Saturday 23rd February 2013
Up at 0400GMT / 7am - Making fair speed to SSE-SE, in E wind still, so that was good.... Gt albatross spotted as I checked on deck... Clearly yesterday's tactic of heading N to avoid headwinds hasn't worked out, although it means we shouldn't end up too far S now. Same situation exactly, with pressure down some more, at 9am, but with heay rain, followed by wind easing.... Beginning to think we must be S of Low, with this E wind, which means winds might veer, not back, as previously expected... or the Low might just dissipate, to leave nothing... (Not much wind at 10am, for sure...)
By time gribs were downloaded (with several connections needed - difficult today), I'd missed 6-7am time slot for good 40m radio connections to US E coast. Having been up very early yesterday and late into last night as well (with no naps in between!), I was tired - so it was back to my bunk for more sleep!
Radio propagation is clearly not good today - it took me lots of attempts, when trying to connect to send off my 1100GMT position & weather report and earlier, Robbie in Jacobsbaai had (unusually) found it impossible to hear Peter, in Jo'burg, well enough to chat on 20m. I had a good chat with Peter - he's trying to find out for me why South Africa is (yet again...) not transmitting the marine weather faxes on SSB from the Cape Naval radio station as it ought to be - it's a matter of safety at sea, basically. Not to have them available, so that mariners can see the current weather patterns in the S. Atlantic and S.W.Indian Oceans, is bad news and very irresponsible of someone in authority, to my mind.
2.30PM - Drifting around .. no wind...! A Wandering abatross and a white-chinned petrel both decided to rest in the sea nearby... A solitary Antarctic prion circled around really close by, for a time, as did a pair of black-bellied storm petrels... as I sat at the helm, trying to get us to stay headed roughly East after changing the sails around to put us on starboard tack, with the wind seeming to have changed direction somewhat.
Very moist air - almost fine drizzle - and fog in the near distance. Murky and grey... No sun today, as I'd hoped.
6pm Decided to cook a nice omelette to cheer up a miserable-looking day - lots of onion, some potato and lots of cheese ... mmm! Followed by some dark chocolate - I'm eking that out!
7pm Time for 40m band opening to US and also to SA stations - I have to say I'm enjoying the contacts - some familiar voices now, and usually a few new ones as well. Propagation not good to the US tonight (their morning!) so only spoke to Frank, N7EDK, in Portland, OR, and heard Eric, WA7LNH, in Tacoma, near Seattle - but he had a problem copying me. Otherwise, all S. African stations, with one in Maputo also coming in strongly - some about to have a braai (barbecue!), with lovely sunny weather there just now!
8.30pm Still waiting for wind.. still zero knots of boat speed!! .... "The Roaring Forties" ??? Not just now!! Just put my Eberspacher (hot air) heater on - it's feeling cold with the moist air.
Will curl up in my bunk shortly, with a book... Aubrey and Maturin were in Malta but have now just arrived in the Red Sea.... Good stories!
24hr DMG at 1100GMT: 66 n.ml.! (Actually much more, but headed N and then S) Cape Agulhas: 1129 n.ml. WP Sth of Cape Leeuwin (Australia): 3108 n.ml. (by Gt Circle)
For my positions, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"