April 29th was the scariest day of our journey so far. It was a day after we discovered that our water-maker was not working, half of our solar panels were not working and a few other disasters on-board occurred. I think it was about then that Jaeden made the misguided statement that “what else could go wrong”.
Well it wasn’t too much later when we hit a monsoon like we have never seen before. We just entered the doldrums around 8 degrees North. After motoring for 3 hours and only going 3 knots beating against a headwind, we came up against a fierce storm flying from our bow to our stern. With a headwind directly in front of us we attempted to have it pull us forward by sailing at an angle but we were unable to steer a course that would move us South.
The winds rose to 35 knots with 12 foot swells coming from in front of us. The wind was blowing so hard that it not only created these massive waves but also blew a mist of saltwater through the air off of the cresting waves. We tried to turn to the Port Side but there was no speed in our sails to get us to turn, we tried to turn to the Starboard side and had the same problem. I fired up the engines a few times to see if there was any way that we could at least head South to any level (between 90 and 270 degrees), but the more we tried, the winds just pushed us back.
Part of the problem was that we had to reef our sails so not enough wind was able to push us forward. That’s when Jaeden pointed up to a tear in our Jib. Just when things couldn’t get worse they did. I have to say I was not impressed and felt that I certainly have a few lessons to learn from God in regards to patience and humility. A tear in the front sail is not a good thing so we pulled it in to protect it from further damage.
As I sat there at the helm trying to move forward with 35 knot winds and being pushed back from our destination, I felt absolutely helpless. I can’t imagine any sailor that does not recognize that there is a greater power or God because I was praying like never before. Night was coming on and I did not want to be in the pitch black darkness with waves pounding down on us. I had all of the younger kids by this point get inside and decided that we would just go where the winds and waves took us.
As the waves and winds got their fiercest, Jaeden went forward to strap on a kayak and a smashing plate was heard in the kitchen. We all gathered for a family prayer of safety. There are times that you just have to leave yourself in the hands of the creator as there is nothing more you can do.
We were blessed with a calming of the seas by nightfall as the rolling waves settled down to more moderate 4 foot waves. This was a tender mercy that brought me a little bit of much needed peace among challenging circumstances.
At 01/05/2013 4:46 AM (utc) our position was 08°12.00’N 125°59.00’W