Sunday 17th February 2013
8.15am Just finished spending some time on emails - best time of day to start that now is just after dawn... Finding good connections, downloading, answering, uploading... several connections needed in all, taking a lot of time - not always easy to make.
Cloudy sky - but clouds thinning and breaking up, so sun beginning to get out.
Went on deck to adjust Fred in between radio, with wind veering towards NW from WNW, and ended up spending quite a time watching an enormous Wandering albatross circling close by - around and around - got my camera and succeeded in getting some shots - at last! Different from yesterday's - a more mature one - slight smudgy/dark marks on back but almost white there, like rest of body, except for black marks on 'shoulders' ahead of its wings.
Sea fairly calm after light winds of last couple of days... Creeping along at 2-3 kt!! All very peaceful... Back to my bunk now to catch up on more sleep before breakfast!
11am Warm on deck! Went up to adjust Fred again. Wind is from NW, and the sun,while not quite out from behind thin clouds, is definitely making its presence felt - and air is coming from direction of Africa now. Was able to unfurl more sail and sheet in on mains'l, being on a broad reach, not DDW ('dead downwind') now, so increased our speed a touch, to over 4 kt... :-)
3pm Very pleasant afternoon - warm still (cabin 22C, sea 16C) - top fleeces all removed!! Wind had increased for a bit, but we're back down from 5.5 kt to just 3-3.5 kt again... One white-chinned petrel and one Atlantic petrel soaring nearby ... Sea nearly calm - swell W-WNW at just 2m, 10s period. Had usual radio contacts at 1pm, 1.30pm and also, briefly, at 2.30pm with Scott, N6ABC, on 'Beachhouse' - coming into False Bay Y.C. fom Knysna in 25-30kt SE'er!! ... Typical summer wind in Cape area... when the (frequent) SE'er blows, it really blows! Hoping friend Eileen is also getting close to FBYC - she was hoping to help a friend get his catamaran off the beach y'day morning, from where it had been blown on at Struisbaai, NE of Agulhas, a short while ago - or that was the plan ....for high water. Good thing it was a sandy beach and a catamaran, not a monohull.... much easier to float off... presume they'd kedged out to help move when tide came in.... hoping to hear good news!
Sent off position/weather report - good, fast connection on radio. Took advantage of gentle conditions to re-run running backstays - from being on & off winches so often, they slowly get twisted and were becoming very difficult to tension - all straightened out now. Side-tracked in midst of job firstly by one albatross - possibly young grey-faced - and then by much larger, young Great albatross slowly passing by - they always strike me as looking a bit weird with their white face and light bill contrasting so with their dark body and upperwings!
Checked shackle pins - one slightly loose... Loose rodkicker screw - thought for a short while I'd resolved problem of access to screw head - but although Allen key passes through rodkicker top boom connection hole, the angle is wrong & it just won't fit into screw head to enable it to be tightened ... pity! (STUPID design flaw... grrr!!) Wondering whether I can cut the Allen key down, to get it into screw head from the side. At present, even the short end is too long.... yet another project...!
All in all, today has been a really enjoyable one - warm sunshine has definitely helped, together with calm conditions - and so many different albatross! Had several very sociable radio chats, finishing on 40m with the S.Africa - U.S. W. coast connection just before sunset - several excellent, clear contacts in the group there - it was a pleasure to 'meet' so many people - and San Diego stations were clearer just after 1600Z, as I'd been told yesterday they would be.
The sun has just gone down, fluffy clouds have turned sunset pink, the moon is shining brightly high up in a big clearing in the thin clouds... we're slowly and quietly ambling along to the sound of rippling water in calm seas... "It's a wonderful world!"
24hr DMG at 1100GMT: 89 n.ml. - slow!! Cape Agulhas: 695 n.ml. WP Sth of Cape Leeuwin (Australia): 3532 n.ml. (by Gt Circle)
For my positions, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"