Birds, Batteries and Ships
09 December 2007
There has been a marked increase in bird life around the boat over the last two days with a number of gulls, shearwater, booby and the always busy little storm petrels. The storm petrels have been with us the longest and a person can only sit in wonder during your watch as they dip and weave over the wave tops and into the troughs, scooping up the little bits of food from the ocean surface. What they do at night I have no idea. However, the presence of the bird life means only one thing - we are getting close to land. We also had our first Noddy spend the night with us, leaving his calling card on deck before he left - photograph above.
Batteries We have a serious battery problem aboard with our house battery bank having a dead cell in it, which is preventing the proper charging of the bank. We are having to run our motors for much longer than should be necessary and are thus using up a considerable amount of diesel. Whenever we want to use the HF radio, we cannot transmit without also having one of the engines running. So, we have had to cut down on our time on HF and will only be on the air every alternate day. We will be on air on Monday evening on 14 237.5 at 16:00 Zulu.
Our ship spotting competition has been stagnant since Terry spotted the first one a week ago. We have seen surprisingly few ships this entire trip so far. Normally on the leg from St Helena to the Brazilian coast we spot six or seven ships. Ah well, as we slowly get into the shipping lanes off Brazil, this can only change. The challenge for everybody is to keep clear of those big steel fellows - we don't want them to hit us!
From a very hot boat (30 deg. C today with a high humidity), greetings from Shaheda, Shaun, Terry and myself, John.