40 25’ N, 0 56’ E
A Perfect Day at Sea
During my 0500 to 0800 watch, I sat at the helm of Pacific Bliss, the
stars twinkling over the charcoal waters below, the engine pushing us
on steadily, dependably, rounding Punta de la Bana, and the on through
Golfo de Valencia. I became fixated on the 3-plus-1 rotating
lights emanating from 280-foot-high Benecason lighthouse atop Islas
Columbretes, directly ahead, but thirteen miles away, on our compass
course of 200 degrees. The moonset tonight was the most dramatic I’ve
ever seen, the moon golden in the early morning sky, then turning into
a Halloween-orange ball as it dipped over the night lights of the Spanish
coastline. This drama was followed by a slender sliver of sunrise,
from the northwest horizon, orange as well, turning to gold as the eastern
sky lightened. Now the rocky island came into clear view, three
ships tucked in for the night in her lee. I changed the autopilot to
+10, then +10 again to deviate off course to the seaward side, leaving
the islands between us and the shore.
at sea off the coast of Spain.
A 16-knot wind came up from behind-enough to sail on a reach.
While the rest of the crew were still sleeping, Gottfried and I hoisted
the main and then the genoa. But our huge main was blocking the wind
for the genoa. We proceeded to take it down and to hoist the spinnaker.
Fortunately, Jana was up, beginning to prepare breakfast. “Can
we do it without the guys (Chris and Gunter),” I asked Gottfried.
“Of course. We can do it ourselves,” Gottfried answered.
We managed it, but Jana and I were flying-and very proud of ourselves
afterwards, I might add. Our rainbow-hued spinnaker snapped as
Pacific Bliss surged forward. Pacific Bliss became a thoroughbred
horse given a little rein, straining to race even faster. We were
sailing at 7.7 knots SOG with a wind speed of only 17 knots.
The sun rose gloriously, a half-ball on the eastern horizon that exploded
to a full golden globe, a halo for Pacific Bliss and its colorful spinnaker.
The spinnaker greeted the sun by surging to 13 knots, with gusts to
16, as the wind increased.
Pulls PB 13-16 knots.
he islands with their string of dangerous rocks, spread
over an area of five square miles, were behind us. We could now
make out the faint glimmer of Mallorca far to the east. The towns along
the Spanish coast to our west began to wake up and begin their day.
“This is cruising,” I thought. “And this is truly a morning of bliss.”
Charming Village Perched on the
But the day was just beginning.
After breakfast, I took a wonderfully peaceful nap. Absent was
the constant hum of the engine that had been interrupting my sleep.
Pacific Bliss rocked me to sleep gently, with only an occasional surge
as the wind filled the spinnaker and tugged her forward.
We gathered around the salon table for lunch, spreading out jamon
(Spanish ham), baguettes, and pate from France. It was the
first time on Voyage 1 that Gunter repeated one of his favorite sayings,
“This is as good as it gets.”
Gone were the memories of the short, vicious sea that had made life
uncomfortable. We now had a taste of better times to come.
We spent much of the afternoon reading (without the constant rolls,
jerks and yaws that had been our fate).
Enjoys Sunning on the Net.
At dusk, we could see the signs of a perfect sunset coming up. And
perfect it was, with the sun sinking into the horizon as perfectly as
it had risen.
Chris, During Sunset off the
coast of Calbe, Spain
A Perfect Day ends with a Perfect