23 December 2013

The knuckle of South America at this latitude acts as a splitting point for the west going current created by the SE Trades. Above here it bends more to the north and below here it tends to follow the coast and is turned more southerly. So it should be running more in our favour soon.
The wind, which had been fresh all night, eased slightly around 0830 this morning and I got the Genoa back up again. There was one flying fish onboard the size of a canned sardine. It was too small for eating so it got thrown back over the side again.

The stars were brilliantly clear last night. Each one seemed to have switched to an extra large wattage bulb and they were putting on a rare display. The Pole star is below the horizon now and the Plough is getting lower with each night that passes. Familiar groups of stars are giving way to new constellations. The Toucan, the Crane and the Dolphin are all coming into view and it takes a bit of time to try and recognize them all.

At 1130 the wind suddenly picked up fresh as if a squall of rain was coming through but there was really no change in the sky at all. I was in the middle of getting a bread ready for the oven and had to leave it to get the Genoa down and Jib up. Even that wasn’t enough and I had to take in a reef in the main as well with spray lashing over the deck.
An hour later and the wind had fallen to lighter than it had been before. It might have reached a F3. I went on deck to set more sail. The dough was in the oven by this time and when I was at the mast shaking out the reef the wonderful smell of the bread baking came rising up out of one of the for’ard vents.

When I was doing this a tanker passed by our stern about a mile away. She was the Cape Bastia bound for Singapore for orders and due in on Jan 19th. While I was watching her I saw we had passed what looked like a marker buoy of some kind. If I’d seen it earlier I might have gone a bit nearer for a closer look. Then two minutes later we passed a decent sized Portuguese man o’ war. From having seen nothing for days it was all happening at once! Back home you wouldn’t think it worth writing about to see a boat, a buoy and a jellyfish all at one time but it was seemed significant here.

After all that excitement I sat down in the cockpit with my lunch of warm crusty bread, canned mackeral and a drop of red wine. I was half expecting to see something else but that was obviously enough distraction for one day. We’ll see a bit more as we close the coast I imagine.

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