RTW Day 176 - Slow progress - Light wind and sunshine, rainclouds in afternoon

Monday 15th April 2013 Another hour forward in time! Crossed 157:30E so now into GMT + 11hr time zone.

Excellent contact on 20m at 6:20am with US E coast and, unexpectedly, good contact with UK: Paul, M1DPU (mobile), near Norwich - not far from the sailmaker that made my headsails - said he'd pop in tomorrow for me and say "Hi!" to them.

8:30am Another bright, sunny morning - several birds seen - black-browed albatross, soaring on its fixed, slightly bent, long wings... bright yellow bill, white body dark upperwings and thick black edge to white underwings... white-rumped storm petrel.... a white-chinned petrel (confirmed ID with photos later today) - all much as last evening - so maybe the same birds that have stayed close by overnight?
A noticeably long, rounded, slow swell from the N, every 9 seconds.... probably from the Low heading into North Island, New Zealand now.

Time for breakfast... hope the milk opened y'day is still OK. With temperature up to over 20C, had to throw some milk away yesterday. Might have to start up the small fridge I brought along - but takes a lot of power and not very well insulated so reluctant to do so, if avoidable. Might try cooling milk using a damp cloth over it instead .... latent heat of evaporation works to give a cooling effect but doesn't always bring temperature down by quite enough!

Missed Pacific Seafarers Net at 2:30pm - was taking a short nap to make up on sleep after getting to bunk very late last night, while weatherfaxes downloaded beforehand, thinking I'd set alarm earlier - but clearly hadn't!

5pm Grey cloud spread over from SW and rain was falling from one big, spreading cloud nearby. Wind dropped right down so we were struggling to make way at 2-2.5 kt. Rolling around in a big 2.5-3m swell from N.... Sails often noisy from having gone slack as we rolled in the light, light wind... Then the rain spread over and rinsed off the deck and sails with a short, heavy downpour while our speed jumped up for a few minutes to around 6 kt under a temporarily veered wind.... Back on course at 4.5kt, dropping soon to 2.5kt once more, after cloud had passed by. Dull & grey ...

6pm Well, we're into highly changeable conditions under this region of rainclouds - wind keeps swinging around and wind is up and down all the time, as clouds pass over... often with mostly light rain. Light fading - sun set a short while ago.
Five petrels have been flying around all afternoon, several times resting in water close to boat, with pair of storm petrels nearby at times also.

9pm A SHIP seen on AIS screen!! Haven't seen one for ages on AIS, let alone in plain view... "Trans Future 7" (what a name!!) Headed in same direction, 19 miles off, at just under 20kt, whereas we're making under 5kt..
Rainclouds cleared away before last light had faded from sky after sunset. Wind has now picked up a little - making 5kt closehauled, on ENE course in N-NNE wind. Just saw to generator - topped up oil and checked actuator spindle was free to move - released nut that felt a bit tight, so would excite OK and charge batteries. All takes a time..

1am(!!).. A beautiful starry sky with cloud on horizon - lightning flickering..... A meteorite shot across towards the Southern Cross ... Was up on deck to ease the sheets and trim the sails so we could make a better speed on a beam reach - making ~3kt... Too nice not to stay and gaze around, enjoying the scene and the pleasant night air - not so cold now! (Sea temp up to 26C!!)

Was sent this link today - haven't seen the item myself (no Internet access out here!) but gather it refers to my rounding of SE Cape of Tasmania:

http://www.sail-world.com/CruisingAus/index.cfm?SEID=2&Nid=108293&SRCID=0&ntid=39&tickeruid=0&tickerCID=0

D.M.G. over 24hr to 9am LT: 93 n.ml. - slow yesterday. Hobart: 574 n.ml. (SW) ;Sydney: 380 n.ml. (WNW); New Zealand's North Cape: 769 n.ml. (081T)
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For my positions and track, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"
and/or:
http://www.exactearth.com/media-centre/recent-ship-tracks/tracking-nereida/

Written by : Mike

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