Day 22 - FOG! But good sailing, albeit rather bumpy!

Tuesday 26th April 2011

1pm

Thought it was looking murky outside .... went up on deck .... vey foggy!! The temperature display went cuckoo a week or two back, soon after it was showing me some nice rising water temperatures. They looked as though they were due to the current coming down from Brazil and it certainly made the boat and air feel far warmer - I was able to discard my thick fleeces from then on. I'm presuming this fog must be due to warm moist air (although humidity is only 74%) hitting chilly water - so it's frustrating not to be able to see how exactly the sea temperature is behaving, although it has been feeling a touch cooler of late...!

We've been sailing along very nicely, often at 7kt, since last night - wind around 20knots from the NNW, so a beam reach East in fair-sized seas that are also rather beam-on, so occasionally knocking us when a larger one comes along.

I'm trying to finish off my windvane repair - no point in pausing at Gough Island, hoping for calm water to replace the rudder that slipped off the post (when the pin went missing while lying to the drogue), if the windvane itself isn't good and ready!! All taking a time, but I don't expect to reach Gough Island until Thursday and conditions just now aren't too rough, as they have been, for getting work like that done... Spoke to John on Gough Island this morning (also Andy on Tristan da Cunha) - looks as though the wind will be from NW later on Thursday, which is good news since Quest Bay, on the SE of the island, is sheltered from that wind direction - so water should be calm, especially since there should be no swell getting in either.

1400 GMT report (Links to maps showing positions/tracks on 'Travels' page):
LAT: 40-32S LONG: 016-35W COURSE: 091T SPEED: 6.6
WIND_SPEED: 20 WIND_DIR: NNW SWELL_DIR: NNW SWELL_HT: 3.5M SWELL_PER: 4
CLOUDS: 100% BARO: 1018 TREND: 0
COMMENT: Fog! But not too thick.. Dist. to Cape Town: 1707 ml, to Gough Isl: 303ml

5pm
Fog lifted a while ago, but still a low cloud layer lurking, waiting to fall again, maybe.
Just spent a long time gazing around - lots of prions today, joining our usual companions - a flock of them, swooping around so fast, narrow wing tips touching the water and then swooping high up... Such pretty, graceful birds - mainly blue-grey on top and white beneath but with a distinctive dark 'M' mark on their upper wings, light grey 'collar' and dark mark through their eye - seemed to me most likely to be Antarctic prions ('whalebirds').

I'd actually togged up and gone on deck with a view to reducing sail a bit - but decided no reason to do so... The wind hadn't increased and we were making good speed at 6.5-7 kt,... the problem was more one of the seas having built up (to 4m) and a swell from two different directions, NNW and W, making for frequent heaping up of the waves - which then often washed over us heavily, knocking us about as they did so. Our course being E wasn't helping.... but, for the time being, all was OK. So I watched the birds instead...

8pm
Decided to reduce canvas with nightfall... wind up to 25kt at tmes, so thought it to be prudent, just in case, as forecast, it goes higher......

Written by : Mike

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