17 January 2014

The wind was up and down all night and I was up and down with it. At 2200 I had to get up to alter our course. There was a spectacular lightning display happening to the northwest. Immense flashes of sheet lightning constantly highlighted towering pillars of cumulonimbus over the coast. It was like a natural firework display on a huge scale. There was rarely a second when there was not a flash somewhere and it was more or less continuous. We were safe enough where we were but it must have been really impressive, and a bit anxious, to have been onshore below it when it was happening. I sat and watched it for a while in amazement. Probably the most fantastic display I’ve ever seen.

I had to get up again at midnight and again at 0200 and it was just the same. By 0430 the lightning had eased but the wind was up and I had to take a reef in again.
There was an amazing sunrise after all this. The clouds had moved out to sea but were still as tall and wide reaching. The sun was rising and created a massive crimson glow behind them, as a rain squall ran away to the south. In the west, below the full moon, there were streaks of light rising from a point below the moon and fanning out all around it like a laser show.

By 0800 I was able to set the genoa and pole it out. The wind was down a bit and the barometer was rising. At about the same time we passed south of 40ºS.
The sun seems really fierce here. I got burned a bit yesterday and have had to put on sun cream today for the first time since the oppressive heat of the tropics. Is it the weakening of the ozone layer?

Apparently we could be seen on internet AIS yesterday for the first time in a while. There must be a good VHF antenna around the coast as we were about 50 miles offshore at the time.

We’ve sailed well all morning but now (1330) the wind has fallen and although we are still moving the sails are slapping around a lot. I went into my drink locker to get something to toast all the old sailors who have passed through the Forties before. I had to move some cans of Dr Pepper out of the way to get to the beer and when I picked them up they nearly flew up into my hand. They were nearly all empty. The bottoms had corroded out of them. The aluminium they make them with must be really thin. Some cans of Ginger beer had gone the same way. I have a case of coca cola stowed under another locker and maybe it’s gone the same way. The beer seems to be standing up better so there must be a moral in there somewhere! I’d seen and mopped up brown water in the bilge for some time and assumed it was rust coming from somewhere. But I’m thinking now it was Dr Pepper. I was trying to ration them out but maybe now I’ll just have to use them up rather than let them go to waste.

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