Thursday 16th December Day 52
Photos show the poor squid that decided to board us overnight - big mistake! - and some spectacular towering clouds catching the setting sun the other evening.
Beautiful day again today - a few little white clouds lined up along the wind direction... not a raincloud in sight... until just before the Pacific Seafarers Net was about to begin, near sunset...when a big band of grey raincloud spread across and gave some heavy raindrops - but no big squalls!
It's good to have the time now to get done all the items on my joblist - and some extras. I feel almost as though I've had a reprieve, with so many days of calm sailing meaning I can move about easily and do whatever needs doing - on deck or below. I'll soon have to start reading some of the many magazines and books on board... Not often I get the chance to do that!
11:30am Just finished checking over connections needed to make the switch-over from butane (European) to propane (N.American) cylinders & fittings, sending gas down to galley for cooking. I want to make the changeover while in these calm conditions, so that there will be no question of my running out of cooking gas while in the strong conditions expected all too soon! I'm surprised that my butane tank has lasted so long, despite cooking a meal most days - I'm still on the one I started just before leaving Victoria - & it's not empty yet. I suspect my drinking far more plain water, and making so much less tea or coffee than usual over the day, is probably the reason for that...
I had a relaxed breakfast out in the sunny cockpit, having made some fresh coffee. I'm determined to make the most of these pleasant conditions while I have them to enjoy - an early Christmas present, I've decided!! All too soon, it's going to be a lot colder and rougher & sitting out in the cockpit over a leisurely breakfast will NOT be an option!
The wind died enough for the first reef to need shaking out (found a small squid - or is it a cuttlefish? - beside a winch!) .... and I must look at the spinnaker pole end again - I tried it in passing yesterday and couldn't open the jaw, so I suspect it's got jammed again with seasalt - despite having used it not so long ago. The hot freshwater treatment will work again, I hope! (Later - just checked again - can't budge it ... definitely on the joblist - could be needing it soon...)
I played around with the stays'l, using a snatch block to sheet it out upwind, to try to spill the wind onto the genoa - but the wind angle was wrong, so for a time I furled it away.
We were still headed on 200T, changing to 190T by the afternoon, trying to go around the light-wind centre of the high-pressure ridge to the ESE. We'll slowly turn to port, heading S and then SSE, as the wind backs more. It's in this kind of situation that wind steering can really come into its own - following the wind around as it shifts, to optimize course and speed. Hopefully, we won't end up in a 'wind hole' - as can happen so close to a High centre.... And we could get a sudden wind shift as we pass over the ridge - with the wind suddenly backing a lot.
I spent this afternoon going through my food stores, double-checking and making lists of what's stowed where. Very useful... so easy to forget where some things are, after a time.
Wind generator is still doing very little, with wind down in strength and just abaft the beam. So still only solar power for time being, with occasional top-up from diesel generator.
I'm noticing how much cooler it is over the daytime now, when not in the sun. Air temperature is around 26C and sea temperature almost down to 22C. So when in the wind, it's feeling rather cold!
24hr DMG to noon UTC: 140 n.ml.
At 1200 UTC: Pitcairn 675ml NW; Easter Island 770ml ENE; Chile 2235ml (nearest point) ESE; Cape Horn WP 2588 ml SE; N.Z. (E. Cape) 2841ml WSW; Mexico (Cabo San Lucas) 3480 ml. (013T)