Thursday 9th December 2010
The photo here shows a Black Noddy which came by "Nereida" to roost three nights running in late November as we were passing well offshore of the Baja California coast (Mexico)
Well, today we had regular squalls passing by! Every time, I hear the wind building and, on looking out, there's a big grey raincloud not too far away. The wind veers by at least 20 degrees, so instead of coming from the ENE it comes from S of E. If under windsteering, our course changes by that much - or more, if the wind really gusts up, as is usual, because the wind steering gets overpowered with us now carrying too much sail for the conditions. We heel over and pick up speed... and I'm busily trying to reduce the genoa hurriedly, if not tying in the third reef, to make us heel less!!
Often, before all that, the wind wll die right down - maybe to 10 kt, so we're making 2-3 kt instead of 5-7 kt, and I'm tempted to let out more sail to speed us up ... But I check for clouds first ... and wait.. and wait... for the 'blow' to come and the wind to build quickly to 22-24kt!! Generally, over the day, the wind is around 15-16kt.
This afternoon was very pleasant, with spells of sunshine and scattered light cloud in between squalls, but the morning saw mostly big grey clouds.
I missed my usual 2.20pm check-in with the Maritime Mobile Net on 14300 kHz - I was fast asleep and woke up an hour late! I clearly needed the sleep, having been up a late last night. Someone had sent a BIG file by email and I tried over and over to get it deleted - it was clogging up my 'Inbox' and, with poor connections just now, it was causing me a major problem getting my weather info, as well as other emails.... Took me a long time to sort out - but I finally managed it...
As I was checking in late, another squall came by - a big one - I actually ran off downwind , changing course by 40 degrees, to reduce the apparent wind and that worked really well, things calming right down. It doesn't take long before the squall passes - maybe 10-20 minutes, and things can get back to normal.
Around sunset, I spotted a ship just 3-5 miles off heading N- NOT on my AIS - so maybe an illegal fishing vessel? It was large enough that it should have been carrying AIS - and using it! (Someone commented the other day that the requirement is just to carry, not necessarily to use, AIS - sounds most odd!)
24hr DMG: 129 n.ml. Pitcairn 626ml; Easter Island 770 ml.