Day 18 to CT - calm, peaceful, relaxing sailing - lovely!

Good Friday 22nd April2011 Happy Easter!!

5pm
Sun is getting low - it's just managing to shine now and then through a long gap in the thin cloud layer that's been overhead all day with its edge elusively just ahead and to the S of us! I'd hoped for some sunshine - but it's not happened.

A slow day with fairly calm seas - a long, slow, SSW swell combining now with swell and wind waves building up from the N-NNE wind direction. Wind has been up and down and shifting about - sometimes we've made good speed, other times we've just ambled along at 4-5 knots.... I'm expecting the N wind to build a bit tonight and into tomorrow, then a High pressure ridge , before N winds build again , more strongly perhaps, over Sunday night and Monday - nothing too strong, hopefully!

Not so many birds today, very few, in fact, but I just got excited on seeing a solitary Great-winged petrel swoop past. I'd been idly gazing at a pair of Spectacled petrels gliding around us, close by, when I suddenly realized I was looking at a quite different bird - larger, all dark, no white 'spectacle' rings around its eyes, but a lighter patch behind its quite long, heavy black bill.

Actually had a ship ('Kalypso', carrying grain to Taiwan) come past me, close by, last night! Saw it on AIS after first seeing its lights in the distance astern and had a chat on VHF with the officer on watch... confirmed Ch10 is still working fine!

I spoke this morning with Peter, ZD9GI, the radio operator on Gough Island, who monitors the morning S.African M.M.Net in order to relay if he's needed. He told me that the sea is very deep right up to the shore so there's no proper anchorage (although there is a deep one, in about 20m, marked on my chart , I noticed) and when he and the others come to the island for their time there (bird/wildlife research), the ship bringing them and their supplies lands them all by helicopter. The bay the ship comes into lies in the SE of the island, protected from all but SElies.

My present course takes me right past the island (UK territory) and I'm toying with the idea of pausing there maybe, if weather permits...It's still about 800 miles (one week) away but would give me the chance to replace my windsteering rudder in calm waters, to have it available for the rest of my passage to Cape Town. The birds I'm seeing are possibly rearing chicks there or about to (many breed in May), or they may be non-breeding, immature birds. They breed either there or on the other islands in the Tristan da Cunha group to the NNW of Gough Island, 220 n.ml away. (Tristan da Cunha is the only inhabited island in the group & has a resident population of about 300 people, I was told.)

Midday (local) position/weather:

TIME: 2011/04/22 14:00UTC
LATITUDE: 39-37.13S LONGITUDE: 028-05.62W
COURSE: 099T SPEED: 6.0
WIND_SPEED: 11 WIND_DIR: NNE WAVE_HT: 1.0M
SWELL_DIR: SSW SWELL_HT: 2.0M
CLOUDS: 80% BARO: 1025 TREND: -1

24hr DMG115ml. Distance to CT: 2238ml (Links to maps on website 'Travels' page)

Written by : Mike

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