Velella's Drift

An account of Velella's voyage from Seattle to New York via Panama, 2009-2011

Velella’s Drift, statistically speaking

Statistics from Los Angeles, CA to Magdalena Bay, Baja Peninsula.

Days since departure: 17

Miles traveled: 736

Torn Sails: 2. One small rip in the genoa that Meg sewed by hand and one huge tear across the main. It happened during a nightwatch but luckily the weather wasn’t too bad. We motored into an anchorage and Meg found some cruisers who had a sewing machine, which she used to do an EXCELLENT job repairing the main.

Nights at anchor: 7

Nights at sea: 10

Longest time spent at sea: 4 days, 3 nights.

Sea turtles spotted: 2. One by myself, one by Meg. I’m not sure what kind, but they would make their land-lubbin’ cousins proud. They make their way across the ocean with meticulous speed, giving no notice as Velella cruises by.

Squid sightings: 1, on Meg’s night watch. Had I not been roused from sleep by her screams, I would have had the presence of mind to put it in a sandwich bag and stick it in the fridge. I hear they make good trolling bait.

Whales watched: 3. We saw one unidentified whale about a week ago. All that was visible was a shiny grey back that briefly surfaced about 200 feet from our boat. Probably it was a grey whale. Today we saw two Killer Whales. Meg and I were talking in the cockpit this morning, when to our surprise the whales breached not 40 feet from our boat. It looked to be a mother and a calf. The whales were on the small side, and we think that maybe there’s a different species down here, or maybe it was a pseudo-Orca. Just yesterday we were speculating about how far South Killer Whales migrate. We don’t have google, and we neglected to find a good whale book, so we’ll have to wait until next June to find out.

Fish caught: 0, excluding the tuna Andrew caught up in Washington. I already lost one hook and a crab pot to a kelp bed. I have wasabi, soy sauce and rice at the ready. Any suggestions, fishermen readers?

Flying fish almost caught: 3. We must have crossed an invisible line yesterday because suddenly these odd creatures are everywhere. I’d heard we would encounter them, but actually seeing them is bizarre. They buzz the boat going twenty miles per hour, then flutter another quarter of a mile before dipping back into the ocean. They move like giant hummingbirds… but they’re fish. I’m looking forward to one landing on the boat so I can examine it more closely, and then possibly eat it.

Cat overboards: 0, although she gets closer every day. She’s fond of lying out on the solar panels, which we scold her for whenever we catch her. Recently she’s taken to “tightroping” the bar between the solar panels. Meg and I watch white knuckled, afraid to move lest we disrupt her concentration. The boat pitches and sways, but she stays on. Yesterday she tried to dismount onto a rope and nearly went in. I explain to her that a black cat who swims on a moonless nightwatch is unrecoverable. She doesn’t listen.

Bouts of full-on, vomiting sea sickness: 0

Days until we return: 194



  ogm wrote @

thanks prescott for the update..

that seems like a lotta days to me..

take care of each other..


  Caitlin wrote @

oh, nessie! maybe you could solve two problems at once by teaching her to catch flying fish?

number of sisters who really miss you guys: 1

  Peter C. wrote @

number of parents who’re cheering you guys on: 4.

Cant wait to read the stats next June.



  Caitlin wrote @

papa… FW/FS?

fish well/fish safely?

fabulous work/fast sailing?

from winter/for summer?

feet wet/feet stinky?

….i am at a loss.

  Brook wrote @

Good work, Prescott. You remain your father’s con. Refrigerate that squid, eat the flying fish. Any ocean kill that you can make into clothing???

194 days??? I agree with Kathy; that’s a lotta days!!

  Brook wrote @

whoops. I meant your father’s son, not con.

  Caitlin wrote @

haha– i was wondering what you meant… thought maybe it was some kind of Harvey-speak 🙂

  janice wrote @

I think those flying fish might be Dorado, also called dolphin fish? Not sure, will check w/ Butch.He’s a Baja guy from way back. Catching a Dorado was gus dream. When he caught one, he had a tattoo engraved on his arm.

  Josh wrote @

I wish I could give you more help in the fishing department, but my fishing experience in the tropics consists of only two trips, one off of San Diego and another in Hawaii with Jeff.

Are you trolling? If you just leave your line out behind you I am suprised you are not getting into more fish. I know you should scan for birds. Diving birds usually indicate bait fish, which are usually followed by larger fish, just steer your boat through the middle of where the birds are diving and you will usually catch fish. Also, large schools of Dolphin are usually followed by large schools of Tuna, both of which are feeding on smaller fish.

I wish I could be down there with you both. Fishing talk has me yearning for adventure.

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