1 December 2013

In the late afternoon yesterday I saw a very strange creature. We were lying becalmed and I was about to call Alyson on the satphone. I happened to glance over the side and saw what looked at first like a huge bloated worm. It was about two feet long and about six inches in diameter with blunt rounded ends. It was almost translucent and had various colours running through but the dominant colour was a lilac purpleish tinge. It looked so fragile and flimsy that if I had tried to pick it up it would have fallen apart between my fingers. It reminded me of the type of plankton you see under a microscope but of a giant size. A strange beast to drift around the ocean.

A light breeze had come in and I had set sails but had to drop them again after only twenty minutes. My dinner was nearly cooked when a heavy shower of rain came out of the darkness and I heard the wind get up again. It would have to wait till I’d had my grub. The rain drummed on the cabin top as I finished off my dinner and pulled my oilskins on. It had come out of the WNW and was about a F3. So, sails up again and we were moving. An hour later we were sailing at 4kts and on course.

By 2000 the wind had veered into the NNE and dropped and by 2200 there was barely anything at all.

I woke at 0030 to the sound of a snare drum. Heavy rain again and the wind was up. It was NW’ly again and about F3. By the time I got below we were making 5kts in the right direction.  By 0300 the sails were down again and reset at 0400. This time the wind from the SE and light again. But this time the wind held and by 0745 it was up to a F4 and we were going along really well on a beam reach.

As I had my weetabix I was listening to, of all things, an American radio station called Trucker Radio. It was playing good country music and full of all kinds of info for truckers. Some company in Manitoba had taken over a Nebraskan outfit and if I needed to buy a new 18 wheeler before Christmas I now knew where to get one from.

As the morning passed the sky cleared until it was almost a perfect blue leaving only a scattering of low thin cloud fringing the horizon. A school of around a dozen dolphins (Bottlenose, I think) came around us playing in the bow wave. I never tire of watching them. They are so deft and slick they make us feel like a lumbering whale plodding along hardly able to turn left or right.

I was able to get good sextant sights for the first time in days. A number of times lately I’ve had to rely on the GPS to give me a daily position. But today was almost as good as it could be. A clear sky and a sharp horizon and Elsi reasonably steady on the water.

The sun passed our noon meridian and began to drop into the west and the wind came more to the south and dropped with it to a F2-3. It’s been the warmest day so far with the temperature inside now at 27C. The wind is still holding but we can’t hold our course any more and are having to sail WSW. But I’m not too worried, I’m sure the wind will come from the NE before too long and we will be back on track again.

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