RTW Day 124 - Ambling in dying wind - but bright sunny morning with lots of birds again all day

Friday 22nd February 2013

A beautiful sunrise! Up early - well before sunrise - tend to wake up at first light without any alarm. Was writing log entry sitting at chart table well before 0300Z (6am local time , having put clock forward one hour with time zone change - now in GMT+3hr Baghdad/Kuwait/Nairobi/ time). Turned on radio and, on 14m, lovely reception from lots of stations in USA - N, S, E, W!! Excellent copy on several SA stations also from Jo'burg to Richards Bay to Cape Town. Nice to greet so many people at the start of a bright, sunny, calm day....

The good sunshine continued, with a clear blue sky right into the early afternoon, when a layer of cloud spread over - but that gave plenty of time for me to enjoy thoroughly the company, yet again, of several different albatross and other birds ... I'd reminded myself that the chocolate brown juveniles were, in fact, Wandering albatrosses - the immature Royals are not much different in general colouring from the adults - just with more dark markings, many of which disappear with time. It was clear that some of the albatross I've been seeing were almost certainly adult and immature Salvin's - similar to the Shy albatross with fine black edges to their underwings and a pale bill (darker in the young) with a very noticeable dark tip and immatures with light grey on their head extending to their dark back and also forming a partial 'collar' - the photos were really useful! Today, in the calm conditions, three Indian (as opposed to Atlantic) Yellow-nosed albatross, with white heads, were flying around for some time - more useful close -up views and one or two good photos. Atlantic petrel, couple of Arctic prions and several white-chinned petrels were also seen - as yesterday. I spent most of the morning either watching or photographing the birds and, later, deleting lots of useless shots and enlarging and naming the better ones on my laptop. All pleasantly relaxing - but in a dying wind...

(Later - 3.30pm - boat speed down to around 1-2 kt..)

Still having a problem getting good radio connection over most of the day to download grib files. Having made quite a bit of northing yesterday and overnight, to avoid possible light headwinds today and into tomorrow, it was now time to get further S again slowly, so that in 2-3 days' time, we wouldn't be caught too far N by the light winds of a High expected to extend S ahead of us....! I quite enjoy the challenge of trying to figure out where to head so as to be in the right place for the best wind ahead - problem being that we depend on forecasts being correct & often we can't always sail in the preferred direction - or fast enough, not being Vend

Written by : Mike

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