6 January 2014

 For the first time this morning it was more comfortable to go on deck with a shirt on than with bare skin. The sky was overcast all morning. The sky was overcast all morning but it cleared off to a fine day later with Trade wind like cumulus with plenty of blue patches to let the sun shine through.

The galley has been rigged for fine weather cruising up till now and today I sorted through it to make it more ready for stronger winds in the south. Anything I didn’t want flying around I stowed in various lockers.

I still wanted to get under the water and check the goose barnacles and today seemed as good as any. There wasn’t too much wind but there was a swell of about one metre. I checked around and could see no shark fins and nothing swimming under Elsi. There were three White Chinned Petrels, (Cape Hens), bobbing together not far from Elsi. Trying to be optimistic I figured if there was a shark around he would have gone for one of them.

I found a length of braided rope that would sink and rigged it around Elsi, from one side the other, so that it passed under the keel, then tied off both ends. This would give me something to hold onto in the water and let me pull myself under to get near to the keel.
I lashed a scraper on to the boathook and tied it on to my wrist. Marilyn and Terry had bought me a new drysuit as a present before leaving. I got it out and pulled it on and went in. There were certainly plenty of goose barnacles but not quite as bad as last time. It was very patchy. There were dense clumps in places while other parts of the hull were untouched. I scraped off the denser lots first but the motion really hampered me. With Elsi rising and falling about a metre I could see what I was scraping about half the time and the other half I was working blind.

I swallowed more salt water than I wanted to in the times I thought my mouth was clear enough of the water to get a breath and it wasn’t. I stayed in just over half an hour and that was enough. The motion was wearing me out. The motion and trying to hold on with one hand and scrape with the other while holding my breath. I’d got some clearance made and it felt better to have done something. I got sails set again and, maybe it was just my imagination, but it felt like we were going faster.
If the wind falls away again and we get less swell I’ll have another go to get some more off. They’ll grow back again though. It seems even if there’s a sliver left after scraping them off they regenerate and grow again.



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