On Saturday, May 23, at 3:30 pm they were at 21 degrees 42 minutes North and 151 degrees 20 minutes West, with 241 miles to Hilo left.
The trade winds were blowing 20 to 22 knots all night and all morning and they made 96 miles in 12 hours, going an average of 8 knots the whole time.
They said that with a lot of satisfaction, but admitted that it was also EXHAUSTING... Just to keep yourself INSIDE the boat, without falling or bumping into things in such a violent motion, when the boat is constantly heeling (leaning over) and bouncing from wave to wave, is very hard and exhausting.
For their own amusement, they looked for metaphorical analogies to describe the situation, and here is what they came up with:
It's like riding in a stage coach across the prairie in the darkest of nights, without a driver...
Or like living in a tumble drier...
Or like riding in an RV attached to a mechanical bull...
And in addition, they cannot let off their guard now and just go to sleep any time they're tired, because last night, when Bill was on watch, a big ship passed by, going east. It was quite eerie, he said, after ten days of not seeing any vessel whatsoever, to suddenly have a big ship pass by about five miles away ( Max and Lucas, and Shira's kids in Israel, don't worry! the ship was full of lights, and Red Dress has lights too, so they would not run into each other, even though the nights are very dark now, without the moon.)
But Red Dress, going very fast, is taking good care of itself, sailing right on course, with the wind vane pointing straight to Hilo. They expect to arrive there by Monday, even if the winds become lighter as they come closer, because they have enough fuel to motor for 100 miles. They've already talked to the harbor master at Radio Bay (that's where Bill arrived with Chubby, in 2002), and found out there's plenty of space for them to anchor. Tom Johnson is arriving in Hilo on Monday too, and after a little rest, they'll start preparing for the voyage back, cleaning and refilling the boat with food, water and fuel.
Pam is taking a plane back to California on Friday, but Bill and Tom are leaving on Saturday, since no sailor in his right mind leaves a harbor on a Friday, it's a universally-accepted superstition which no one violates.
I asked Pam whether she was happy or sad about getting close to the end of the adventure, and she said she was both... It was very arduous but also wonderful.
They saw a very strange bird today. It looked like a tern, but had a long, white, thin tail, longer than its body, which seemed like a piece of yarn trailing behind it. A very elegant bird, which followed them for a while, and seemed to be checking them out with much curiosity.
They spent some time entertaining themselves with the questions they got from us for times of boredom (some of which were taken from David Grossman's new novel): What are some early events that changed your life (learning to ride a bike; going to the Sierras for the first time; going to summer camp away from home for the first time, etc..); what do you miss from your early life; what do you regret in your life; what will you do first thing when you get home, etc..
Finally, I asked if Pam wanted to add something and she said, "I can't understand how he did this in Chubby! She's so small, like a leaf on the waves...and for such a long time" (it took him 24 days in Chubby). Bill laughed and said he too can't understand how he did it in such a small boat as Chubby.
If anyone wants to ask them any questions, I'm sure they'll be happy to answer. You have two more days for this leg of the voyage!