Since my last update, conditions have improved... First, of course, they got worse in the afternoon with a further 20 degree header and wind to 28 kts and seas now climbing to 8 feet (and very short and confused). We were forced to take down the reacher and put up the #3.. completely washing the foredeckmen. We were making course with about 10 degrees of leeway because of the sliding sideways down the seas. Every watch was greeted with a bucket of water when they came up and one 5 minutes before bunk time.
But as night fell, winds began to moderate, back, and the seas began to settle. So, when I came up at 10 pm, the deck was dry and I put on some rinsed clothes to enjoy the warm air. The moon is now 1/4 full and brilliant, but still the stars are able to compete. Sitting on the high side and looking west, you notice that the stars making up the exclaimation point that had the cresent moon as its dot a few nights ago, seem to have moved. One also seemed to be curiously red. I went down to check and discovered that we had previously witnessed Mars, Saturn, and Luna in alignment. (Perhaps, we should have had an astrologer aboard... might have been more use than looking at the weather models and forecasts.) We also noticed that the twinkling red/white/green star that we thought must be an airplane two days ago was still there. Deneb twinkles beautifully and strange.
Really a great night on the water. The driving had become easier and the heal angle less, all with the same speed. Occastionally, one could smell the faint scent of land on the air. Of course, just as I was moving back the hatch to go down, full 5 gallons of seawater over the head.
The morning came and the wind had continued to back, so at 0830, just before dawn, we launched the spinniker about 5 miles north of Mataiva. As the sun came up, the atoll came into view and we ate fresh cornbread and bacon as our last breakfast at sea. (Jill did an amazing job all this trip.. never ate so well at sea.)
Also, thanks Dr. McG. for the shift.. too bad it didn't come two days ago when we could still make hay with it though. So, we're on our way down to the finish. We'll be sending in our 100 miles to go report in about an hour.