Day17/18 Wed/Thurs11/12Apr07 - whale ahoy!

Wednesday
Excellent sailing overnight - sometimes we go so smoothly through the water, there's almost no noise to be heard down below & it feels as though we've stopped moving - but in fact we're moving fast - 'creaming' through the water, beautifully balanced. "Nereida" had 'found her groove', as they say....! Increasingly less wind as the day wore on - the good side to that was the lessening seas.
Great excitement at noon when I heard blowing noises from astern - a WHALE!! I managed to get a couple of photos but at that time we were moving so slowly (about 3.5 kn) that it cruised by us & on in a short time, coming up just occasionally to breathe.
More passage planning over the calm afternoon, continually sidetracked with looking at the wind direction - firmly staying NE... but getting lighter & lighter. With a good current helping our speed over the ground, I was trying hard not to start the motor, but by the time the boatspeed was consistently down around 1-2 knots, I reckoned it was either time to 'kill the horses' ... or to start the 'iron horse'.....
Unfortunately, the iron horse didn't want to know, initially - not a peep... so it was down to the engine compartment, long screwdriver in hand yet again (doesn't this all sound so very familiar...???). It took a bit of effort to get the starter motor to turn the engine, but finally it came to life, just as I was beginning to think I'd have to find my spare starter motor to replace it.
Arrival at the Equator is difficult to judge - sometime Friday, hopefully! We're moving gently through the calm sea, still with the fair Equatorial current helping us along - so nice not to have a foul current for once!!

Wednesday 1800 GMT position: 02deg 55'N; 129deg 28'W . 24hr distance run by log: 105 n.ml. (Actually 126 ml over ground - that lovely Equatorial current...)

Thursday
Sailing slower & slower. Got into SE trades, finally, just before sunrise... but they're very light: ~10-12kn. I turned off the motor, pulled in the sails & set the Windpilot - the wind is almost 'dead on the nose' & we're not quite making our preferred course.
1600 PDT Well, it's always nice to lose the engine noise, but I may soon have to start it up again - we're presently only making ~2 knots through the water and the same over the ground (no more 'push' from the current).... getting a bit too slow - wind is down to 7knots (SE3). I'll have a mug of tea in peace & quiet & consider my options...!

Thursday 1800 GMT position: 01deg 23'N; 130deg 37'W . 24hr distance run by log: 95 n.ml.!! (Actually 115 ml over ground - helpful Equatorial current still...)

PS No Winlink connection since 6th April - lots of position reports now waiting to be uploaded...

Written by : Mike

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