Global Voyage

A Story About Sailing Around the World

Ray & Jenny aboard the ketch Suka

3 years, 35,000 miles, Nov 1982 - Jan 1986

Ray & Jenny Jardine

Chapter 1: Voyage to Fatu Hiva page 23 of 109

Crossing the Doldrums

At latitude 10 degrees north, the dying breeze signaled our having reached the infamous doldrums. With sails hanging oddly limp, Suka motored across a surrealistically calm, almost mirrored sea. Now, not only did the sunshine blaze from above, but with nearly equal intensity it also glared reflectively upward from the face of the burnished-metal sea. The helmsman suffered the brunt of a pair of tropical suns.

After standing at the helm for eight hours, we collected a breeze, and as this matured Suka eagerly embraced it with full working sail and self-steering vane, wafting us on toward our unseen goal.

photo

Motoring through the Doldrums.

The next few days were characterized by light to medium winds on the port beam or quarter. Squalls, sudden cloud-spat outbursts of remarkably heavy wind and rain, beset us often. And invariably, at least one sudden tempest, unheralded in the darkness of night, would send us scurrying. At the sudden onset we would leap into action, shortening sail and battening down the hatches against the downpour; and for a few minutes Suka would slash across the ocean as though on a rampage. Each time the exigency would seem desperate, but within a few minutes tranquility would return, leaving us shaking out the reef, re-hoisting the jib, and swinging open the ventilating hatches.

My navigation shots were sometimes frustrated by innocuous little cumulus clouds that seemed to willfully race across an otherwise open sky with the intent of obscuring my intended stars at the most inopportune of moments. Of course, this was a purely subjective observation. For after all, we plied an ocean so large that any lack of success with the sextant was not crucial. Our straying somewhat off track mattered very little. For the record, though, we navigated, or attempted to, using the stars Vega, Altair, and Archenar, and occasionally Mars and the Moon.

Jenny spent considerable time standing braced in the galley, refining her seafaring culinary skills. And considering the circumstances she succeeded admirably. Even after nearly three weeks at sea, we carried plenty of vegetables; and although these were by no means firm, they were nevertheless nutritionally acceptable. Our favorite dinner, prepared in a pressure cooker, was a hearty mulligan stew of potatoes, cabbage, carrots, onions, and tinned corned beef. For breakfasts the mate normally prepared fresh squeezed orange juice, hash browns, and fried eggs.

Preparing hash browns is practically a lost art in this era of modern conveniences, yet it is so simple that I would like to describe the method here. After grating a few potatoes, Jenny would remove much of the fluid by forcefully hand-compacting the mass, as though packing together a dense snowball. Those who haven't tried this might be surprised at how much fluid can be extracted in this manner. Then into the pan went the grated potatoes. When they were well browned she folded in a couple of eggs (chicken, not booby).

“It was here that the cruise began taking on dream-like qualities.”

In the afternoons she would take from her gimballed propane oven some savory delight such as a deep-dish apple pie or a pan of cinnamon rolls.

We had departed California with some 200 gallons of fresh water, and had been using our precious supply sparingly. As mentioned, we washed and first-rinsed our clothes in sea water. We showered by the briny buckets-full, then rinsed sparingly with fresh water. We washed dishes in salt water, then wiped them dry. And we brushed our teeth with saline. (Ironically, this conservation proved largely unnecessary, for subsequently we were to arrive in the Marquesas with some two thirds of our original supply.)

. . .

It was here that the cruise began taking on dream-like qualities. The hours, even entire days seemed to fly past on celestial wings. The days had grown warm - broiling but for the cooling tradewinds that played with remarkable continuity. The intense solar radiation bronzed our hides perhaps too much; so we fashioned a shading portico by suspending a small makeshift awning over the cockpit. This, we found, also served double duty as a splash-guard by night.

photo

Sailing under a small makeshift awning hung over the cockpit.

The story has 109 pages. This is page 23.
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Page Links
GV 001: Title Page
GV 002: TOC
GV 003: Dedication
GV 004: Preface
GV 005: Prologue
GV 006: Beginnings
GV 007: Work Done
GV 008: Making Ready
GV 009: Departure
GV 010: Sailing Credentials
GV 011: First Lesson
GV 012: Sextant Navigation
GV 013: Safety Harness
GV 014: Murphy's law
GV 015: Spirit of Adventure
GV 016: Holding On
GV 017: First Big Storm
GV 018: Storm Intensified
GV 019: Rolling Violently
GV 020: Mizzen Sleeping Bag'sl
GV 021: Freeing the Propeller
GV 022: Visits by Birds
> GV 023: Crossing the Doldrums
GV 024: Nearing First Landfall
GV 025: Land Ho
GV 026: Fatu Hiva
GV 027: Trek Inland
GV 028: Anchor Watch
GV 029: Passage
GV 030: Hiva Oa
GV 031: Skin Diving Circus
GV 032: Almost Like a Jungle
GV 033: Polaris Missile
GV 034: Taiohaie Bay
GV 035: Cascade Hakaui
GV 036: Taipi Bay
GV 037: Cyclone Lisa
GV 038: Cyclone Nano
GV 039: Passage of Patience
GV 040: Tuamotu Archipelago
GV 041: Tahiti
GV 042: Cyclone Reva
GV 043: Secret Sharer
GV 044: Moorea
GV 045: Cyclone Veena
GV 046: Aftermath
GV 047: Good Weather in Papeete
GV 048: Huahine
GV 049: Raiatea
GV 050: BoraBora
GV 051: Rarotonga
GV 052: Tonga
GV 053: Fresh Air
GV 054: Tongan Feast
GV 055: Excursion to Maninita
GV 056: Mariner's Cave
GV 057: Fiji
GV 058: Ndravuni Island
GV 059: Mara Island
GV 060: Aneityum
GV 061: Noumea
GV 062: St Elmo's fire
GV 063: Breakwater Reef
GV 064: Bundaberg
GV 065: Life on the Burnett River
GV 066: Engine Sabotage
GV 067: Flying
GV 068: Aground in Round Hill Creek
GV 069: Gladstone Confinement
GV 070: Tropical Queensland
GV 071: Trip into Townsville
GV 072: Cairns Sojourn
GV 073: Cramped Cooktown
GV 074: Lizard Island
GV 075: The San Michelle
GV 076: Lost Mummy Cave
GV 077: Land's End
GV 078: Darwin
GV 079: Christmas Is
GV 080: Passage
GV 081: Cocos Keeling
GV 082: Crossing the Indian Ocean
GV 083: Rodriguez
GV 084: Mauritius
GV 085: Reunion Cirque de Mafate
GV 086: Reunion Cirque de Salazie
GV 087: Passage to Africa
GV 088: Kruger National Park
GV 089: Richards Bay
GV 090: Durban
GV 091: Port Elizabeth
GV 092: Cape Town
GV 093: Storm Passage
GV 094: St Helena
GV 095: Passage to Brazil
GV 096: Fortaleza
GV 097: Passage to Caribbean
GV 098: Bonaire
GV 099: Passage to Panama
GV 100: Panama
GV 101: Panama Canal
GV 102: Medidor
GV 103: Costa Rica
GV 104: Passage to Acapulco
GV 105: Acapulco to Cabo
GV 106: Baja
GV 107: Home Port
GV 108: In Retrospect
GV 109: Next Time
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