Tuesday 26th February 2013
9am Sun getting out from thin cloud after a period of grey skies and rain soon after dawn. Indian Yellow-nosed albatross circling.
More contact with Australia - John, VK4DBJ, (of Pacific Seafarers' Net) came up on 14316 for a chat at 1200GMT, after I'd finished discussing weather with Graham, ZS2ABK of S.A.M.M. Net ... and I'm now making good contact with the WL2K Perth station for emailing (and occasionally with Java). The S.Africa stn has become almost impossible, despite many repeated attempts, even though, in theory, it should still be in good range. Clearly, the antennae are not pointing this way!
4pm Changed course in bright sunshine after looking at weather info - aiming for 41S by midnight GMT - hoping to avoid likely flukey area of no-wind overnight. Always a bit of a lottery! Passing N of Les Crozets - one of the 'ice gates' for the Vendee Globe was just to the E of here ..... named after the isands, Iles Crozets, 230 ml S of here. Seas got up again - after being down to just 2.5m by dawn this morning, they increased to 4-5m with stronger wind and are now still around 4m - makes life a bit 'bumpy' but not a problem since wind now is only 15-20kt and the seas are well spaced apart.
As I was releasing stays'l from pole and taking it over to starboard, I noticed small flock of about 20 Antarctic prions wheeling around - such pretty birds, even though they're only black, white and grey - they have such lovely markings on top (big black 'M' across their blue-grey wings) and are mostly pure white underneath, with a grey 'collar' and black and white markings over their eyes. I got some clear photos the other day, for once! They're not exactly tiny, like the storm petrels, but look it when the white-chinned petrel comes by - twice their size - and that bird looked small by comparison with the Indian Yellow-nosed albatross that flew by.... looks like an immature one, with white head and dark bill.
It's feeling a lot warmer - cabin temperature is 19C, with no heating on, and there's no condensation on the metal portlight frames (usually drips on bedding, making it forever damp!) Making another thick bean and vegetable soup with chunks of ham... always welcome once ready!
Up until tonight, when absolutely no hint of anyone was heard, I've been managing to contact M.M.S.Net on 14300 at 10.30pm (1930GMT) - Rick, WA1RKT, has usually been there to beam his antenna my way from New Hampshire and take a position report, since I can't make contact from here with the Pacific Seafarers' Net at their usual time of 0330GMT. Despite repeated calling, no contact was made.... Radio propagation hasn't been so good today, with lots of noise, and I'm getting that much further away, of course...
Near-full moon is shining through gaps in the broken cloud cover. We're sailing well on a beam reach in fair seas of 3-4m - making 7 knots SOG, headed NE towards 41S - wind, so far, is good - I'm hoping it stays that way overnight and doesn't die, nor turn to the SE.
24hr DMG at 1100GMT: 141 n.ml. - much better daily run! Cape Agulhas: 1422 n.ml.; Marion Island: 563 n.ml. (to SW); Iles Crozets :230 n.ml. (to S); WP Sth of Cape Leeuwin (Australia): 2848 n.ml. (by Gt Circle)
For my positions, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"