19 November 2007
Tonight we pass directly over the Valdivia Banks, an underwater sea mount that comes up to 23 metres below the sea surface. The area is quite often populated by fishing vessels which means an extra bit of caution by the watch keepers. Fortunately the sea conditions are flat at the moment and we are motor-sailing in very little breeze, which means that there will be little turbulence when passing over the banks.
Yesterday we caught our first fish, a long-fin Tuna, which managed to escape the dinner plate by wiggling off the hook as I was trying to bring it on board. Pity, as it was a good sized one! At first light today we had the fishing line out again and by mid-morning had no takers to the lure. Terry and Shaun rigged up a second line with bungee and we have now doubled our chances of having a fishy supper - hopefully a decent sized long-fin will think that one of the lures looks delectable and "take the bait".
Also yesterday afternoon we started seeing an extraordinary number of Storm Petrels. We normally have a couple following the boat but suddenly there were 20 or 30 of the little birds swooping around us. A short while later we found the reason. We came across the carcass of a dead whale which was covered in birds, all trying to have their feast of blubber. This is something I have never seen before and was quite a sight. Remember that we are quite a few hundred nautical miles from any land and here were well over 100 birds of different species that had found this meal in the middle of nowhere! Amazing!
Tomorrow we should have reached our half-way mark between Cape Town and St Helena. Although there is no wind at the moment, the wind is due to start picking up around midnight tonight and should continue to strengthen into tomorrow. We can then expect two or three days of south-easterly winds of 25 knots, which will give us a good push towards St Helena.
Now for the radio hams out there. Shaun and I will be monitoring 14 237.5 KHz from 16:00 Zulu (UTC/GMT) for anybody who wishes to chat to us - that is 18:00 SAST. We are keeping a log and will be sending out QSL cards after the trip. And for those readers who have had QSO's with me this year, your QSL cards will only be send at the end of this trip as I have not had the time to post them all due to no "off time" between deliveries.
Today we also have our second time change for the trip and are now on Greenwich Time. The next time change will be only a few days after leaving St Helena.
The photograph above is of Terry trying to pretend he understands all the controls of the boat. Hey, he is making progress and we are still pointing in the required direction!
Regards from Terry, Shaheda, Shaun and myself, John.