Monday 2nd May 2011 - relaxing and sunny....
We're slap bang right in the middle of a High - pressure has been 1031 since early morning - can't get much higher...! While getting ready (watching the swell, estimating the cloud cover) to make my daily weather/position report, I've been sitting out in the sunny cockpit with fresh coffee, watching a black-browed albatross never far away and often circling us, the dark of its wings extending across its otherwise white back, white underparts except for broad dark edges to its underwings... black tail ... and a bright yellow, very long, cruel-looking beak ... belying its nature - very docile, I was told by John of Gough Island.... A soaring great shearwater, a flitting, water-hugging storm petrel and occasional fast-moving prion are also not far away. All very pleasant....
If I ignored the motor sound, I could pretend we're sailing gently, with full genoa and mains'l, on a broad reach - but with 4 knots of apparent wind from abaft the beam, we wouldn't be moving at around 5.5 kt SOG, as we are.
I cooked fresh potatoes and onion with ham and peas last night and earlier today had an Okanagan apple ... I'm trying not to make landfall in Cape Town with any of my 'fresh' Canadian apples and potatoes still unused on board from last October...! (Also treated myself to some home-made marmalade on rye with breakfast - mmm!)
We're going to be stuck in this High for another day or so - and winds won't get strong until Tues/Wed, ahead of a Front expected over Wed night into Thur, but not for long... a Low coming down from W. coast of Africa is going to push a High S, to land up slightly S of us, giving us SE winds - heading us on Friday, possibly... But that's some days away still - so all may change by then... It's a waiting game....!
... Time to go and top up the main diesel tank.... Swell is big but long....
LAT: 39-30S LONG: 000-39W COURSE: 083T SPEED: 5.4
WIND_SPEED: 6 WIND_DIR: SW SWELL_DIR: SW SWELL_HT: 4.0M SWELL_PER: 8
CLOUDS: 10% BARO: 1030 TREND: -1
24hr DMG 123n.ml. Distance to Cape Town: 975 n.ml. Greenwich Meridian just over 25 n.ml away!
Just having some soup I made earlier today, after finishing with refuelling the main tank. Got rather more complicated than expected when I found the in-line 12V pump I normally use was not working - took me a time to go through the wiring & switches with a multimeter and connect wires to bypass a problematic, rusty-looking switch before deciding it was the pump itself that had also given up the ghost. So that meant digging out a spare pump, finding tubing to fit and hose-clamps to match before finally getting to the cockpit locker to refuel - which got rather messy....! That was partly because the pump I was using needed priming each time I started a jerrycan afresh (Yuck! How I hate sucking on the empty end of a diesel tube...!!) and was clearly not as strong as the job needed. So I ended up having to finish by pouring out the last part of the fuel from several jerry cans. I was going to leave doing it all until morning and daylight, but checking out the weather again, felt that it was possible the present very calm weather might disappear soon, because of a nasty system to the SW of here - which is already affecting us with the big swell I've seen all day long - and which gave me a bit of a problem when emptying out the last of the diesel.
The clear sky of this afternoon and lovely starry night soon after sunset have now disappeared - the cloud ahead of the imminent Front has started to come in and few stars are now visible. The SW wind died right down and then the wind came in from the N-NNW - so we're now on port tack once more, having been on starb'd tack all day. (Pressure is even higher than earlier, at 1033 hPa.) The wind is now only 5 kt from NW, so we're still motor-sailing, but soon it should increase enough to be able to cut the engine and sail properly.
We crossed the Greenwich Meridian around 8pm tonight.... we're E longitude now and S but just E of Greenwich!
Time to get some sleep while it's still calm ... Goodnight!