9 December 2013

In the six hours from noon yesterday we moved eight miles. And it stayed like that all evening and all night. I was up and down several times, sails up, sails down till at 0100 when the sails came down they stayed down. It was calm the rest of the night but it was like the sky had steamed over and only the brightest stars were shining through vague and hazy. That toenail moon has certainly grown and will need cliping before too long.
I just woke in time for a radio contact with Alyson, 0630 my time. After we spoke I went outside and there still wasn’t a breath of wind. What I did find though, was a fish swimming under Elsi near the rudder. I rigged a line and dropped it over but it wasn’t really interested. I opened a tin of mackeral I was going to have for lunch and baited a hook with some. He had a sniff at it but maybe the mustard sauce put him off. I’d planned a smoked sausage for dinner and sliced off a bit to temp him with. It worked and he was in the cockpit before he knew what was happening.

He was about a foot long, blue and black and with his hard snapping mouth and sharp teeth he looked a bit like a Parrot fish. The skin was as tough as leather and I could have soled my boots with it.

By the time I got that all sorted a whisper of wind has arrived and I set sails again. We made our way inch by inch into the SW. I stripped down the port winch and put on new oil and grease. The pawls especially have to be checked because if they are not free the winch will not lock under strain and that could be dangerous. But everything was fine and I will do the starboard winch soon as well.

In the late morning a merchant ship the BBC Virginia passed close by. She was on her way from Santos, Brazil to Emden, Germany with, of all things, a cargo load of wind turbines.

By noon we had moved 18 miles in 24 hrs and the wind had moved off somewhere else. We were again a painted ship on a painted ocean. With no wind to cool us the temperature inside the cabin today is 30 C. I had a closer look at the starboard side and can see goose barnacles growing there as well. They’ll have plenty of time today to latch on.
In the afternoon I serviced the starboard winch as well and when I’d finished I could feel a movement of air and see a ruffle begin to form on the sea surface. So, sails up again and we were moving. While I was sitting in the cockpit watching the wind to see if it would hold I heard a thump thump from the stern. It was three medium-sized Dorado bumping into the Aries steering oar as if to say, “Here we are, try catching us as well!”. They are a very good eating fish and I wasted no time in rigging a line and baiting it with some of the left over bits I’d kept from this morning. I managed to catch two of them so there’s plenty for dinner tonight and tomorrow as well.

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