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16-18th March Big swell knocking us around!!

Tues-Thurs 16th-18th March Big swell but wind OK

Tuesday was quite a pleasant day with W winds of 15-20knots and no big swell. I was looking out for the expected backing to more southerly winds (which came that afternoon) when I noticed around midday that the sea temperature had shot up from the 19C of the day before to 26C!! We were also getting a definite push from current - we seemed to have found the Indian Ocean circulation & were seeing over 8 knots from time to time.

By midday Wednesday, the morning's SW winds of 10-12 knots had become 18-20 & our speed over the ground was consistently showing well over 9 knots ... the current was giving us a real boost!!

That morning, as I checked around on deck, I found the 3rd reef shackle lying on deck without its pin which had obviously come loose and jumped into the sea.... Fortunate that we'd not had strong enough winds overnight for me to need to take the 3rd reef in. I found a similar shackle in my spares and so was able to re-attach the reef line to the sail, after lowering the sail sufficiently. I used a plastic cable tie (didn't I say how useful they are??!) to hold the pin in place so, hopefully, it shouldn't come loose again.

We've had steady company over several days now from various petrels (White-chinned among them, it being too far from Tristan da Cunha for the Spectacled Petrels) & a Yellow-nosed albatross - who came very close to inspect me several times when I was in the cockpit wearing a bright red top - as though I caught its attention wearing the bright colour.

A big swell had built up over the day & with stronger winds forecast, already at 24 knots apparent and gusting higher, I took the 3rd reef in before dark. Finally managed to get it in, going downwind, without tangling the reefing line or battens in the lazyjack lines but I couldn't tie it in as I wanted - I decided to work that problem out another time - I'd been perched high up in the lurching cockpit hanging on to the boom for quite long enough in the big seas then running and darkness was falling.. On Tuesday evening, I'd cooked some Bolognese sauce with fresh mushrooms & now, having got well and truly doused with seawater while reefing, I was really pleased that all I had to do on getting down below was to heat it up and enjoy it!! I didn't cook another of the delicious baby Gem squashes I'd also had on Tuesday but did heat up some of my pumpkin soup to have first - making a good, quick, hot meal!

It's Thursday afternoon as I'm writing this - and It's been difficult moving about all day ... I have to be really careful... I left the sliding hatch partly open - and water came down as a wave crashed into us.... I've had to keep an eye out also for lines getting washed over the side - the sea sweeping the decks occasionally, together with the frequent violent heeling action as we climb a wave and then lurch down the other side, keeps tangling them around cleats or washing them over... Safest place for me is in my bunk ,,,,,!!

Hopefully, the seas will lie down soon - high pressure is expected to move this way and with it light S-SE winds - not very good news, but hopefully, the wind direction & strength will allow us to keep moving in roughly the right direction.

Distances noon position to noon position (see 'Travels' page on website for link to positions on Google Earth):

Tuesday 143n.ml
Wednesday 154 n.ml.
Thursday 167 n.ml.

Written by : Mike

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