Day 14, Ascension Island to Grenada

1300Z 05JUN22, Day 14, Ascension Island to Grenada. Two weeks at sea and we caught another fish! Weather is hot and sunny. The NE trades have arrived.

Current Position: 05 59N / 036 28W
24 hour progress: 120nm, 5.0kts avg SOG, around 1 hour of engine time. Overall progress for the passage is 1679nm, approximately 1540nm to Grenada.

Yesterday we started sailing again with good winds and making 5-6kts. Slowly our boat speed went away and we were creeping along around 3-4kts. Then the boat speed dropped below 3kts. Megan and Daxton took a look around and didn't see any reason to believe that the wind would change, so on went the engine. An hour of motoring seemed to be enough to get us back into the wind and to find some rain clouds. Off went the engine and we were back to sailing a close reach with full sails.

As we approached the rain clouds, we added a reef to the main. Then once clear of the cell and with winds a bit lower again, we shook it back out. Then a bit later, we put it back in for dinner preparations and overnight sailing. We were gliding along over fairly calm seas. The wind has moved a bit more easterly allowing us to move to a beam reach and now to a broad reach.

The night was star filled and beautiful. The temperatures are much nicer at night and it feels great to just sit outside and stargaze. Our speeds were up and down with the wind.

This morning saw us shaking out the reef in the main to try to boost speeds. The fishing line went back in as well. 0730-0800 seems to be our lucky time slot! We didn't have the line in yesterday morning, though we did keep it in later in the evening to no avail. It was largely an exercise in futile frustration as the line was continually fouling with sargassum weed. However, Jon's morning watch where he has the line in early seems to be a solid strategy even if it means an hour or so of intense focus on keeping the line clean. Todays fish was hooked right after the line went back in following a retrieval for cleaning. This was a slightly smaller dorado than the last, so we expect it is a 1 or 1.5 meal fish (for 4 hungry sailors) so we'll have fish for dinner!

We are back to sailing a bit slow so we will set the asymmetric after log entry. It's a bit frustrating as we are all ready to pick up some speed again. Hopefully speeds will get more consistent as the trades fill in a bit more.

Nike continued to behave. The Iridium Go!continued to be annoyed at the heat (it's in good company) and stopped charging. It's working, but needs some monitoring and more shade. If we stop broadcasting our position for a few hours that is probably why.

The NE trades seem to have brought in some desert dust. Zephyros is covered in a layer of orange Saharan dust on all her windward or flat surfaces. We are now hoping for a rain wash down—but one strong enough to clean us, not just to make us a muddy mess!

The sargassum weed is a bit less today. Yesterday it passed by in large patches, often with plastic garbage - coat hanger, water bottles, flip flops, buckets, bottle caps, etc - trapped in the midst of these large swaths.

We are all hot, but in good spirits. We worked on taking some extra naps yesterday to combat some serious fatigue that had been setting in. We all feel better today.

We will hit the halfway mark shortly! (Great circle route halfway point is 1535nm.) There will be a little halfway party. We hope we can make the second half of this passage a bit faster than the first. It should be possible, but time will tell. We will take whatever we get and we will get there when we get there.

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