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Day 46 - Last full day in the Tropics - beautiful relaxed sailing, once the final squall passed by!

Friday 10th December 2010 (Day 46)

Just before first light this morning, 'Aquila Voyager' came close, on its way to Onsan, China... AIS showed it on clear collision course. No response initially on VHF - but later, after made contact, immediately changed course slightly to starboard to pass astern. (Checked VHF radio with them - not seeming to work well and definitely no external speaker in use - must check speaker itself to make sure it's working... - bad connection?) Had language problems but eventually chatted with officer on watch for short time - 40 yrs at sea on merchant vessels, never been on a sailing vessel - his dream!! Captain wanted to know if i needed anything - could they help?? (Penty of offers coming in - but I can't accept them, even if I wanted to!)

0700 Squall!! Big mass of grey cloud and rain close by - we got no rain but plenty of wind!!

Slight change of course - from 180T to 170T. Air definitely feeling cooler these days - although still officially in the Tropics, not feeling very tropical -
except for those squalls!

Mid-morning - all grey clouds gone, after yet another squall at 10am! With so much solar power coming in to the batteries (16A seen at times!), in addition to windpower, I ran the watermaker (It runs off the 12V batteries.) It gave a slight problem, with some air in the system, I think, but with a bit of playing around, pressurizing and de-pressurizing the system, both pumps decided to work fine eventually, so I was able to run it for as long as was needed to fill my tanks.

It turned into a beautiful day - I sat in the cockpit during the afternoon, enjoying the warmth and sunshine ... Nasty cold weather ahead .. so something to enjoy and put in the memory bank...! After a time relaxing, I decided I'd best clean the glass of the windscreen of caked on salt - it was very difficult to remove but wasn't going to get any easier if left and it was not easy seeing ahead clearly through it.....

It's getting very difficult now checking in to the Maritime Mobile Net at 2220 GMT (2.20pm PST) - might have to give up on that - not very good propagation on the 20m band now. Randy (KH6RC) in Hawaii copied me and relayed to Net Contoller, Art (K7WAH) in Arkansas, after Gary (WB6UQA), in Santa Monica, had heard me calling faintly. I heard no-one on 14305 , nor on 21402 kHz, when I monitored each frequency after my check-in, in case someone was there to chat to - I'm getting too far away....

Sat in the cockpit with a mug of tea after my window-cleaning exercise with the intention of reading a book I'd got out ready - but got side-tracked again...
I'd been meaning to have a go at seeing to a couple of jammed zips on my jackets, ready for the bad weather ahead.... Now was a perfect time to do that - took a time, but now all done.. and working, just before sunset.

24hr DMG to this morning: 131 n.ml. In just over a day's time, I'll be passing midway between Pitcairn and Easter Island.

Written by : Mike

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