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RTW Day 138 - pleasant downwind sailing

Friday 8th March 2013

10:30am Still making good eastward progress at 5-6+ knots in NW wind, with swell increased to 3-4m from 2m of yesterday.. A solitary Atlantic petrel has been swooping about under the grey, overcast sky since dawn this morning - saw one last evening - probably the same one. .. Occasional spits of rain, sea temp down to 15C so air and cabin feeling cold now, despite fleeces - need to add another layer, I think! Went up on deck to adjust course, with slight windshift, and check on wind direction from ripplies on sea surface, using ship's compass. A majestic , mature, Wandering albatross glided by, peering down at me inquisitively, dwarfing a pair of white-chinned petrels just arrived.

We're only just over 300 ml NNE ml of Ile Kerguelen and just over 400 ml SSW of the tiny islands of St Paul and Amsterdam and the birds I've been seeing over these last few days probably breed there - they're all uninhabited, except for the scientific team in the French base on Kerguelen.

I was up early, around dawn, to check on long-path 40m radio contact with San Diego, which was good, although lot of static on frequency - quickly back to my bunk for some more sleep before making contact with US E.Coast at 0300Z (too long after my sunrise, I think- they had problem copying me, although I heard several of them clearly) and then checked in with Pacific Seafarers' Net on 20m at 0330Z(8:30 am) - good contact with Randy, KH6RC, in Hawaii. Have had to spend a very long time before finally managing to download emails and grib files for weather info - propagation (or sometimes antenna orientation, I suspect) not good, despite tables indicating good chance of contacts at certain times.

12:30pm Sun has got out nicely in clear blue sky, as cloud layer clears away to the NE. A few Antarctic prions have arrived to swoop about the boat - never far away. Downloading a current weatherfax from Wiluna, Australia which shows the India Ocean 1035 hPa High spreading all across the Indian Ocean to N, with the usual deep Southern Ocean Lows, with their tightly-packed isobars showing strong winds, heading E below us - their Fronts will pass over us, hopefully not too strongly. It's also showing slack air now, even light headwinds, across the Great Australian Bight, S of Australia, which will cause me a problem if still like that when I reach there. As it is, on Sunday, the forecast is for very light winds here also, as the High sends a ridge down this way - hopefully, short-lived.

6:35 pm (1335z) - Sunset... days seem to disappear, with far too much time spent trying to connect for emails & weather (grib) files in limited 'windows' - great pity satphone is down. On a very broad reach now, with wind from WNW and backing slowly - nearly DDW, goosewinged, of course. Still not really adjusted to local time.. tend to look at GMT, so badly out of sync - was surprised to see the sun close to setting! No chance of seeing the comet Panstarrs - cloud on horizon... Spoke to Graham, ZS2ABK on SAMM Net at 1145Z and then had a chat with John, VK4DBJ - propagation on 20m into Australia around midday GMT (5pm LT) seems to be excellent from here just now.

Four Atlantic petrels and one prion circling and swooping past...

Looking at pipework on engine - trying to follow cooling water pipe from seawater pump to heat exchanger and circuit beyond - not looking simple, especially with pipes leading off to cabin fan heater and hot water tank - both heated by cooling water pipes, although they must be on far (hot) side of circuit. Still debating feasibility of removing hose onto heat exchanger to find bits of impellor - not yet discovered if it's really necessary - maybe the bits can simply flush through the sytem - or will they get caught in pipework beyond the exchanger....?

DMG: 132 n.ml. ...near-decent distance run, for a change! C.Agulhas: 2480 n.ml.; C.Leeuwin WP: 1794 n.ml. Ile Kerguelen: 329 n.ml. (197T) Ile Amsterdam: 412 n.ml. (030T)
For my positions, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"

Written by : Mike

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