Sunday 27th September

It’s been hard but not all bad, here goes;

(All times are GMT)

07:30: Turned in, I had set my alarm for 10:25 after calculating how fast we were heading north.

09.30: Woke up before the alarm, I had indeed lost 1.25nm. I was back in the mile I had passed 4 times (01 31.000 South), out I go to see what’s happening. To my surprise what must have woke me up was the wind as it had started blowing from the east. I pulled in the para anchor and fiddle with the rudder and I get the boat to drift under west, perfect, if it holds I can get some rest. It doesn’t hold but the wind is weak and inconsistent.

10:30: I am drifting south though and sleep for another 2 hours.

13:00: Eventually drag myself out of bed, the wind has moved to the ESE/SE. It’s blowing us north and yes we are back in the mile I crossed four times. I get my porridge and coffee ready, I have to clear the decks of Albatross (more on that below) before I can start.

14:30: Eventually get to the oars and get going, it’s hard going across the ESE/SE wind. It takes 1.5 hours to get back to last night’s finish. However I have no choice, looks like the east in the forecast was just brief, not all day so I plod on.

17:00: As it gets light, I’m picking up speed as I can see the water and I’m able to do a bit of sculling. The sky is heavy with storm clouds in all directions. No idea where the weather is going to come from but looks like a slow day.

18:00: Now one of the rules down here is it never blows from the north. I know this is not true because I have had two brief encounters with north wind. The clouds are closing in and I’ve been rowing 3.5 hours. I’m going to have to stay out whatever happens, I tidy the deck and row again. That’s when I feel a poof of cool air on my chest, I’m rowing SW so that poof was from the NE. These things can fool you though and be very brief, however it happens again. 10 minutes later I’ve got a full on NE wind and bullet rain, scything down. The rule is “ any opportunity take advantage”. It’s raining hard rain that smooths the water. I’m sculling away well over three knots, I’ll take just one fast mile, I get that, then another. T he rain eventually eases, I’m soaked but too busy to worry. This thing has got the swell going my way too, might be another 1 or 2 miles in it. It could vanish as quickly as it came, keep at it, and I do. Eventually at 19:30 it’s pretty well east, abolished as a NE wind, I’m pooped and hungry so I decide to take a break. It’s the first time in days I’ve stopped rowing and not lost ground. At least I can make some food without fretting about how much south I’ve lost.

20:00: Head back out thinking I might get one last quick mile but it stays with me. It’s only light but the difference with the wind from a good quarter, light or otherwise is massive. I’m sculling away (getting quite good at sculling in choppier water) getting well over 3 knots. When I came back out I had 21nm in the bag, I need 19 from 8 hours to get to 40. I get 3 in the first, 3 in the second and all the time I’m thinking it’s got to evaporate, so on I go. I made two meals at the break so I don’t need stop again other than for water. By the time I get to 00:00 I only need 6 to get to 40. On I go. 01:00 some small dark clouds appear from the east and so does a big blow. It’s ok though as it helps and east is a good angle, plus the SW swell is still there. I think that’s the end of the NE wind but right up to 04:00 the wind moved between NE and west. It was a good afternoon

04:00: I’ve been drifting nicely for the last hour and a half, however we’ve just had a small squall and the wind angle has changed a bit. I’m a little worried just getting my head down but the easy wind is forecast to stay for another 6 hours before moving to ESE. The angle my go back when the squall is far enough away. I need to monitor things before falling asleep.

I’m also now 25nm away from the line I crossed 4 times. I’m hoping if drifting becomes impossible then I’ve moved far enough that the para anchor in the current may take me WSW. Fingers crossed. A day without re-rowing any ground and with a small drift start would be great especially as it’s supposed to be SE wind tomorrow which will be a grind.

So I did 45nm, course over ground for 24 hours 240°, well under Cairns and reduced from over 270° overnight.

Any other news:

Last night as I was cleaning one of my tupperware bowls, I tipped it out over the side and the ever increasing school of fish living under the boat appeared. Lots of rainbow runners have joined the throng. I really should have brought a hand line.

So I went out this morning to find 6 Albatross roosting on the boat. I thought one or two made a mess, 6, you wouldn’t believe how much mess they make. I had to get the disinfectant out the whole 9 yards. I got most of it washed down but it leaves a residue, thank goodness for bullet rain. The boats spick and span now. I’m leaving the navigational light off, l I know it’s to help shipping see me but none I’ve ever come across have ever been able to see it and they all see me on AIS. Hopefully that will keep them away as I don’t have time to scrub the boat down everyday.

HEALTH WARNING: Don’t assume this is a change and I’ll be back in the 50s, I was lucky today, took full advantage but lucky. The next few days will be interesting to see what unfolds. I do feel better after the good spell then the backward spell, at least I’ve made ground and know there will be the odd good day. One a week would be nice.

That’s it for now.

John

Out.

Notes:

I was late picking up some of these messages so sorry all.

Glen: Thanks for the cheers, hope you all had a good weekends, be cool to get the results.

Catherine: If the CC have never fished before and they hook a little 3/4 pound Tuna, I’d like to see that. They will get the shock of their life and be lucky to have any skin left on their hands (I assume it’s a hand line). I’ve not had may fish on deck for a while, I think the Tuna feed on round robins, like flying fish but they don’t fly.

Brain: Enjoy Singapore, thanks as always, my day is not the same without your message.

Here’s the jokes of the day;

What do you call a blind stag?
No eyed deer

What do you call a rocky outcrop in the Pacific with a blind stag on it?
No eyed deer atoll