Thursday, May 21, 2009

getting closer

Well, we have about 470 miles till the Marquesas. At our current slowed rate of about 100 miles per day we will get there some time Monday or Tuesday. It's nice to have the end in sight.

Strangely, our primary GPS is acting strangely. Three times it has suddenly registered our speed at 13 and then 10 and 50 knots while our latitude and longitude jump around like ping pong balls. We're not sure why it does this but we are confident that our other 4 GPS's will be plenty to get us where we need to go if the primary goes out for good. In the mean time, it's entertaining to think of Nomad going 54 miles an hour. Our guess is that it's having difficulties acquiring fixes from the satellites that support the Global Positioning System which is run by the U.S. military.

All else failing, the stars seem to be maintaining their correct positions in the sky and for centuries served as adequate navigational aids. That is the beauty of night watches. I feel like I've gotten to know the stars and look for them in their places in the same way that I look for the old tree house and the large oak tree at my Mom's house when I go home. They are stable, familiar and reassuring. We can still see the Big Dipper even though it is lower in the sky than in Santa Cruz. The North Star long ago disappeared below the horizon. Each degree south we travel, the Southern Cross and its two bright sidekicks rotate higher and higher in the sky. The Dipper stays to our starboard and the Cross to our port side - Comforting Giants twinkling all night long. Then, in the dark morning hours if I look behind us, I see one of the brightest stars in the sky. When it appears, I know it won't be long before the sun follows.

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