Sunday 22nd November

13:30 GMT – Forecast – SE all day, 9/12/15/18, a bit of ESE at the end of the day. Would be good if the ESE does turn up and the SE is good. I suspect as I’ve drifted high it’s still a bit SE/SSE so it will be a grind today. Got to try and keep on course today so tomorrow when I pass the island I’m not too far north as I don’t want to be waisting energy. Just 70nm to go and I’ll be in the coral sea, not looking back then, no where to stop until Australia.

18:00 GMT – Pretty slow going this morning, around 2 knots but it’s not super hard, just the wind angle is low and there’s no help from current or swell. It could be worse so I’ll plod on as fast as possible without making my back worse. It has improved a little this morning, no more pain killers, just a steady sensible approach. I think I should get to half way through the islands today, meaning I should be heading out to open ocean again tomorrow evening.

Daybreak was nice after another starry row and the orange back drop to a cloudy horizon was quite picturesque. I couldn’t see the volcano as it was shrouded in cloud and then I just made out its base as I came in.

The new routine is great, no need to cook as much which saves time, banana bread and mars bar at this break, ginger nuts and coffee earlier, lovely and I got to eat my porridge while at the oars. Great start.

07:00 GMT – The slow going continued, looked like a 36, 37nm day. This stretch between the islands is a bit strange because it’s open ocean but obviously affected by the islands. I knew I just had to grind on. The wind still SE, picked up a bit of speed and pushed me north a bit. What I’ve been interested in today is in a normal SE wind, can I make 260° which is the direct bearing for Cairns once I reach the corner. Up to 16, 17 knots the answer is yes, depending on currents etc. over that 270° is hard to hold. Anyway I’m trundling along at about two knots and about 22:00 the wind starts to move a bit ESE, that wasn’t supposed happen until 03:00. It wasn’t strong and it wasn’t consistent but it helped keep my course if not with speed. 23:00 it moved full ESE and picked up a bit, still I was only doing just over two knots. Went in at 00:00, out 10 minutes later and it was a bit stronger again. I did get an improvement in speed but not enough to get me to 40nm. 02:00 I got some east wind which made things very easy and now I was moving along, the wind picked up and kept blowing from the east and I’m sure there was some ENE as well. I’m now motoring along, all of a sudden this dead water has woken up and I’m doing 3 knots, shame it came so late, didn’t quite make forty but it felt good to have the miles fall away that’s for sure.

I’ve changed my routine today and rowed 04:00 to 05:30, an extra half hour and I’ll start half an hour later in the morning as I’m out of sink with the sun. In that hour and a half I rowed just over 4nm so that’s a good start. We’re drifting on course and at ok speed. The corner of Espiritou Santo that I’m heading for is 37nm away at the moment, with luck, even if it’s with tomorrow’s 4 to 5:30 miles I should be drifting in open ocean, next stop Cairns.

So, mileage a disappointment but it is what was out there, course, great, prospects for tomorrow, great to.

In other news:

My back has been ok today, I’ve struggled with a few things but rowing was ok and it hasn’t got worse, so I think it will mend over the next week or so if I’m careful.

Cairns is 1249nm away, I’ll be close to going under 1200 tomorrow but will just fall short I think.

Can’t tell you what a relief it is to be eating dry food again, had a great day. I also feel like the resupply was the beginning of the end, feels like a fresh start.

Been cloudy all day, we had a perfect day yesterday for the resupply, hope they posted some volcano pics, you would have rowed past without knowing it was there today.

Lost a crown today unfortunately, Dr V’s dentistry was outstanding as usual, looks like my dodgy tooth it was attached to gave up, no pain so all is well.

Started cleaning the boat tonight, one locker a day, I need to make sure there no mold anywhere, six months is a lot of damp.

I also had some new food dishes and water bottles with the resupply, when you make your kit list and buy the kit, it’s all shiny and new, you don’t think after using 3 bowls for all your meals for six months what state they’ll be in. The water bottles, easy clean, are anything else when you don’t have a dish washer.

Think that’s it for today, looking forward to tomorrow, hopefully we can look at arrival dates tomorrow evening.

John

Out

Notes:

Dave: Scrawny it is, not that I get emotional easily but yesterday after they left and I was sat eating the cornflakes I realised how simple it is to be happy, felt like a good day.

Paul: You guys were the highlight of the last six months, it was great to meet you and brilliant of you to help out. It may only be a few packets of biscuits and a cold can of ginger ale but I’ve felt renewed since yesterday, Australia is just 30 some days away.

Steve: We couldn’t have don’t it in a swell that big, it was reasonably calm yesterday, Tony had everything double, wraped in bin bags but in small parcels too. He handed them over one at a time. We just took our time.

Simon: Glad you enjoyed it Simon, good to write positive stuff again. Not as much traffic out here as the M6, why would anyone want to go to Manchester? (That’s a Sheffield thing).

Peter: Hope the eye is ok, it’s the simple things Peter, always is, the coffee under the stars this morning was awesome (I know that’s an over use word but it’s appropriate here). No pressure on the arrival thing, I know you mentioned it and would be good to see you but I don’t want to wreck anyone’s Christmas.

Grumpy: What are they like Mike, they can be unbeatable but just don’t seem to turn in solid performances one after another.

Mike T: It’s all good now Mike. It’s hard heading for a single point when the weather has other ideas, I ended up close and the guys were brilliant. Tomorrow, open ocean, nowhere to stop until the big island.

Brian: I’ll try not to be fat, I have pigged out today though. Thanks Brian, you’re right, what a setting, it’s like it was planned.

Jean: Thanks Jean, not much longer to put up with the blog hopefully.

Glenn: Thanks mate, I’m a happy boy today, lap three done, last lap bell rings tomorrow!

Patrick: Thanks Patrick, I am using it, just not as much as you’d like, not easy covered in sun cream and salt. Feeling better though.