Mon/Tues 19/20th October

Mon 19th & Tues 20th October (Days 10 & 11) Lots of drifting with current... whipping..one lost bird...chute flown... drogue checked out... one poor puffer...

Several useful jobs done:
I decided to protect chafe area on 1st reef line by whipping it with strong twine - I'll have to keep an eye on that & maybe replace the whipping regularly.
Flew 'chute - good thing since furling line had got quite tangled from the abortive attempt to fly it off Puerto Calero... I did it in calm conditions on Monday,to try it out and see how it compared with genoa - it didn't give as good a speed as genoa but at least I've flown it and tested how it all works - and I know it now furls fine. Seeing a dark grey cloud ahead, I stowed it quickly...!
Saw tuna jumping (being chased) Mon afternoon...so let out line on rod....Much later, heard it running out... a beautiful deep blue and black good-sized 'spiny' puffer fish with bright white underside was reeled in ... poor thing - I tried to remove the hook from its mouth to release it - really difficult - it had puffed itself up into the size of a football!
A bird that flew onto boat on Sunday afternoon was still on board....but I made it fly off late Monday afternoon, there being no future for it on board 'Nereida' . Looked as though from dry grasslands (savannah?) but colour apart, I'd have said it was like a small heron with its long legs, big feet and long, dark, pointed beak, but it had green-yellow legs and feet, was striated brown & cream, with dark area on top of its head and a yellow line on each 'shoulder'. When disturbed, it held its head up high, neck stretched and thin, beak pointing up... looked camouflaged well for dry, yellow grassy places. I hope it made it to the coast.... Guinea-Bissau was 300 mls away... but we were headed even deeper into the Atlantic..

Winds have again been variable... from E/ENE 3 to WNW 1-2 - we averaged 1 kn over 7 hrs from noon Monday .... WITH a favourable current of 0.6kn helping!! In fact, without that favourable current we'd have gone NOWHERE Monday! But by lots of handsteering, I managed to keep us heading in roughly the right direction. I spent most of Monday afternoon & evening in the cockpit with 4-5 knot winds, also overnight and early Tuesday when, with wind shifting to ENE2 from NNE we gybed... Taurus & the Pleiades were high up in a DARK sky.....Dawn was beautiful and calm...clear sky above... Then, soon after 0730, wind picked up to 12knots... & suddenly we were moving... making over 5 kn.... but now with speed reduced by a foul current of half a knot... an unexpected and sudden change.

By 9am, it had died again... but a grey cloud started developing overhead .. and gave us wind... - we picked up speed again .. and kept a reasonable speed for rest of day until early evening when it dropped well off.

In the early evening, I came on deck, hearing the throb of an engine as I was sewing on the drogue bag attachment. I spotted a boat not far away... on a roughly parallel course and not going much faster... NOT a fishing boat... and not on AIS,... It had a red, pointed, fast-looking hull & had me concerned - especially when it then seemed to be getting closer.. but it kept on going harmlessly as night fell... By which time I'd nicely flaked the Jordan series drogue into its bag, having sewn tape onto the bag for securing it to a newly fixed strong point in the cockpit locker (electric drills are so useful on a boat!!). I also checked out my procedure for deploying it in nasty conditions, as a result of which it now has a new home, and I've put the chain (end weight) into a bucket for ease of handling. A very useful job done this aftenoon!

This evening saw a lovely new crescent moon as the sun set..but it soon went down ... leaving a DARK sky... but later full of stars...

DMG to noon Monday: 50 M!! (3mls in 5hrs yesterday evening and generally light winds of only 5-8 knots overnight and morning.
DMG Tuesday: 58M (reflecting light winds again overnight and morning...)
We're back to 3.4 kn boatspeed, 3.0 kn SOG tonight.... making for another poor DMG tomorrow. But at least we ARE mainly moving - better than I was expecting - I'm trying to head us into the less light winds, based on grib files - not always the most reliable information! And I'm also looking ahead to crossing into the S. Atlantic & considering where is the best position, with regard to winds, to head south there.

Written by : Mike

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