Monday 4th February, 2013
Dull, cold, grey day, no sun, swell down to 2m for most of day .... peaceful... ambling along very slowly in light wind.... Feel rather as though we're in limbo... suspended in a grey world of silent, gentle rocking motion .... Heading due E, dead downwind, still with a helpful NE-flowing current - beginnings of Benguela current that flows up the coast of Africa. Pressure well up at 1028 hPa...and for several more days yet. Cold Front expected overnight, into tomorrow, bringing stronger WNW-NW wind, followed by another lull possibly.
3 Atlantic petrels flying about and a Great shearwater lazily soaring close to the water.. the usual companions...! Brief visit by storm petrel... Two Sooty albatross later in the day - first a young one looking very grey but with dark head & black bill (but not light enough grey on back or underwings to be a Light-mantled albatross, as I wondered initially)... Later a mature, all-dark one - came really close to cockpit - I got an excellent view!! Tried taking photos of storm petrel and young Sooty albatross which stayed circling boat for a time....
Good news on the winch ... Lifted the central spindle out without a problem - as I'd suspected, a spring behind one of the pawls had come adrift .... It was now lodged , squashed flat, in behind the other pawl of the pair... Had scored the steel surface a bit in being dragged across from its original position... Got another spring from my spares and replaced it, after gently sanding the spindle surface, hoping to smooth it where scored... Plenty of grease added to pawls and surface before replacing spindle. Nice to hear it purring gently when I turned it with the winch handle each way afterwards!!
While leading spinnaker halyard (acting as genoa pole uphaul) back to cockpit in place of unuseable first reefline, spotted screw coming loose in support for stays'l pole on mast - hurriedly tightened!
Put beans and split peas into soak overnight, ready for a thick stew/soup tomorrow. Tonight it was a big omelette with ham and gently fried, diced potatoes and chopped onions, with some sweetcorn, followed by pineapple and thick cream (Aussie UHT - bought in Tasmania...) - felt quite decadent!
Spent less time over today trying to make radio contact for weather and emailing ... Conditions are so settled , there's not the urgency, so I relaxed andl saved battery power until this evening when I need the contact to download up-to-date gribs. Managed one good contact with S. Africa but still too often it's just a handshake and no more - I get better contact with far off stations - Nova Scotia, Texas and Java!
Had usual good chat last night & tonight with Geoff on 'Curare' (arrived in Puerto Williams, Chile, on Beagle Channel, today) and Steve on 'Silas Crosby' (making from Valdivia for the Chilean Juan Fernandez islands in S. Pacific - one of them is Robinson Crusoe's island...!!) One of the good things about radio, rather than telephone, is the joint conversations that are possible, with more than two people taking part. Also had a couple of 'phone patches' organised via MMSNet on 14300 kHz last night - many thanks to Rick, WA1RKT, for that. Amazing to be able to speak to friends on their telephone via my radio when I'm out here in the middle of the ocean, many miles from land...
Waiting to hear J-P on 'Virbac Paprec' has got in safely with no keel - 100mls away, last I heard. Glad to hearJavier Sanso is safe after Acciona capsized (why??) ... and Tanguy De L (Init.-coeur), unlucky with major rudder/keel damage - so close to finish - hope he also finishes safely...
24hr DMG at 11pm local time (2300GMT): 100 n.ml.(SLOW today in light wind) Cape Agulhas: 898 n.ml. Cape of Good Hope: 871 n.ml. ... Hoping to round those next weekend... My waypoint, well S of C. Agulhas: 610 n. ml.
For my positions, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"