06 May 2009
Our first day had us recording a distance of 134 nautical miles to noon. Not that bad considering that this was achieved under motor alone. Yesterday at 13:30 local time I tuned in to Alistair (ZS5MU) just south of Durban and gave him our position and local weather conditions. In turn we received the prediction for the next 24 hours, which sounded like very much the same as we had been experiencing the previous 24 hours - very little wind.
However, soon after 14:00 we had a very light breeze of around 10 knots develop out of the southwest and we were able to pole out our genoa and gain about half a knot in speed. Hey, that is not much but it all adds up at the end of the day!
We have not put out a fishing line as yet as we are motoring quite close to the shore and have been experiencing a lot of kelp floating around. Some time was also spent pulling the kelp off our rudders during the day. Imagine continuously hooking these large chunks of kelp on the fishing line! The kelp is thinning out and I have made up a line which will soon be trailing behind us with a bright pink lure attached. Let's hope for a nice fresh fish for dinner tonight.
Yesterday we also motored past a rather large pod of whales which kept the crew fascinated for some time. Fortunately we did not have any come too close to the boat. The thing about passing close to whales is that there are always birds around as they feed off the churned up kriel and other small edible sea life. With this pod, there we actually a few thousand birds - a lot feeding but most just sitting on the water with full bellies.
Last night we had some good stars visible between the patches of cloud. The Southern Cross was high off our starboard beam but I must admit that I did not recognise any of the constellations. I do have a great program for my computer but forgot to load it before departing. It is a pity as so much time is spent on watch at night with not much to do and being able to identify the constellations would while away the hours.
Talking of night watches, as we are 4 POB (four persons on board), we have a very easy watch schedule which rotates all the time. We stand a three hour watch and after a night watch you have nine hours off but after a day time watch you only get six hours off. This allows a person to have each forth day off after standing the midnight to 03:00 watch, which I personally find the worst watch. That person then next stands the 21:00 to midnight watch.
This morning Renier woke me during his 06:00 to 09:00 watch as we were off George and approaching a fleet of small fishing boats that were anchored off a small bank, about 20nm off the coast. They were all using hand lines and thus we did not have to deviate too much distance from them. Soon after this our line was in the water but, now at noon, the only interest in the lure has been a couple of gulls.
I chatted to Alistair again this morning and learnt that a South African couple on a small yacht had been rescued well west of Tristan (30deg 15minS 023deg 31minW) by the Brazilian Navy as their yacht was taking on water from below the water line. The couple are radio hams and their distress signal was picked up by the South African Maritime Mobile Network - Graham (ZS2ABK). It is really comforting to have these HAM's on the air and listening to us yachties on the high seas. In another incident a small yacht was found south of the island of St Helena with a broken safety harness attached to the mast and the single-hander not on board. A sad end to the yachtie.
Well, on that sad note I wish you well and report we are all safe and sound and now off the coast of Plettenberg Bay. Regards from Renier, Yoni, Luke and myself, John.