South…..ish

On a totally random note today (Oct 17th) is the day that Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown, solidifying America’s independence from Britain. It is also the day that I finally have emptied my fuel bladder, now I can roll it up and stow it away. I’ve had a love hate relationship with the fuel bladder. On one hand, it was the only way I could have brought enough fuel to guarantee my completion of the Northwest passage (really there was no guarantee I would make it, but at least I had enough fuel). On the other hand, it was leaky and messy and I’ve been smelling Diesel for 126 days. I was always able to stay one step ahead of the leaks (for the most part) and in reality the fuel bladder was a god-send. It was donated by John (the manager of Ferry Point Marina) and his dad. When they gave it to me it was fine. The problem was I had to cram it into a place it wasn’t meant to fit in, then I filled it with 600 pounds of diesel. It held up well for the first 4,000 miles, but then wear and tear caught up to it.

Ferry Point Marina also sponsored me with a free haul out for St Brendan. Ferry Point Marina has been letting C.R.A.B keep some of there boats there for free for many years. Any Marina thats willing to lose a few bucks to help a non-profit is good in my books. Plus they do good work at a good price. I’ve always preferred the “mom and pop” type boatyard over a larger corporate style boatyard like Jabins. At Ferry Point Marina I can go into the office, make a cup of coffee, joke around with the manager and staff. At a Large Boatyard you’re just a customer, but at a place like Ferry Point you are also a person.

The winds have been mostly light and southerly, I.E. annoying. When I do get wind its usually east southeast. So as you can see I’ve been heading west quite a bit, but its either I go southwest or north northeast. I don’t want to go north so SW is my only real option. Its because of 6 days of nearly no wind that gave me the opportunity to burn enough fuel to empty my fuel bladder. I still have 45 gallons of diesel left which I will need when I enter the Intercontinental convergence zone, AKA the doldrums, around the equator. In some ways the light winds have been a nice break from the difficult weather I experienced up north. On the other hand 5 knot headwinds get old pretty quick. I’ve been wondering if I’ve been sailing threw the horse latitudes. If I were to draw a straight line across this latitude into the Atlantic then I would be in one, but I don’t know enough about the Pacific ocean (and I don’t have Internet access) so all I can do is guess. It seems like the horse latitudes; if I had a horse I would of thrown it overboard by now to gain some speed.

I’ve been fishing with two lures non-stop but no fish. I’m using the right kind of lures for tuna but I haven’t had the best luck with fishing in general. I bet I’ve pulled two lures for over 25,000 miles in all different parts of the planet and I’ve only caught around 25 fish. Only twice have I had good luck. Once sailing the north Atlantic coast of Morocco back in 09 where I was pulling up tuna after tuna and again during my second single-handed transatlantic between Gambia and Antigua, when I was catching good Mahi Mahis regularly. I’ll keep fishing, you never know I might catch one today(maybe).

Well I’m doing good. I feel healthy and I’m doing my best to get south. The clock is ticking, I need to get to the Horn on time. I try not to worry myself crazy, All I can do is give it my best.
Fortitudine Vincimus
Matt

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7 Responses to South…..ish

  1. Michael Gresalfi says:

    Hi Matt

    We all appreciate your interest and ability to post more frequently. It is apparent that you are feeling good, and deservedly so! I look forward to following you throughout your entire journey…and continuing to make pledges along the way.

    I am so looking forward to your homecoming, and we definitely will all put on a big party for you in Annapolis!

    Cheers

    Michael Gresalfi
    Boyds, MD

  2. Carol Mosier says:

    Tuesday, October 18th 1:17 AM

    Hi, Matt,

    Good to get an update, but sorry you’re concerned about making any real headway.

    From your current location: 31.10.160N and 131.31.884W, it would seem that you are in the horse latitudes that you were wondering about. Here are a couple of excerpts from the internet . . . I’m glad you don’t have any horses to jettison.

    Are your familiar with Jim Morrison’s poem . . . sung by The Doors?

    I don’t remember you mentioning the “island” of trash that has been spotted near where you’ve been. Some of it has been ground down (by the action of the currents) to almost look like “multicolored sand” . . . but a lot of it is still all too easy to identify! (Lots of Pepsi and Coke bottles) Have you seen any sign of it?

    * * * * * * * *
    As a science teacher and musician…. | Reviewer: Cosmic Traveler | 2/14/08

    The Horse Latitudes are between 30 & 35 degrees N & S of the equator. This is a region where cool dry air falls onto all these areas. The air is very dry, all the water having condensed out of it as it rose over the tropics (doldrums, or Intertropical Convergence Zone ITCZ). Deserts occur when the Horse Latitudes are over land. However, sailing ships would become stuck in the calm seas and because of dry conditions, would run short on water and the animals would have to be “jettisoned” to prevent having a boatload of rotting horseflesh. Therefore: Horse Latitudes. Jim was a poet, he wrote this in high school when he learned of the tales of the sailors and the horse latitudes. This poem is acutally more literal than most of us realize.

    * * * * * * * * * *
    The Westerlies, anti-trades,[1] or Prevailing Westerlies, are the prevailing winds in the middle latitudes between 30 and 60 degrees latitude, blowing from the high pressure area in the horse latitudes towards the poles. These prevailing winds blow from the west to the east,[2] and steer extratropical cyclones in this general manner. Tropical cyclones which cross the subtropical ridge axis into the Westerlies recurve due to the increased westerly flow. The winds are predominantly from the southwest in the Northern Hemisphere and from the northwest in the Southern Hemisphere.
    The Westerlies are strongest in the winter hemisphere and times when the pressure is lower over the poles, while they are weakest in the summer hemisphere and when pressures are higher over the poles. The Westerlies are particularly strong, especially in the southern hemisphere, where there is less land in the middle latitudes to cause the flow pattern to amplify, or become more north-south oriented, which slows the Westerlies down. The strongest westerly winds in the middle latitudes can come in the Roaring Forties, between 40 and 50 degrees latitude. The Westerlies play an important role in carrying the warm, equatorial waters and winds to the western coasts of continents, especially in the southern hemisphere because of its vast oceanic expanse

    * * * * * * * *
    This excerpt was published in “Dark Mountain” in June, 2011, from a work of fiction by Nick Hunt

    The Horse Latitudes
    The horse latitudes, as they are known, are situated between thirty and thirty-five degrees on both sides of the equator. Wind and rain are uncommon there. The ocean is calm, subdued. The captain has always enjoyed the name as much as the legend from which it sprung: that Spanish ships, becalmed for weeks on the glassy millpond sea, would be forced to throw their horses overboard when water supplies ran low.

    . . . . . The North Pacific Gyre, through which the northern horse latitude runs, is located in the Pacific Ocean between the equator and fifty degrees north. A gyre is a vortex caused by a system of rotating ocean currents; in the case of the North Pacific, the currents that turn this vast wheel of water are the North Pacific Current, the California Current, the North Equatorial Current and the Kuroshio Current, which between them spin the ocean in a clockwise direction, channelling debris to a central point from which it cannot escape.

    The existence of the rubbish patch through which the captain is drifting now – wrapped up in his sleeping-bag, one arm dangling over the bunk, dreaming of nothing that he will recall – was theorised before it was observed. Researchers studying oceanic currents predicted such an effect. It wasn’t until the closing years of the garbage-strewn twentieth century that a sailing ship, cutting through the subtropic high between Hawaii and California, entered an uncharted ocean of plastic that took a full week to traverse.

    The area’s true size is unknown. Estimates range from three hundred thousand to almost six million square miles.

    It seems unbelievable, in an age of aeroplanes and satellite images, that such a vast region of pollution could have remained unseen for so long. But these, after all, are seas seldom travelled. They lie thousands of miles from the nearest landmass, their emptiness unbroken by islands. They lie on no trade routes, shipping lanes or notable fishing grounds. This is an ocean en route to nowhere. A convenient vanishing zone for lost, unwanted things.

    Also, all is not visible, not to the naked eye. There’s more to the patch than rafts of Pepsi bottles and atolls of Styrofoam. Mostly it consists of particles that have been ground by the action of the waves to a minute, multicoloured sand, partially suspended below the surface, in the upper neustonic and epipelagic layers of the water column. Plastic cannot biodegrade. Its tightly-bound polymers cannot unravel. It can only reduce and reduce, growing tinier with each passing year, from the miniscule to the molecular level, changing the very composition of the sea.

    * * * * * * * * * *
    You may already have read all that I’ve included here, but I have no way of knowing that for sure, so I will send it anyhow!!

    Take care, Matt! Enjoy the warm weather, and . . . Godspeed!!

    Carol Florida U.S.A.

  3. Wayne Culver says:

    Hi Matt:
    Well no matter what the wind decides to do now..
    you’ve managed an amazing accomplishment!

    Enjoy the warmth!
    I hope you don’t have diesel smell sticking to your fishing equipment,
    it can be stubborn to get rid of? But I am sure you’d of considered that.

    Horse latitudes?
    You could try carving a horse out of wood and tossing it to Poseidon for luck. ((-;
    Wishing you continued success !!

    Cheers !

  4. Wes Waldrope says:

    Dear Matt, I just happened across your site and, as a fellow Vegan (hull 1069), I just had to say hi. Good Luck!! I’ll be keeping up with your journey.
    Cheers,
    wes

  5. Len Romano says:

    Hey Matt, missed standing out on my porch last night and waving “Hello Matt!” in your general direction. You had passed us by sometime not too long ago: St Petersburg, FL, 27.79 N, -082.68 W. We hope you are feeling better, that you have been sleeping much better and that the boat is well . God Speed… Len Romano and Ruth Wilmer-Gallagher

  6. bob dawson says:

    saw an artical about your trip in a sailing mag in whl foods.cant emagine spending that much time on a boat alone.its amazing,look forward to traveling with you tru your blog.good sailing and god speed.bob west river

  7. Elinor Backe Miller & Scott says:

    Elinor (Don’s sister) and I cruised around Cape Horn 12/12/2011 on a much larger
    craft…a Seabourn 400 passenger, 300 crew ship. 70 mph gale, but no rain and a
    golden sunset. We wondered if you took an inland path through the Chilean fjords,
    but surmised not. Next time….aboard Seabourn vessel. Congratulations on rounding
    The Horn and best wishes for favorable breezes all the way home. SCOTT MILLER

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