Wednesday 28th October

13:00 GMT – Forecast just SE 15/18 – lightening storm in distance, wind blowing good. Drifted a bit high so have to keep to 270° this morning to reach the west current. All good though, got some drift in the night so only have 11nm to go, that could take a while though. Fingers crossed.

17:30 GMT – Tough slow going holding close to course, just a couple of miles short of target but it’s moved 10 miles west, should be in a west current by end of day. Stormy morning, big storms clouds of rain and quite cold, not great weather for sunbathing for sure.

21:30 GMT – Tough slow going, all one armed rowing so very slow, it’s the only way to get close to course though. Some good news, I’ve stopped losing south at the oars, just when I stop I lose ground. The SE wind is strong and low on the compass. 7nm to go the new point where the west current starts, will take the last six hours rowing to get there at the pace I’m managing.

05:30 GMT – Well, I made it to the new target plus 3 miles. I thought I might be able to drift but no chance, para anchor in but I’m going slightly WNW. This means the current has moved a bit, I can’t be far away. You’ll remember last night the para anchor took me north so I’ve passed by the NNW and NW sections of the revolving current and into the WNW, just one section away. I should get that in the morning, can’t be far. The big problem all day was not losing anymore south. I’ve rowed with just my left arm most of the day which is a real grind. This is down to the strong SE wind, it’s low SE which is why it’s difficult to get under 270°. It was also a solid 18 knots this morning and 15/18 this afternoon. Also been very stormy all day, not seen the sun and I had a massive thunderstorm pass over this afternoon. It brought with it a wind direction change, perfect angle for 45 minutes, allowed me to get some of my south back then the wind returned to the same old steep angle and even took some south back. It’s very stormy outside now, huge black cloud filling the sky, the water looks menacing as well.

Next target is to get back under 10°. I’m back up here on the outer edge of the trades and need to get to 11° or so before things start to set properly. Mission control say there’s a chance of more east in the wind coming up so that’s good, it could go light though so nothing certain yet. Fingers crossed.

In other news:

Got up this morning and was getting breakfast ready, texting with Cheryl and I heard the unmistakable sound of a whale clearing it’s blow hole. Went straight out on deck. It’s only 2:30am local time so pitch black, cloud filling the sky covering the full moon. I didn’t think I’d see anything and was just about to come in when an Orca came to the surface 3 feet from the boat, took a breath and disappeared under the hull. I waited a while but he didn’t come back. Incredible how close he was, couldn’t mistake what he was either, his black and white body pattern stood out in the nav light. I was hoping I’d see him and the rest of his pod in the day but no sign. It has been rough all day so concentration is mainly on the swell.

Later in the day about 50 yards behind the boat a large , 100 maybe 150lb tuna jumped right out of the face of a big wave, looked like a huge flying fish for a second. Strange, not seen anything for ages and then three cool sightings in 24 hours.

I’ve now gone well west of 177°. 3° more and I’m the other side of the world.

Vanuatu us 950nm away, 19 days at 50 a day, it’s as tight as you can get.

I’ve also had to change maps in the GPS, out with the Polynesia in with New Caledonia and Fiji.

It appears I’ve been robbed at sea. I hear some expensive Ginger Nuts were purloined, I’m calling the cops!

That’s about it for today. Need an early night.

John

Out

Notes:

Tom: As always, great to hear from you. Glad Laura is feeling better, it must feel like forever for her. I’m doing my best on the positive front. Enjoy your hols.

Jean: No apparently not, although now you’ve flagged up the store it might be next time.

Rene: Thanks for checking in, Cheryl said your team did a great job at the show, chapeau indeed.

Brian: Cheryl and I cycled down the Danube and ended in Vienna, we had a great time, did some side trips up the valley, had our feet in icy streams full of fools gold, had bread and cheese lunch by a village fountain. It was a great vacation, we were both young, no kids, seems like two minutes and forever ago all at the same time.

Marie: I agree. I have great support, the team are the best.