Day 1 to Hawaii/San Francisco- Tues 9th March

Finally! I'm sailing south and Cape Point (the Cape of Good Hope) was fading away at the entrance to False Bay as I started to write this over the (sunny) afternoon. An end to all the frustrations of the past three months !!

It feels so good to have finally got away - although I've a mix of feelings, having left so many friendly people behind, amongst them several whose company I'll miss.

I've just dug out my long, warm undertrousers and I'm wearing a fleece top - the cold sea water makes it feel quite chilly and there was a lot of sea fog all morning. Despite the warm sunshine from around midday, after the fog had cleared away, the wind had a cold edge to it.... but at least, eventually, the wind did get up enough so that I could turn off the motor & sail. I'd bought extra jerrycans for fuel, knowing there was little wind expected for 2-3 days.

(Later) We're losing over two knots to current as we cross the edge of the Agulhas bank - nearly 6 kn boatspeed but only 3.5 kn over the ground...frustrating! It's a very bumpy ride in rough water tonight - I've been warned by several people here to get across it by heading due S as quickly as possible - it can get very nasty with the strong Agulhas current flowing in relatively shallow water. Position tonight: 38mls SW of Cape Pt at midnight (local time)

Earlier today I passed by a large whale cruising slowly on the surface & saw lots of seals with fins raised out of the water. (Comment heard recently: makes them look like dolphins from below, so the Great Whites don't take them - seals being their main food... and wet-suited humans swimming look like seals from below....) Also lots of birds, mainly resting on the calm surface in the sun, including an albatross and several small flocks of white birds. As we approached the larger petrels, they ran across the water in a frantic effort to take off ... quite funny to watch!

It was so calm, I calibrated the fluxgate compass and checked our heading alignment quite soon after starting out, as well as going through the autopilot set-up routine to make sure that would be OK, since I expected to have to motor for quite a bit.

The aim is to make for 38-40S and stay along those latitudes towards S. Australia - trying to avoid the deep lows to the south, with their associated bad weather, and also the high pressure 'no wind' areas further north. That's the theory!

Written by : Mike

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