Thursday 23rd December Day 59 - Still big swell, but wind down - rockin' & rollin' downwind in THICK FOG!
MERRY CHRISTMAS!! I hope you all have a lovely peaceful holiday - I'll be thinking of many of you - thank you for your emails!
Photo shows my Christmas card from "Nereida" to all of you... Enjoy the holiday!
Fog today! Quite thick in the early morning, lifted a bit by midday - but still lurking, with visibility very restricted .... dropped down again by mid-afternoon.
Now the wind has dropped down, it's very calm downwind sailing - but not a bird in sight, just big swell and dripping fog. All very peaceful, now we're back under wind steering.
Spent an age yesterday and again today looking over routeing options: whether to go directly from here on a Great Circle route to the Horn (WP is quite a way
S of Cape Horn, in fact) or whether to put in an extra WP that would keep us from dropping quite as far S as the first option.... and so lessen the chances of really big swell - far bigger than the big swell we've had so far. It's a lottery whether the winds will be much different, possibly not. The wind and the swell often really build up close in to Chile - the winds building with a compression effect as the Lows come in towards the continent. Nothing to be done to avoid that since that's where Cape Horn is - other than to stand well off the continental shelf if conditions look to be bad as we get closer!
Tied down a couple of crates in the aft cabin which had worked loose with the jarring motion of the boat in the big seas. In fact, another empty one had come away completely a day ago and knocked into the AP/instruments connector that I't rigged up - and disconnected it... I suddenyl noticed that the AP noise had stopped ... and the instrument displays were blank! Fortunately, since we were in strong conditions at the time, I was able quickly to re-connect the wiring and sort out the steering - but one other job today has been to protect that item rather better! I also had to wedge one of the fuel jerrycans in the cockpit locker- I'd heard a banging noise from time to time when the bigger waves hit yesterday but had had difficulty locating the source of the noise. In the calmer conditions this morning, I was able to see what the problem was - with the occasional bigger wave coming along conveniently to show me what was moving!
I've been enjoying frequent cheese and biscuits - at present, I'm slowly finishing the tasty little Mt Townsend cheeses I got in the Saturday market just before I left Pt Townsend - it's a good thing I like ripe cheeses! That's definitely an item on my Christmas Day menu!
It's been really heartwarming to be getting so many 'Season's Greetings' by way of email - I've tried to reply to them all and hope I've not overlooked anyone. I've not had time to compose my own 'Season's Greetings' email - maybe later today.. I hope my friends will forgive me... In the meantime, I hope that everyone reading this will have a very enjoyable Christmas. (BTW, can someone remind me of the times/frequencies of BBC Overseas so I can listen on my SSB radio - I'm missing my carol-singing...!! Are they broadcasting the Cambridge Cathedral Choir Carols - or something similar?)
24hr DMG to noon UTC: 147 n.ml.
At 1200 UTC: Cape Horn WP 1870 ml SE; Easter Island 1091ml NNE; Pitcairn 1412ml NNW; Chile 1585ml ESE; N.Z. (Portland Island) 2947ml WSW; Mexico (Cabo San Lucas) 4073 ml. N.