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Days 4&5 Strong winds & big seas continue!

Fri 12Mar2010 Passed due S of Cape Agulhas - so officially entering the Indian Ocean? Where does the Southern Ocean start??

Lovely sunny day up to noon with good W wind and building seas - knocking us about often! Making 7-8+ knots for most of the day on a broad reach until reduced sail early afternoon when broken rainclouds seemed to be bringing stronger wind - of course, wind dropped back down as soon as I'd finished that!! Left 2 reefs in ready for overnight - still making over 6-7 knots... Decided to head slightly more S around noon to get to 40S sooner - grib files are showing high pressure ridge and light E winds coming up soon around 38S but not at 40S where Wlies are forecast.

Been looking at birdbook - will have to study birds keeping me company (albatrosses, petrels & sheawaters) very closely for fine detail if I'm to distinguish the many similar-looking ones....

Consistent wind through to late evening - going well and making good progress...

Sat 13Mar

Winds overnight and morning around 30knots, often 34+kn for periods of time... Had difficulty putting in 3rd reef downwind overnight - too much wind, should have reefed sooner! Bonus is good speeds - 7-9knots (noon-to-noon distance was 171 n.ml.) but seas built up more, so boat getting regularly knocked over.

Mostly grey raincloud around, but not too much rain & occasional sun. Saw one dark, very large albatross this afternoon - all dark above, unlike others I've seen before. Possibly a juvenile Wandering Albatross?
Exciting thought! Plenty of other birds around at times.. . White-rumped and dark Storm Petrels and some other small birds, a well as the usual larger, mainly dark petrels and (yellow-nosed?) albatrosses I've seen before - but no Spectacled Petrels - too far from Tristan de Cunha now, maybe?

Slept several times over the day. Seem to be needing plenty of sleep - making up for lost sleep in CapeTown maybe? Then cooked a good meal before dark - feeling good for that!

Wind has swung to SSW and down to 20-25kn this evening, so on a close reach - with a current of 1.3kn for a time, now 0.3kn, pushing us East!

Running generator now - not needing to run very often because Kiss wind generator has been piling in the electrons nicely with all the wind - but radio (S.African M.M. Net and email&weather downloads) and autopilot use both make the batteries slowly go down. Solar panels not doing a lot with mainly overcast skies: 1-3A at most.

Found a minute lovely deep blue flying fish in the cockpit this evening...

1930GMT posn: 39 31'S, 23 11'E

Written by : Mike

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