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RTW Day 86 - to Capes of Good Hope/Agulhas - fog, seals, dolphins, ..and another

Tuesday 15th January, 2013

At 9am, wind was still strong, although less than last night, so had breakfast after my Patagonia Net contact and downloaded (weather) grib files. By 11am, wind was definitely down so got underway again, making fair speed in much-reduced swell.

2pm FOG! Cold and damp... Sun had been trying to get out from light cloud cover earlier and I was hoping for a nice sunny day... So much for that!

Saw a seal at the surface - was lying with one flipper out.. I was wondering if I was looking at a piece of floating kelp as we passed it by - and then it suddenly moved with a start, dived down, came back up, head looking my way - first seal I've seen in the deep ocean! Dark on top, white below. Later, I saw another!

Went to change course to put wind more on beam, so also let out genoa - speed far better. Had been looking at chart - Falklands Escarpment, just to north of here, about 30-40 miles, drops down to far greater depths than here - supposedly, a current heads east along it (Bob McD had alerted me to presence of it) - but presumably more in deeper water - so I decided to head more N to get to that edge and then I'll head more East to take advantage of it (If I find it, that is!) Presently have half a knot of E-flowing current anyway.

Looking around while on deck, spotted a machine screw on the starb'd side-deck, near to cockpit. Recognised it as off a boom fitting - but was surprised (and aghast!) to find it had actually come off the rod-kicker attachment to the boom... Lucky that it had fallen on deck and not overboard... On looking at the fitting, found the second screw of the pair was also nearly out - a disaster waiting to happen... just caught in the nick of time. (How many times has that been so on this trip so far? ... Too many!) Will need to keep an eye on them - have used Loctite ut will also add some sealant over their heads to tryto stop them unscrewing again. With the constant motion of the boat, everything that can works loose ....

Birds today: Usual 'resident'storm petrel ('Black-bellied!') - actually mainly white underbody, with dark stripe (often faint or missing) down its middle, difficult to see because it's normally so close to the sea or dashing around so very fast - and then its underneath is often in shadow or hidden. Also 'resident'white-chinned petrel: all-dark except for conspicuous yellow bill and small light area at its base - that varies in size with different birds..

As I was working on removing the wind display above the companionway, I was delighted to catch sight of several dolphins playing around us for a time - haven't seen any for quite a while. I'd decided it was time to investigate the misbehaving (in the main, non-existent!) wind displays. I thought that, by replacing the present 'master' unit with one that I knew had definitely been OK, I would achieve something positive.. Not so! I took several voltage readings on the transducer wires and have sent them, with other comments, to Raymarine UK - we'll see what they have to say!

I'm right on the path taken by the Vendee Globe racers as they head up the Atlantic to finish, so I'm still sending my position to the the Race Management team so the 'tail-enders' rounding the Horn now know to avoid me! In a couple of days, I should be well out of their way.

Wind has really died away now (speed down to just over 3kt!) and it has backed a lot - I'll change Fred's setting and get some sleep...

24hr DMG at 8pm local time (Buenos Aires time!) (2300GMT ): 77 n.ml.(Hove-to overnight) Cape Horn 822 n.ml. away (SW). E. Falkland: 426 n.ml. (WSW), S. Georgia: 412 n.ml. (SE). Cape Agulhas 2992n.ml.

For my positions, see:
www.svnereida.com - 'Travels' - "Where is 'Nereida'?"

Written by : Mike

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