It is Thursday, February 26 and we are motor-sailing. The prognosis was that the South Atlantic high had ridged over towards the African continent and that our wind would drop and become variable over the next few days. Whoever the forecaster was, was absolutely spot on! Through last night the wind slowly dropped and we motor-sailed on and off but today it is even lighter, with a 10 knot true wind out of the southeast.
Yesterday was a day of errors - we managed to get our fishing line entangles in our starboard propeller, which resulted in some anxious moments untangling it. It was successfully removed although it has now been laid to rest in the garbage. We do have extra line and a new line and lure is now out off the port hull.
Then we had a problem with the hoisting of the spinnaker and the tack line, which is too long, was accidentally dropped in the water, went under the boat and also ended up in the starboard propeller. Fortunately, the engine was put in neutral in time and the line was retrieved with no damage to the either the propeller or line.
Oh, and before all our mishaps, Richard caught our first fish of the trip - a small Dorado that was so small it was returned to the sea to grow a bit before somebody catches it again and makes a good meal out of it. There is a photo of it but, due to limited bandwidth on our email, we will rather not publish it with this blog report - the embarrassment in its size also plays a part in this decision.
The distance from Cape Town to St Helena is 1699 nautical miles. At noon today our navigation instruments read exactly 1000 nautical miles to our first waypoint at St Helena. From that waypoint it is another 7 nautical miles to the anchorage in James Bay. This should, considering current wind and sea conditions, mean an arrival at the island during the afternoon of Thursday March 5. Lets see how we progress over the next week!
Our course from Cape Town is north-west and as we progress west, we change time zones every 15 degrees we progress. If we take the Greenwich Meridian as the centre of our time zone, we add 7.5 degrees to each side of it and that will give us our "time zone" of UTC/GMT. Later this afternoon we will pass the 7.5 degrees east meridian and thus, as we are heading west, have to subtract one hour from our onboard clocks. This means a "double happy hour", which will be celebrated with not our usual evening single beer but one followed with a second. Ah, life at sea can be complicated but also has it's occasional perks.
In a future report I will post some information on the island of St Helena, for those that are reading this blog for the first time.
And now, before I finish off this report, the map on the right side of the blog page indicates our position for each report I post. This is not done every day but if you want another map of our daily position, click on the "Shiptrak" link a little down in the right hand column of the blog page - I do a daily post of our position and this should be indicated on a large world map.
So folks, that's all for now - regards from Richard, Kyle and myself, John, until the next blog post in a couple of days.
We departed Cape Town at 13:00 on Saturday after having problems with our navigation electronics. Somebody had reset our auto pilot and it kept on giving incorrect readings so we were delayed whilst Rolly Brown did his thing and re-commissioned the instruments. Thanks Rolly, you did an excellent set-up for us.
Our first night out was basically into a very light northwest breeze, with a rolling swell that was uncomfortable. However, nobody was seasick and we spent the night occasionally motor-sailing or beating under full sail. In the early hours of the morning we had a heavy rain squall, followed immediately by a change in the wind direction to south, slowly edging to southeast as the morning progressed. The pattern followed the prognosis we had received before departing Cape Town and by Monday midday we had a rising wind, that kept on rising throughout the day. We kept on reducing sail until during Sunday night we had 35 knots from the south-southeast and only a tiny piece of genoa out. And we were sometimes hitting 10 knots surfing down the waves! Today (Monday), things have calmed considerably but then the wind has also dropped to under 12 knots true. It is amazing that either it blows too hard or too softly - nothing in-between!
Richard is a fine cook and prepared a great meal of pasta with marinated chicken and sautéed vegetables for Sunday dinner. This was just what we needed as none of us were really comfortable enough to try any big solid meal. However, by Sunday morning everybody had fully gained their sea-legs and we had lamb cutlets with vegetables on the menu for our evening meal.
We are unable to make a connection for email with the HF radio on the boat - for some reason the special modem does not want to talk to the remote station in Durban properly and I am trying to get some assistance to check our setup of the system from Cape Town. In the mean time we are sending and receiving once a day via the Iridium satellite telephone, which is quite fast but does cost quite a bit for the airtime.
Last night we set our clocks back an hour as we had already passes our first time zone change. During this delivery we will have four time zone changes in total as Recife is four hours behind Cape Town or two hours behind UTC/GMT. We celebrated the occasion with one small drink each - a Windhoek Draft beer!
Our first full day at sea we had a noon to noon run of 256 nautical miles logged. Not bad considering the rough conditions! Today the sea has calmed considerably and we only managed a noon to noon run of 140 nautical miles.
If the sea state settles a bit more by tomorrow, I will rig a fishing line in the morning and see if we can get ourselves a nice tuna for dinner tomorrow. We are in tuna territory at the moment so our chances should be quite good - watch this space for an update. And talking of fish, today we have had our first flying fish darting away from the boat. They are quite far south for this time of the year so the water temperature must be quite warm for them to be around.
So folks, that's all from aboard "In The Wind" for now - greetings from Kyle, Richard and myself, John.
I am back in Cape Town after a long tiring trip that took me from Trinidad to Tobago, then on to Antigua and again on to London. The final leg from London to Cape Town was the longest, with the 747 packed with humans like sardines in a sardine tin, with us arriving at 06:45 in the morning. It's good to be home - although for a short period only!
So, what's next? Well, I am taking "In The Wind", a Leopard 40, with the owner, Kyle Mussman and crew member Richard Rotteveel, to Recife, Brazil. From there they will be joined by their partners and will slowly explore the Brazilian coast as they head towards the Caribbean.
The boat is well equipped although the SSB/HF radio is still to be installed, which will happen on Monday 16 February. The next few days will be spent starting the provisioning and getting some extra equipment ordered. We are still waiting for the boat registration papers to arrive from the US (the boat will be US flagged) and then we have to have a safety inspection and obtain the required CoF before we can proceed with departure formalities and get going! We are planning on departing Cape Town around Saturday 21 February.
Steve Searle, a highly qualified technician and fellow radio ham (ZR1ACM), will be installing the SSB/HF radio, together with a Pactor modem, thus we should have some good communications via email, allowing us to keep the blog updated on a regular basis - so, keep tuned!
I will update the blog again in the next few days with a progress report and test transmission from the boat before we depart. John.
We arrived in Chaguaramas at 21:30 local time on Friday 30 January 2009. The final approach passage via the narrow channel known as The Boca (Dragons Mouth) was done in pitch dark with Adrian at the helm and myself acting as "pilot". There was a strong current against us but Adrian manoeuvred the boat flawlessly through the channel and then through Chaguaramas Bay and the anchored and moored vessels, ending with parking Oceans Dream on the customs jetty without a hitch. Well done to Adrian as the bay and approach is a nightmare in navigation at night.
We spent the first night tied up to the customs dock after clearing customs. Fortunately the immigration office was closed and thus we could sleep the night tied to the customs jetty and then moved to CrewsInn Marina on Saturday morning after clearing immigration.
Luke and I will be spending the week here as our flight out is only on Sunday 8 February. So, we are assisting with rectifying some problems on the boat in between sampling the local brew and local food. Talking about the local brew, the humidity is so high that a person really needs a copious intake of fluid throughout the day to ensure your body does not get dehydrated. The photo above is Luke in his new disguise - beard, short hair and, of course, attending to his fluid intake.
So, from a wet Chaguaramas (yes, the heavens are still ensuring fresh water for the island), I bid you well and hope you have enjoyed my ramblings over the last month and a half. Until the next delivery, may you all keep well. John
Okay, I said the next and final blog report would be when we had reached Chaguaramas, but I thought a quick one could be fitted in before we arrived.
Firstly, we are about 45 nautical miles from Chaguaramas as I type this and remember that we are six hours behind South African Standard Time and four hours behind GMT/UTC - it is now just past noon, local time. Since last night we have had rain squall after rain squall. Everybody has had a good soaking during their watches! And we have just started our section along the north side of the island of Trinidad and . . . it is still raining!
Luke has just gone on watch in his full foul weather gear and has just spotted a huge leatherback turtle, its head about the size of a rugby ball. We have seen a number of turtles over the past two weeks but this one takes the cake for size.
Over the past few hours we have had a dramatic increase in shipping as we headed towards Galleons Passage, the channel between Trinidad and Tobago. These are ships heading not only to and from the coastal countries up ahead, but also to and from the Panama Canal. Adrian has been in his element checking each ships data that comes up on the AIS system - he really loves his gadgets!
So, from a wet crew (just spotted another monster turtle) to all the readers, greetings - I will post another (final, final) blog report after we have arrived and settled the boat in Chaguaramas - John.