Currently 20:00 (Thursday)

I’m writing this early and you know that can’t be a good thing. I left you last night with the forecast just updated and all my plans went to pot. I did turn in and got some rest hoping the SSE wind would hold me against the current and push me a little NW.

Turns out I went north only, not enough east in the wind to push against the current. Woke up at about 10:00 GMT, so after 2 hours sleep, had gone 3 miles north. Only thing to do was to row. Two hours later I had made 0.5nm south, what a disaster. I decided to put out the dreaded para anchor and see if the current was ENE. I didn’t really have any other option, out it went, the current was and still is just north of east. At least I was going north slower, but west quite quickly. The wind should have gone to SSW already but hadn’t, this was 15:00, I’m still waiting now. So in essence I did row through the night just not how I planned it.

17:00 I decide things have eased so I will try again, this time two hours and I make 0.7nm, so yes an improvement but not good enough. You may ask is it worth two hours rowing to go just 0.5 or 0.7nm, well the answer is yes. You have to take into account I would have drifted north and east so that has been avoided for two hours. I will rest now and do the same in about an hour.

A few frustrations:

1) Why when there is help in the forecast it comes late, leaves early and is weaker than predicted and when it’s bad news is early, stays longer and is stronger than predicted.

2) The reason this is very frustrating is according to the current data 37nm from where the ECC (Equatorial Counter Current) eases and 49nm from where it ends, that’s just one day like Tuesday and I’d be out. 100nm south of that is the edge of the southern Equatorial Current that will help me west. So close but so far.

3) If I look out of the cabin, the conditions look calm, light wind, light swell and I should be able to row into them. It’s just a cruel twist of fate the SSE wind, NW swell and the ENE current combined to stop me dead in the water. I really need the wind from the west to help me go SE or the wind to go east to help fight the current. Even better the current to go ESE (sorry for all the directions you should draw it on a piece of paper it will be easier to picture).

4) There is south in the wind the next 4 days, could be the 31st before I get under 5 degrees and I was within 4nm yesterday. That could also mean another 60/90nm East. Aaaaagh !

I will update again before I submit this.

03:00 (Friday)

What a day, two more two hour rows since I last checked in, the last one got me no ground at all, just saved the drift. It’s a tough place to bring a rowing boat that’s for sure. The conditions look so benign when your on PA but once you are rowing it’s like being in a vice, the swell trying to push you NE, the current NE and the wind North. Now I’m not a wimpy rower by a long shot but I have been tested today that’s for sure. In one of Tony’s advice notes he said “if the weather turns against us in the ECC the loses could be disastrous “. I was so close to being out but I think disaster is close. I’m going to do 2 hours on 2 hours off through the night, limit my losses and see what the weather brings. If I have to do 2 on, 2 off until Saturday I’m not sure I have the strength, I’ve pretty much not had any meaningful sleep all week. One day at a time I guess.

In other news:

Had the surface feeding fish again this morning, I need to work out what they are as it’s driving me crazy.

I also have quite a collection of fish under the boat, before my next row, I might pop my head in and see if I can film them.

As well as my Sargent Majors I now have some Wrasse and a couple of fish I don’t recognise, they like it when I put the PA in, for some reason they hang about he rope.

The phone (which I only use for collecting email) made an emergency call on its own today. I switched on the phone and wifi router at the same time, the router auto dials. Some how the iridium SOS function was activated. Spoke to a very nice lady who was concerned for my well being. Should have asked her to send a rowing buddy.
That’s it for today.

John

Out

Notes:

The wrights: I’m about 250nm away from Kirbati, too close.

Jean: Does look cool on the map, if I wasn’t trying to do non stop I would drop in.

Brian: Agreed again on Bolt, no cheats please. Not sure why, this was my favourite. Two cows in a field. First cow says: are you worried about getting mad cow disease?. Second cow says: why would that bother me? ….I’m a tractor!!