As idle as a painted ship upon a painted ocean

“Down dropt the breeze, the sails dropt down,
‘Twas sad as sad could be;
And we did speak only to break
The silence of the sea!

Day after day, day after day,
We stuck, nor breath nor motion;
As idle as a painted ship
Upon a painted ocean.”

The various species of ocean birds must be very wise I think.

Days upon days of circling the waves and contemplating the vastness of the sea. No vision of port or landfalls to distract them.

I met with their wisdom today. A couple of large albatrosses, on observing the utter abandonment of the wind, simply sat on the surfaces and surveyed the flatness of the sea. No rush, no discontentment, not worries.

One of them had chosen a spot about 100m off to starboard. He decided to pay me a visit and I watched him get gradually nearer of the course of an hour. I don’t think he saw the need to rush, I certainly wasn’t going anywhere.

He stopped about 10 metres off and eyed me meaningfully as I munched my way through a tin of breakfast spam. There’s something comical about the beaks on these birds. You wouldn’t think such graceful creatures could have such ugly and disproportionately large-sized beaks.

I gave him a menacing look and eventually I capitulated and threw him a chunk. He skilfully scooped it out of the water, considered the situation for a second, and then dropped it back out into the sea.

Clearly albatrosses dislike spam even more than I do.

I completely lost my wind early last night and drifted about ten miles overnight. This morning, I’ve never seen an ocean so flat and still. Not the wispiest of wispy wind.

It would be foolish to get all hot and bothered about this, what’s another day when you’re amongst friends, so I took a cue from the albatrosses and spent the day relaxing. There were also a few pre-landfall jobs that I got out of the way!

The anchor was retrieved from the bottom of a stern storage locker and is back at its place of pride on the bow roller.

Anchor ropes and chains are all untangled and marked ready for instant deployment.

Some of the mould that has adorned my cabin interior since the tropics was cleaned.

Extraneous water mopped out of lockers.

Etc.

By mid-afternoon I had drifted another five miles towards Long Beach, when wisps of ripples started to adorn the oily surface.

I’ve developed a habit of whenever I contemplate making major sail adjustments, I first make a cup of tea. Then, if by the end of the cup of tea, I’m still of the same mind, then I proceed as planned. You might guess that days with variable wind play havoc upon the bladder, but it stops you chasing your tail excessively.

For a few hours the breeze came and went, and I accordingly adjusted sail until I got a steady gentle tailwind a few hours ago. I set up goose-wing and pole and we’ve been sliding along at three or four knots since.

This leaves me with 120 odd miles to Long Beach and a noble day’s run on of 30 miles. I’m sure I’ll get there one day!

About 10 miles to my port is a dotted line on the chart, and it tells me that it marks the boundary of the ‘Pacific Missile Range, Military Practice area’. I wasn’t aware that such things existed. I’ve decided to stay well clear!

Latitude: 32.512, Longitude: -120.068, Time: 05:09:37 02-07-2018 UTC