Passage Update: Day 9

What a miserable night. The wind dropped out on us, but the short period swell didn't so we were rolling from rail to rail trying to keep pressure in the sails. It was, of course, an impossible task. The sail thwacked one way then the other with each roll of the boat, banging violently and failing to capture any of what little breeze was there. We were pretty cranky this morning. But as the sun came up, the wind increased and, after a groggy weather powwow, we decided to sail wing and wing - the jib out one side of the boat supported by the spinnaker pole and the mainsail all the way out the other - to take advantage of the west wind and giant swell behind us. We've been hauling ever since! I know I always say this, but conditions have been sooooo nice today.

Something else sort of remarkable happened in the middle of the night. I spotted a boat in the distance and, noting that the green light was visible (green marks a vessel's starboard side; red marks port), saw that it was going to pass on our starboard side. The next time I took a look, the boat was considerably closer without any green or red light visible. I figured it was just a huge freighter passing a long way off and the green light was shadowed by all the other yellow and orange lights that sometimes illuminate big freighters. But then it took a turn 90 degrees toward us and I realized it was a smaller boat, much, much closer than I'd originally though. And though it was moving slowly, it was now headed right for us. By this time Matt was up and he flashed the search light several times. Only then did we realize that it was a longliner - hence the not-so-linear course it'd taken - and most likely hadn't even seen us until that moment. We ended up passing in front of it, so close that we could see the guys working on deck and hear the engine rumbling. It's crazy to think that within such a large expanse of ocean, two small boats would end up in the same 400 square yards before they became fully aware of each other. And it's frightening to think that, had we not been alert, we very likely would have collided. I'd like to think that they were more surprised to see us bouncing along in the moonlight than we were to brush so close to them. But who knows.

At 19-May-16 4:14 AM (utc) our position was 30°25.21'S 162°12.97'W