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Day 67 Winds eased to 25kt, W swell 5-6m... a lovely sunset to see out the year

Friday 31st December 2010

Wishing all of you a very Happy New Year! Cheers!!

This evenimg's delicate sunset, seen from "Nereida" in swell of the Southern Ocean - last of the year 2010

An albatross resting close to Nereida's stern..!

Albatross soaring on those long, stiff wings....

I was awake early, as usual, to note down my midday UTC position and weather report - which is now at 6am local time (GMT-6), which should be one hour20 out from Chile time (GMT-5?). I'd been intending to contact the Patagonia Cruisers' Net on 8164 kHz for some time but kept overlooking it because its timing coincides with my report - which takes me quite a time to collate and send off.

Well, today (having posted myself a big notice in my logbook!), I finally managed it - and made contact with Wolfgang, the Net Controller/Manager, who I understand is based in Porte Montt. Lots of static on frequency, but we just managed to exchange greetings and for me to give him my details.

There is a surprising number of cruisers in Chile, attracted to the hundreds of remote islands and anchorages waiting to be explored, and it seems to have the same wild beauty of such places as SE Alaska, with which I'm more familiar.

But, like Alaska, the cruising season is short due to the latitude and one problem is that in many places, it's minimally charted - one hears of many uncharted rocks, in a very rocky area.... which, together with nasty 'williwaws' off hillsides and mountains, can easily lead to disaster - not a good place for a single-hander, unfamiliar with the area, to be sailing in, close to shore!

Conditions since late yesterday have been much easier, although the occasional bigger wave knocks us about still - and the swell is expected to increase, if anything, over today and tomorrow possibly, with the wind dying right down by this time tomorrow and maybe also over the following day - so progress will be slow for a day or more. (Just heard a crash of water as a wave washed over our side deck!)

When I ran the generator yesterday in very 'bumpy' conditions, the oil light came on when we were heeled over a lot - the generator doesn't like extreme
angles of heel. Fortunately, we came up again quickly enough that the oil light went out - but I'm taking that as a warning to check the oil level - and maybe it needs an oil change - to be checked on and done in calmer conditions - when the swell has died down a bit over the next two days. I depend on the generator for battery charging if wind and sun aren't available, so must look after it.

A lovely delicate 'end of the year' sunset tonight ... I've been on deck several times this afternoon, once the grey clouds and drizzle cleared away - enjoying the scene and the last day of the year. Very few birds today - but two albatross and a couple of handsome prions/petrels from time to time....

The propshaft is still spinning and doesn't stop when the gear is put into reverse - another job waiting for calmer conditions. Not going to be easy to fix....

Enjoying music, olives, salmon pate and blue cheese (separately!) on crackers, to be followed by some hot stew (with a glass of pinot noir) - it's cold without heating here! Somewhere there's a tiny bottle to see in the New Year.... Happy New Year!

24hr DMG to noon UTC: 143 n.ml. (See maps showing track & position via links on my website 'Travels' page)

At 1200 (Friday) UTC: 52:16S, 088:46W. Cape Horn WP 787 ml 120T; Chile 499 ml 091T; N.Z. (C.Saunders, Dunedin, S.Island) 3640 ml 232T; Mexico (Cabo S. Lucas) 4640ml 340T.

Written by : Mike

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