Day 179 Sat-Sun 30-31 March 2019 Big seas, then rough seas

Sunday 2am Wind has really died now - according to wind display, it's coming from just about all directions depending on which way the boat happens to be heeling/tossing... Just now, it should be from roughly S but wind display has it coming from N quadrant - back to being an unreliable indicator. The wind generator shows it to be definitely coming from S and that we're on a beam reach in light wind - its blades are just about turning fairly well but probably not enough to input much, if any, power. SOG is just 2-3 kt.

3am Unfurled full genoa, furled away staysail and released running backstay. Speed nearer 3kt than 2kt - but wind still very light. Clearly there had been some light rain earlier and sky still overcast. Back to my bunk for more sleep.

3:40am Great! Speed up to 4kt mow in slightly more wind...

8:20am Totally overcast sky, swell less. Wind 10-15 kt, so making 4.5-5.5 kt, seems to be increasing as I write... speed now 5.7kt and wind 17kt...

A Royal (?!) albatross came by, gliding on typically stiff, fixed wings! I need to check on tail feathers - might have been a Snowy (Wandering) but I think more likely a Royal albatross (Northern type).

Difficult to assign names to these big birds, there's so much variation in their plumage, even within types, and difficult also to catch sight of the important features when they just glide past at a distance and then disappear off. But this one had white body and head and all-dark upper wings with no white 'splashes' on it, nor white near the body - definitely not a mature Snowy, for sure, but could just have been an immature..

All Royals and the Snowy range over the entire Southern Ocean so present location gives no indication, except that it wouldn't have been a Tristan or New Zealand Wandering (far less extensive ranges) - but it didn't look like either of those anyway..

Had a very brief 'sched' on 7160 at 0200Z - was good to speak, as usual, to John W1QS and Rick K9VM, both in E.USA, and also to Daniel, VA2DF, a weekend regular, calling from Montreal. All signals were good but there's a major contest going on this weekend and a lot of people are frantically trying to make as many contacts as possible in a short time! It was very noisy, with a lot of people calling on nearby frequencies, so we cut it short. Will be better tomorrow, after the contest has ended at 2400Z today.

Breakfast and then maybe back to my bunk for another short nap - not quite had enough sleep yet... Wind has now dropped back down to 14kt and our speed to 4.7kt ... varying quite a lot.

1:30pm Bright sunshine and blue sky overhead - cloud is moving off to the N and E but air feels cold. Seas seem to have come up again so we're rolling around a lot now with a short period of around 5 seconds. They seemed to be lying down earlier, but not now.

6:15pm Sky had clouded over around 4pm but mainly cleared again in time for sunset just before 6pm. It's as though there are bands of cloud coming over.

Was nice to see several prions earlier - and a few petrels, of course!

Kept busy this afternoon making some more ham and green pea soup, after mending my ship's logbook which has been looking very sorry for itself after several falls from the chart table in rough conditions. Thought I'd bought a sturdy, good quality book for this voyage but it definitely does not like the sea air, is wearing badly and is feeling quite damp (like so many other things on board, in the cold sea air)

Had a short chat with Volker, ZS3Y, in S.Africa and Dom, E51DOM, in the expedition boat returning to Cape Town now with damage caused by a very nasty storm (85kt wind gust, 16m seas) when they were 70miles off Bouvet Island, several days' journey S of Cape Town, late last week. No injuries, so that was good, but all boat radio, GPS & radar antennas lost.

7:15pm Back down below - just had to run up on deck to furl in the genoa quite a bit - strong wind had come up unexpectedly. Clear above, cloud bank off to port.

Was sitting admiring Sirius afterward, high overhead among a lot of other bright stars, not far from upside-down Orion, when a wave came over and caught me fair and square on my back - no jacket - hurried down to grab a towel to dry... The trouble with getting doused in seawater is the garment never really dries and stays forever damp.

Making 6.5kt in 25kt wind... Think I'll leave the genoa furled this much for overnight.

1900GMT (= 1 a.m.LT) - end of Day 179. We made 108 n.ml. DMG, over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions.

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 179 (by daily DMGs):15,797 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900GMT): Cape Leeuwin LH (SW Australia): 1217 n.ml. to ENE; Melbourne (VIC, Aus): 2432 n.ml. to E; SE Cape,Tasmania,LH: 2419 n.ml. to ESE; SW Cape, NZ: 3155 n.ml to ESE; Cape Agulhas LH (S.Africa): 3273 n.ml. to WNW; St Paul Isl: 643 n.ml.to WNW

Position & weather report, for 1900 GMT, posted to www.Winlink.org and www.Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign KC2IOV):

TIME: 2019/03/31 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 41-43.98S LONGITUDE: 090-57.82E

COURSE: 088T SPEED: 5.3kt

WIND_SPEED: 22kt WIND_DIR: SSW SWELL_DIR: SSW SWELL_HT: 3.5m

BARO: 1023.6hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 15.0C SEA_TEMP: 15.0C

COMMENT: Wind up again. Seas quite rough - short period, being tossed around a lot

Written by : Jeanne Socrates