The Western Hemisphere
04 January 2010
It is now Monday night and in the early hours of this morning we passed from the Eastern Hemisphere into the Western Hemisphere, when we crossed the "zero" meridian. I must admit that the west is pretty much the same as the east - no wind!
One thing that has not been plentiful over the past few days is wind. We had a cracking sail over the first week at sea and then the wind disappeared as if somebody had turned a tap off. At the same time we found that the halyard for our delivery sail (a twin genoa that we fly opposite the furling genoa) had chafed through just inside the mast and was about to snap. I had to go up the mast to disengage the snap-shackle to drop the sail. I was nearly bashed to death up there and am black and blue from the bruising from being flung against the mast. We will have to sort out the halyard problem when we arrive in St Helena, which should be this coming Thursday morning.
Joy also has suffered with a bruised rib. She was flung through the open heads door and caught her back on the bulkhead step. Fortunately it is not a broken rib, as she would be in great agony if so. However, I think a quick visit to the hospital in St Helena to make sure that nothing is broken or cracked will be on our priority list after arrival. We seem to be a bunch of crocks as Louis has been suffering from very acute indigestion on the trip. I think he may have stomach ulcers as he is complaining that acidic food makes the situation worse. So, there will be two for the doctor in St Helena. The only person not suffering from some affliction is Greg, who appears to be enjoying himself immensely, keeping an eye on the elderly!
Our fishing has not been the best I have experienced. I think we were most likely going too fast during the first week for the fish to catch our lures. Now that we have slowed down due to the loss of the extra sail and are motor-sailing at about 6 knots, we have had a few takers of our lures. Today we had two small Dorado landed by Louis. The bigger of the two we kept for dinner tomorrow night whilst the smaller was returned to the ocean to grow a bit bigger. Maybe we will nab him on the next delivery in March. Louis is not a born fishing person but is learning the ropes quickly. He has now also filleted his first fish and is eager to learn to cook the fish as well. Not to leave Greg out of the picture, for a 19 year old, he is an excellent cook and has already put together some delicious meals.
Since leaving Cape Town, we have been in daily contact with Graham ZS2ABK who is running the South African Maritime Mobile Network on behalf of Alistair ZS5MU. Graham supplies us with the weather forecast and keeps tabs on our progress and life on board. At the moment we have two other yachts within a couple hundred miles of us. One is Prism, a US boat with Ed and Dorothy on board. They are en route from Luderitz to St Helena. The other boat is Siwa, a French boat with Bernhard and Anne on board. They are also bound for St Helena and left Simon's Town on Christmas day. So, although we have not seen any ships for the past week, we know that there are two other yachts "out there" and heading in the same direction as us. Maybe we will all meet on St Helena over a nice cold beer.
So, as we plod along under both motor and sail, I bid you well until I put finger to keyboard in a few days time. Regards from the three crocks and the young one. John.