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RTW Day 158 - Seas and wind lessen ... white-headed petrel visits

k6Thursday 28th March 2013

Another dull, cloudy day, with trough passing over, but seas much less, at 3-4m, so we're being tossed around far less frequently - but it's still happening!

Looking over options for calm place in Tassie to stop for repairs... Either anchor in convenient, shallow area off Recherche Bay or take buoy, further up D'Entrecasteaux Channel, in Port Esperance, at Dover... Each has its advantages and drawbacks! No working windlass creates a problem when raising anchor, as it was in SF Bay (not insurmountable, but it was nice to have lots of space there), and picking up a buoy under sail, with addition of current due to nearby river and/or possible Springs tide running, would test my sailing and boat-hook handling skills to the full!!

Good contact with US E. coast close to sunrise - and also, unexpectedly, with Dave, GW3XHG, in Wales - quite good copy, in fact! Yesterday, had fair copy on Steve, G4BVB, in England ... so my signal is clearly making it to the UK! The wonder of radio!!

4pm Went up to check on deck for wind direction, swell and cloud - and found a lovely and very distinctive White-headed petrel swooping around the boat- so different from the others with white body, head and tail, dark under-wings, dark grey upper-wings with 'M' across, pale grey back, dark bill and eye-patch. From a distance, white and dark patterning looks rather like that of one of the smaller albatrosses (or mollymawks, as they're also known) - but wing length relative to body size is wrong, as is flight behaviour. The sun suddenly appeared in a blue patch of sky.. sun getting low now, since not long to sunset..... but the blue patch was soon left behind and we were back under grey sky with hint of light rain.... Twenty minutes later... another patch of blue .. followed again by grey overcast....grey raincloud layer must be thin and broken... Still plenty of white horses but swell still down to only 3-4m every 8-10 sec - plenty of smaller waves making grey sea surface look quite rough.

Dug around for reserves of cereal and also found some dried peas for soup... Also UHT milk. Had a very tasty dinner tonight - had slowly fried some onion while I decided what to add in to it... Was about to plump for a thick slice of ham with vegetables when came across a tin of chunky chicken in white sauce (M&S!) ... had also fancied some celery heart - so put all together and heated up gently - lovely - made a good change... enough for tomorrow as well.

Lots of radio chat again around and after sunset - especially to the "VK6 Net' - around Perth/Fremantle, mainly- they're having lovely sunshine just now! Later to Seattle and San Diego, with some more Aussie stations.

Have just asked for some more detailed short term grib files - to confirm what is expected tomorrow and next day. Will decide on course to steer when have a better idea of what is expected by way of imminent strong winds and swell - or not... Still very much looking ahead to trying to avoid a problem with light winds of High coming soon.

DMG at 1100 GMT: 136 n.ml. C. Leeuwin: 632 n.ml. (NW); King Island (entrance to Bass Strait): 892 n.ml. ; SE Cape of Tasmania: 939 n.ml.
For my positions, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"

Written by : Mike

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