Sunday 25th March 2012
To my delight and surprise, the wind suddenly picked up to 15 knots around midnight and I was able to cut the motor and sail goose-winged with the stays'l poled out to starboard, making excellent speed for quite a time - lovely!!
The pleasant sail continued through the day in slowly lessening winds until by 5pm, with the wind down to 6-9 knots from astern, we were into motor-sailing once more ... the wind has since steadied at 4-6 knots!
The bonus tonight is the beautiful night sky - clear, with a million stars and the Milky Way strewn across like dust, Southern Cross high up and Orion doing his headstand, as usual. No moon tonight.
Quite a few birds around later today - a small flock of prions, several storm petrels - frenetically dipping into the sea, soft-plumaged petrels, yellow-nosed albatross... and the most glorious of sunsets - a golden-red glow reflected for ages by a low cloud layer onto the sea surface - absolutely stunning!
I've been busy today with emails - I seem to be forever trying to catch up with my 'correspondence' - it's mostly a pleasure but takes a time each day - luckily the radio connections on Winlink and, finally, Sailmail are both good now, so it's not such a struggle sending/receiving my 'post'.
I managed today to make contact on the radio (by voice, on 4483kHz) with three people simultaneously! .... Mary Kay of Smithton Radio (with whom I'd chatted daily when I sailed through the Bass Strait and on to New Zealand nonstop from Cape Town the last time I sailed these waters), Carol of American River Radio on Kangaroo Island (I'd connected with her station every day also, two years ago) and finally with Jeremy on 'Rosinante' at anchor in Port Davey - he's been very helpful to me by email with info on anchorages and the coastal area in the S of Tasmania up to Hobart.
I had my usual chat with Greg on 'Alcidae' but couldn't have a proper chat with Petr on 'Singa' because of too much noise on frequency his end - not helped by a radio 'contest' on 14 MHz - people madly trying to connect with each other, exchanging callsigns and some other number/info - presumably the 'winner' is the person with the most verified contacts over the weekend - yes, it was going on over Saturday as well... and has made normal 20m contacts impossible... Even the Pacific Seafarers Net on14300 kHz, which is a safety Net, had problems with interference from the contestants. TG, it's Monday tomorrow....
Good news on my damaged mainsail batten end holder and cars is that through Nicki of Carol Hasse's PTSails, the relevant parts have all been organised to be sent to Hobart - so when I get in, I'll be able to repair things quickly.. Thanks for the organising, Nicki! And thanks to John of Tides End for sending so promptly the spare pins and rings I need for my Strong Track cars. I've quite a long list of repairs etc I need to do on landfall - and I'd like to squeeze in something of Tasmania, as well!
DMG today: 111M Hobart is 868 sailing mls away; SE Cape of Tasmania (one of the Five Great Capes): 774 n.ml.