Thursday 28th February 2013 Into a new Time Zone on passing 52:30W... now GMT + 4hr
Midday Blue sky with just a little cloud, warm sunshine, sailing nicely at over 6kt across a sparkling, unusually benign, Southern Ocean, on course due East towards Tasmania, presently just past due N of the Crozet islands, with Kerguelen 780 ml to SE.... With 10-15kt wind, just abaft the beam, and in seas slightly up on earlier 2m, we gently lift up and over as each wave comes by... And to cap it all, tomorrow, appropriately the first of a new month, we should pass our halfway mark, 056:37.8E - the exact opposite longitude, on the opposite side of the world in the Southern hemisphere, from the Causeway Dock, opposite the Empress Hotel and close by the Parliament building, in Victoria Harbour, B.C., Canada - where I started this attempt on 22nd October.... I'm thinking of having a little celebration tomorrow when we've passed from 056:37E to 056:38E, around midday ...... we'll have sailed nonstop solo halfway around the world via Cape Horn!
Life feels good as I sip my fresh coffee while enjoying crispbread with some home-made aged marmalade (my favourite!), given to me by a friend just before I left. When I go up on deck, I know there'll be the usual company of four white-chinned petrels (I've lost count of how long they've been with us!), possibly some pretty prions and, if not there now, then shortly after, one or more albatross will soar nearby - possibly a magnificent Great albatross - Wandering or Royal, maybe a chocolate-brown, white-faced juvenile, or perhaps a smaller Yellow-nosed albatross... How lucky and privileged can one person be to have all this to enjoy? It's definitely worth the payment of having to weather the occasional Southern Ocean strong conditions!!
We're in High pressure right now but the wind gods, so far, have been kind and it looks possible that over several days I'll follow the High as it moves E, keeping these good, mainly NW winds if I stay between 41-43S at roughly this speed - fingers tightly crossed! Even the Cold Front, now to our W and moving this way, shouldn't really affect us, we being this close to the Indian Ocean High....
8.30pm (1630GMT) The waning near-full moon is just rising, yellow, out of a line of cloud along the eastern horizon and the cloud of this afternoon has cleared away completely overhead to give lots of bright stars ...Bright Jupiter in Taurus and bright Sirius in Canis Major are on opposite sides from Orion - who, as usual in these parts, is doing a headstand. The Southern Cross is unmistakable & high up ... it's going to be a lovely night!
I'd gone on deck, after chatting on the radio for a time to US and S.African contacts, to adjust Fred so we keep heading due E. The generally NW wind keeps shifting slightly, so I have to keep an eye on our heading. Conditions on the radio band were horrible tonight - so much noise on frequency it was really difficult to copy any but the strongest of stations. ... but I did gather that one contact I made was calling from Moscow! Hopefully band conditions will improve. This morning 40m was far better and 20m to Australia early this afternoon was excellent. I
I'd eaten beforehand while there was still daylight to cook by - ham and eggs with fried onion and potato. When the swell is way down, as now, it's so much easier to move about on board. It was so much warmer over today (25C in the cabin!) that I was forced to discard my top and lower thick fleeces... I was stifling!
I'm still seeing Atlantic petrels occasionally, along with the regular birds.
24hr DMG at 1100GMT: 124 n.ml. Cape Agulhas: 1645 n.ml.; Marion Island: 780 n.ml. (238T); Iles Crozet : 332 n.ml. (207T); Ile Kerguelen: 780 n.ml. (131T) WP Sth of Cape Leeuwin (Australia): 2660 n.ml. (by Gt Circle) Halfway point at 056:37.8E : 115 n.ml. ... tomorrow, hopefully!
For my positions, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"