St Helena to Ascension Island
16 April 2011 | South Atlantic
In a previous post I mentioned that Raymarine, the manufacturer of our navigation instruments aboard the boat, were flying a new chart plotter and GPS antenna to Ascension Island for us to collect and install. So, at first light last Monday we cast off our lines in St Helena and started the 700 nautical mile leg to Ascension.
The start of the leg was painfully slow with "light airs" and heave diesel fumes. However, by the first night we had just enough wind to ghost along at 2 to 3 knots. Over the following days the winds slowly filled in and we picked up speed.
Let me explain that I was planning a slow passage as we did not wish to arrive over a weekend as there is no clearance on Ascension over weekends. We could not make Ascension on Friday - although this boat is relatively fast, we would have needed good winds from the beginning, something I knew we would not have. So, the idea was to just take it easy and slow and arrive at first light on Monday morning.
We eventually have had better winds than predicted and are going too fast! As I type this report, we are trailing lines behind the boat to slow it down to arrive in Ascension at first light tomorrow morning (Sunday).
Our fishing has not been too good - two Bonito and two small Dorado. The Bonito are in the freezer and the Dorado in our stomachs! And what a fine fish they are. Dave pan cooked the fillets in butter and lemon juice and we had a grand meal. My hope is that we can get a few more Dorado and freeze them for later consumption. The Bonito will most likely end up as fish cakes in a few days time.
This blog post is done via email and our email is done, not the modern (and expensive) way via satellite, but the old (and free) way via HF radio, via the Ham Winlink email system. I have now lost the ability for sending and receiving via the Winlink station in Pretoria and have now switched to using a station in Canada or one in Switzerland, both of which are giving good signals at night. So I do not have any email contact during the day. So, those of you who are in email contact with us, please keep your messages short and delete all our text when using the reply function in your email software.
An aunt of mine has recently been ill and I struggled today to try and contact her via satellite telephone to see if she was recovering. She is, so Pauline, get well and hope your recovery is speedy.
Well, lets hope our equipment is ready for us on Monday and we can do a quick install and be off north again. Our next stop should be Cadiz, Spain, but may be in the Caape Verde Islands if we are running short of water or fuel. The next post will be a few days out of Ascension, before we reach the ITCZ or, as most of us know the region, the doldrums.
Regards from David, Mathys, Josh and myself, John.