Sunday 19th December (Day 55)
We've started making good speed with the increased wind - but with grey sky, bigger swell and cooler temperatures by late afternoon.... The pole was removed and the genoa brought to leeward, although the pole might be needed again quite soon as we're on a very broad reach, in a W-WNW wind, in order to make our course of about 134T for Cape Horn.
The solitary bird was soaring gracefully on almost motionless wings nearby again today - beautiful. Dark above, white beneath, with dark breast, and dark edges & tips to its undewings.
I spent a long time on an Excel spreadsheet for my food stores - was all set to print off the lovingly-composed, highly useful, final version on my little portable printer, when the laptop died ... I tried to resuscitate it several times - but to no avail ... All that wasted time and effort ...! The PC was the old one, not the one I'm using now for emails etc, but it had the Excel software on it which this one doesn't have. So it's not the major disaster it might have been.... just very frustrating...! Had messages warning of 'imminent failure of hard drive'...!! Back to the quill pen....
Radio propagation was poor today - could hardly hear the usual Kiwis and Aussies on PacSeaNet tonight - whereas the other night we all had a great chat, hearing each other really clearly!
Every day for the last week, the magnetic variation has increased by a degree. It was 18E when I left Victoria, reduced slowly to stay at 10E for over ten days while we headed due S, including when I crossed the Equator at 118W, and is now increasing more and more rapidly - it's now standing at 23E and will keep increasing to a maximum East variation before reducing again to reach zero in the S. Atlantic... and will then increase as a West variation. 20 days E of Cape Town, in March this year,I saw it reach a maximum of 46W, reducing to zero at around 40S 124E, 3 weeks later, from where it switched to an increasing East variation. . Our Earth is really just an enormous bar magnet!
24hr DMG to noon UTC: 80 n.ml. -well down, as was expected!
At 1200 UTC: Pitcairn 911ml; Easter Island 972ml; Chile ml (nearest point) 2085ml; Cape Horn WP 2388ml; N.Z. (nearest pt - Gable End, Foreland)2703ml; Mexico (Cabo San Lucas) 3782ml.