Lat: 8 10.203′ S
Lon: 131 10.317′ W

475 miles to go…

The days are definitely blending together now. Some days the wind is a little stronger or the seas bigger, but it’s generally more of the same every day. It’s hard to remember whether something happened yesterday or a few days ago. The one change over the last few nights is that the moon is now full, which makes an incredible difference at sea in terms of the ambient light. It seems as though you can see for miles with just the moonlight. When we left the Galapagos there was a waning moon, but I was glad to notice that we should have a good amount of moonlight when we approach the Marquesas. We’ve been running with just the jib most of the time and making close to 6 knots. Sail and autopilot adjustments are generally twice a day at the most and today we didn’t need to adjust either.

We decided on a traditional 4th of July celebration, at least as traditional as you can come up with on a boat in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Lauren made bread and we fried hot dogs & potatoes, using the bread like buns, with ketchup, pickle relish, onion, & mustard. After eating, we were ready for “fireworks”. We pulled out some extra, expired flares and each had a go with the 12-gauge flare revolver that has a break-open breech like a shotgun. Only one of the expired flares was a dud. Lauren and Tiffany then tried a couple of expired handheld flares, which are like big, red, 3-minute sparklers.

The boat has been pretty quiet the last few days as everyone has their nose in a book. We thought we had a lot of books when we left, but if anything I wish we’d picked up some more good non-fiction. There was an incredible used book store in Jacksonville near our sailmaker, West Marine, and the Yanmar distributor. The maze of bookshelves from floor to ceiling was so big that Lauren actually got lost in it, and we’ve enjoyed the results of our visits there. Almost all the yacht clubs, marinas, or boating places where sailors stop have a book exchange where sailors leave books they’ve finished and are free to pick up the books left by others, but so far we haven’t been that impressed with the selection. I’m not sure we’re going to find very many good exchanges in the Pacific. Maybe we can trade with other boats if we start to run out of good material. Luckily that shouldn’t be anytime soon, as I still have at least a several thousand pages worth on my to-read list on-board.

If the things we’ve heard about the South Pacific islands turn out to be true, it’s sort of fitting that the distance to get here is so great. It certainly contributes to the cost and difficultly of reaching the them, which can be the only thing responsible for them still retaining the character they’re reputed to have. The time spent on the passage also does a good job of distancing you from the hustle and bustle of the US and Panama and readying you for a new experience and culture.