RTW Day 149 - Good speed early on ... slow by nightfall

Tuesday 19th March 2013

Decided to tie in third reef just after midnight last night... ...fine rain, tossed around a lot in big swell, dark.. wind well up and concerned it might increase more.. making 6.4kt after sail reduced... Changed course to 065T to pre-empt wind expected to back into SW with Front passing over.! Felt more comortable and got to my bunk for short sleep before up again to find wind had backed a lot - gybed mains'l in dark, well before dawn ... onto starb'd tack... Hint of first light in E as finished in slight rain and got back to bunk for another short sleep... Up again two hours later - Fred in charge - albatross came gliding by as I adjusted Fred to put wind abaft the beam in SSW wind ... Big seas and strong wind, ENE course ...

Sun tried to get out a few times over the mainly overcast day but rarely managed it for long until late afternoon, when bright sun for a short time... Long enough to get a good look at the many petrels and prions wheeling around... In bright sunlight and against dark background of sea surface, showed the upper parts of possibly soft-plumaged petrels - but problem is the completely dark, not grey, breast and dark tail beneath... Still need photos, but was impossible to get good enough ones, they move so very fast and the boat was being tossed around a lot in the big seas running.... Did get excellent photos of a big brown skua that came very close - looked as though it wanted to land and came so slowly that a few decent photos weren't too difficult to take...

By 4pm, pressure was well up - to over 1020 and climbing, and wind was very slowly dying - so speed is now well down again. We'd made a fairly good 24hr distance up to 1100GMT, but that won't be repeated tomorrow, for sure!

Spent some time disposing of unpleasant, rotten potatoes... a lovely job! :-( Going through all remaining 'fresh' items - not so fresh any more!! Had last of the eggs last night - threw most away as looking rather suspect, but one was fine.

Still making contact early morning and evening with US W and E coasts, also Australia and S.Africa - working the 'grey-line around sunrise/sunset for the US contact - fascinating, but needing regular change of timing to get good results - solar flare not helping this morning but often excellent signals sent and received. Was nice to make S.African contacts again tonight, despite some awful noise on frequency - thought I'd 'lost' them!

Gone midnight - wind has clearly backed quite a bit, to WSW-W (will need to gybe the mains'l back to starb'd again soon and pole out headsail to go downwind..) and we're only making 2.5 kt in very light wind now - pressure up to 1025 hPa, cabin temp 13C .... brrr!! (Had to pull out a vacuum-packed, dry, thick fleece top earlier - the nice one I'd been wearing got seawater splashed onto it - so was feeling perpetually damp... Nothing seems to dry in these cold temperatures - my pillows and bedding feel really damp to the touch.)

DMG at 1100 GMT: 134 n.ml. C. Leeuwin: 897 n.ml.; WP due S of C. Leeuwin : 653 n.ml: King Island (entrance to Bass Strait): 1946 n.ml. ; SE Cape of Tasmania: 2003 n.ml.
For my positions, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"

Written by : Mike

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