Day 35 Sailing, sunshine, big swell ... and birds - as always!

Monday 9th May 2011

11am

Bright, sunny day, almost clear blue sky overhead - but low, misty cloud lurking on horizon - waiting to drop as fog come nightfall? Seeing ships regularly now on A.I.S. - none too close but two this morning two ships (to Ningbo - where's that? China? - and Singapore) passed just 2ml and 3ml away - saw their lights on the horizon close by.

Still not had b'fast - got sidetracked, sitting in the warm (!) sunshine, watching the birds around - and trying, mostly unsuccessfully, to get good photos of them ..... SO difficult to frame them!! So often, as the shutter clicks, they wheel off in the opposite direction... While watching the Yellow-nosed albatross (2), Great shearwaters (lots!) and White-chinned petrels (2), I suddenly spotted a small, white-rumped storm petrel, flitting about as they do, really close to the water. Going to need to spend a long time at the computer, going through my shots - no doubt deleting most of them .... but hopefully, there'll be one or two worthwhile ones! It would be nice to have a record of my companions on this passage!

Having to motor-sail and the wind has just gone back into SE from SSE earlier - only 7 kt so not a lot of help from the sails - but we live in hope.... The swell is really big from SE, at easily 4-5m if not more, but well-spaced at around 8 seconds, so majestic... powerful... but not threatening! (LATER: Wind down to 4-5 kt at 11.20)

Time for a late breakfast before the S.African M.M.Net soon.

1400 GMT report:

LAT: 33-57S LONG: 013-33E COURSE: 091T SPEED: 5.4
WIND_SPEED: 14 WIND_DIR: SSW SWELL_DIR: SSE SWELL_HT: 5.0M SWELL_PER: 8
CLOUDS: 5% BARO: 1009 TREND: -1

Distance to Cape Town 244 n.ml. 24hr DMG 62 n.ml. - made a right-angled turn...

4.30pm Sailing along beautifully at close to 6 knots under sunny, blue sky.... with birds for company... no motor... What could be nicer.....? Just had the last Ushuaia grapefruit - lovely and juicy inside still, after two months.

Wind will probably die and veer further W soon (presently SSW-SW 15 kt) - but for the moment this is just great! Have been sitting in a warm cockpit and enjoying it all!!

Later - Well I just gybed the mains'l and goose-winged the stays'l.... On a very broad reach in wind from W at just 12 knots. Still sailing nicely .... not very fast, but good enough to take us into Cape Town by Wed afternoon, hopefully. Beautiful night sky - bright stars, Milky way strewn across, crescent moon, path of bright moonlight to the boat across the water.... lovely sailing... NOT cold...! An excellent way to end a long passage - pity the wind might well die further tomorrow and overnight into Wednesday for landfall - we can but hope the wind stays up!!

Written by : Mike

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