaks spring up in both of the forward berths–yes, where we sleep. The combo of the waves and the leaks is not a good one! It could be worse, though…at least there is still enough dry space for one person in each berth!

The leak in Wes and Tiff’s berth seems to be a problem with the frame around oneof the hatches rather than the hatch itself, which I’m pleased about since I replaced that hatch 6 months ago. The rather large leak in our berth is coming from a crack in the Lexan window. Those are a bear to replace, as Dallas and my dad can attest, so we’re not looking forward to that repair. For now, we decided to just double-reef the mainsail (reduce its size) to slow us down and give us a chance to dry out and get some sleep.

It’s hard to stay in good spirits when salty and sleep-deprived, but we’re holding up pretty well. At least seasickness has not been a problem. Tiffany and I try to boost morale by keeping bellies full. Last night we had soy meatloaf (much better than it sounds) with instant mashed potatoes (the Idahoan brand are really good!) and canned peaches.

The multimedia on board continues to be crucial in terms of keeping us occupied. (After running the engines for three days, we still have plenty of electricity.) I’ve been sticking to regular old books for the most part. I just finished reading “The Intricate Art of Sailing Afloat” by Clare Allcard, who has spent more than 20 years living aboard with her husband and daughter. I should have picked it up prior to provisioning in Panama, as she had some really good tips for predicting how much food you will need on board. The most interesting part for me given my profession was her discussion of child-rearing. Be it dealing with dirty diapers or deciding how to address children’s social and educational needs, there are many complicating factors related to family life on board. However, Clare is a big proponent and seems convinced that it is worthwhile to spend so much time with one’s child and husband in such a small space! (I know many who would beg to differ…)

That’s all for now. Time to get this posted, check the weather data, and last but not least, get some rest.