April 29 - Day 10; We're in the ITCZ

Position: N05deg30min/W146deg41min
Day 9's run: 141 nm
Avg speed: 5.9 kn
Course: 135 T
Wind: 20-22 kn
Seas: 6-8'
Ship's log: 1179 nm
Briefly, the ITCZ (Intertropical Convergence Zone) is a band of unstable weather in the Pacific north of the equator, generally stretching across latitudes 5-10 degrees, where the equatorial easterly winds converge with the northeast trade winds. Squalls and thunderstorms are common, and the idea is to safely navigate your vessel as fast as you can across the area. We're between overcast clouds, and have just been thru a brief 30 knot squall, and are expecting others. It's worse at night when it's difficult to see the stars being blocked out by the clouds; you hope you don't have to depend on the lightening to see everything; if so, you're too close to those cells! It will probably take us about two days to get thru the width of the ITCZ; it's constantly changing its lat/long so it's challenging for any 5-6 knot boat to get thru it without at least some disturbed weather. Otherwise, our overall speed picked up a bit and we're making good easterly progress. I expect we'll cross the equator somewhere around W143 degrees. We probably could go a bit more easterly, but present weather forecasts show the heavier bad convection stuff is that way, so we'd like to stick on the lighter side of it.

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