I’ll start with something light hearted as there’s not much good news.

I now have two Alberts roosting on the boat. Not too happy as they poop and it’s not in an easy place to clean. The other thing is the wind, swell and current are skewing the boat about which means they nearly fall off the boat. They do a little tap dance and somehow hang on (this skewing makes it difficult to type by the way).

It’s breakfast on the 26th, I’m writing this now as I’m not sure if I will have time later. Things are tightening, the speed I found yesterday is gone, the wind is from the east pushing me into the current and although the current is only 1.5 to 1.2 in the forecast, I’d don’t believe it. I must be going through a stronger patch or it makes no sense.

The forecast is: (currently 16:00)

26th:
09.00 NE less than 6,
12:00 N less than 6 (should be getting this now but it’s east and stronger)
21:00 ENE less than 6

27th:
00:00 SE less than 6
03:00 S less than 6
15:00 S 6-9

28th:
00:00 SW 6-9
09:00 S 6-9
12:00 SW 6

I’m currently 95nm to the southern edge of the current, should have been 75nm by 04:00 tonight (6pm local) leaving just two days to get the rest of the way. I should still be close to crossing out of 5° north but it will be close.

My problem is the south wind over night. If I rest as normal I will go north and with the current NE, I can’t afford to go north at all. The last three days could get washed away in no time and I would have to cross the current all over again. The only way to combat the light southerly wind is to row into it. This would mean rowing over 24 hours straight. I started at 12:30 GMT this morning. I will probably sacrifice some rowing time this afternoon and try to rest so I can row through the night. Even at one knot it’s better than going north.

Of bigger concern is the S 6-9 from tomorrow morning. If it’s 6 then I can row into it, if it’s 9 and there is a swell with it and the current I stand no chance. I can’t think of anything to combat this other than the para anchor and hope to go due east, then rest and take whatever opportunity to go south there is. My only saving grace here is when planning to cross the current last week I expected to enter it at about 57°. I actually set off south at 59° so that’s 120nm better than expected. I also expected to cross at about 225° (SE) and so far have made due south, this is another 100/120nm. So while this sounds like I have slack to play with all these miles east have to be re rowed.

I need to get through tonight and hope the forecast is wrong. I only got two days forecast yesterday and thought it was funny. I suspect it was Tony holding back hoping the same thing. It is possible, yesterday the forecast said I would be getting NNW now but it’s east so I don’t hold out much hope.

I really think this is make or break time, add another 10 days on to the trip and I’m arriving in December, in which case I’m out of time. Fingers crossed.

05:30 (Thursday)

Well what a tough day, low mileage grind. I took a rest this afternoon, an accumulated hour of breaks and gave up an hours rowing. So Wednesday only had 12 hours at the oars. I rowed on until 05:00 so that kind of makes up for it but that’s in Thursday. Just got the weather from Tony and what do you know, it’s all changed. Light SSE tonight, 12:00 light SSW then from 21:00 SSW 6-9, none of it good. Also the current is ENE, now this explains why today was so tough. I knew it was but in yesterday’s forecast it was just east, the current model we get the information from is always a day old, as you can’t forecast currents, it shows the latest real current situation.

So the dilemma, row now to stop the SSE wind pushing me NNW, turn in and get up to fight the SSW wind which will push me NE (same as current), can’t use PA as that will take me ENE.

My money is on the second, if I loose a mile north but gain some west I’m even. If I go NE I loose both ways.

I’m about 60nm from escaping the equatorial counter current, just hope I get there. I’m 4 miles away from going under 5 degrees, so other than more bad weather I’m in ok shape.

In other news:

Rowed through the surface feeding fish tonight, there must be 1000s if not 10s of 1000s, the birds all go crazy as well, a proper feeding frenzy.

I’m 60 miles north of Fanning Island , hopefully the girls can find an image of it, I’ll try not to stop.

For now

John

Out

Notes:

Mike: I agree, just a 400m track is all you need. I used to jump the fence of an old college that had a grass track. Just about measuring performance. As always, glad you were right and full of himself was wrong. I remember opening day at Woodburn Road, we were all ecstatic that we had tartan in Sheffield.

Brian: Grumpy loved the jokes, might just have let the cat out of the bag! Oops.

Delcey: Thanks for the support, careful though amazing I’m not sure.

Val: One Ocean at a time Val, I’ll need a long lay down in a dark room after this.

Natasha: Glad you and Emma had a good time. Georgie is committed to whatever she does, she’ll do great things one day.