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Day 61 - TWO MONTHS! Usual big swell, weak sun at times.

Saturday 25th December (Christmas Day)

MERRY CHRISTMAS!! I hope you all have a lovely peaceful holiday - I'll be thinking of many of you - thank you very much for your emails!

My postbag took a time to look through - my after-breakfast treat! A lovely morning, with the sun struggling out early through broken, thin cloud layer - even saw some blue sky now and then... Saw one solitary bird (petrel) in the distance - but so far no albatross.

My last fresh grapefruit, fresh coffee, home-made marmalade (- thanks, R&D!) on crispbread - with butter that has survived my fridge malfunction (temperature is now low enough not to need a fridge!) ... Wedged against the swell's motion in the companionway with music playing, having breakfast up in the cool air and weak sunshine, looking out to the sea - if I don't keep looking, I definitely won't see any birds ...!

Good wind again (around 25 knots at present), consistent downwind sailing - I've hardly needed to touch the sails for the last day or so!

2.30pm On wind steering, with Fred in charge, tried to check in to the Maritime Mobile Net on 14300 kHz - they had a bit of a problem finding a relay with good enough copy on me to take my report, but finally found KD4CMV (Warren?) who took my report - with a bit of trying and a helping hand from W7WZ (John?). I then switched to 21.402 MHz, my usual frequency for contacts in the daytime now - rather late, since I normally try to be there at 2.45pm PST (2245GMT) and it was now gone 3pm. I was able to make contact with Tom (WA6TLL), near LA, and Jerry (KL7EDK), in Alaska - enough to exchange Christmas greetings, although they had trouble hearing me - they were faint but readable to me. It's a bit of an effort, but worthwhile - it's nice to make the contact with human voices!!

4pm Foggy in the distance - very reduced visibility and a lot of moisture on the air... Wind slowly backing as a front comes closer - expected to pass by early tomorrow, wind has already backed from WNW at dawn to just S of W now - hopefully continuing to do so gradually, although last year I experienced a change from NNW to SW in extreme winds (well over 50 knots!) in almost no time at all, as a front passed over.... not pleasant, especially with big seas from two different directions!

Of course, as I was writing that, a gap in the clouds came along - and suddenly the sun was shining! Clearly the foggy conditions are patchy, since a short while later the sun was very watery with the fog bank just a thin layer, hovering not very high above - but it was good to see the sun shining nicely while it lasted.

5.30pm Time for tea & Christmas cake!

Another good day - a relaxing and enjoyable Christmas! Enjoyed my Pacific Seafarers Net session around 7.30pm, as usual - lots of Christmas greetings exchanged, although the Aussies and Kiwis are into Boxing Day now - being a day ahead almost! Interesting that propagation is now such that, after sunset, I'm having excellent copy with stations in the eastern USA - Florida and Georgia.... (after 0330 GMT/1930 PST). I'm monitoring 14300 after 0400Z for a short while now, if anyone wants to contact me.

The only blot on the horizon is a nasty-looking Low heading for me - all ready to blow me into the New Year with a vengeance.... I might yet be testing out my Jordan Series Drogue.... Watch this space!

My Christmas dinner of salmon with fresh potatoes, green peas and tartare sauce is waiting for me ... with a little white wine ...followed by some Christmas pudding ... and some very nice chocolate...(thanks, Tom & Maggie - I kept it specially!)

I'm raising a glass to everyone - "To a happy 2011 and your very good health! Cheers!" (Note the fleece and warm hat - not so warm here!)

24hr DMG to noon UTC: 152 n.ml. (See maps showing track & position via links on my website 'Travels' page)

At 1200 (Saturday) UTC: 47:27S, 108:22W. Cape Horn WP 1579 ml SE; Easter Island 1218ml N; Chile 1295ml ESE; N.Z. (Portland Island) 3133ml WSW; Mexico (Cabo S. Lucas) 4220ml. N.

Written by : Mike

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