01 April 2016 | Maxwell Bay
27 March 2016 | Maxwell Bay
27 March 2016 | Maxwell Bay
22 June 2016
Light, but better, winds have been a great improvement after the calms.
18 June 2016
The light winds that have been around for over a week got lighter. The picture is from a couple of days ago, when there was no wind. Motored all that night to get 60 miles north to where the GRIB forecast indicated there would be some wind in the morning.
In the morning, there was a little wind, enough to fill the spinnaker, so turned off the motor and started sailing again. Since then, the wind has very slowly increased, and the gusts are now over 10 knots most of the time.
14 June 2016
From the heat of the Tropical Atlantic, at 22N, 51W, my thoughts have drifted back to Antarctica.
We anchored off Elephant Island (61 08S, 54 40W) to wait out a storm. There are no good anchorages at Elephant Island, so we spent a day motoring around to various places, looking for a reasonable place to anchor for the coming storm.
The best anchoring spot seemed to be a a shallow indentation off the beach on the NE (leeward) side of the island. The closest cliffs were not really high, so the gusts coming off them would be less than at several other places we looked at.
There was a sticky, mud bottom 25m down. The bottom fell off rapidly, so if we dragged anchor, the depth would increase quickly, so our effective scope would be reduced and the anchor might not reset, so we would be blown to sea to face the storm there. In the expected winds, motoring back to re-anchor would not be possible. We set and tested the anchor, and put the snubber on.
The storm built gradually. As the wind increased, Issuma charged back and forth on her anchor more and more. The windage of the roller-furled jib caused her to turn away from the wind, and move until the anchor chain tigntened, which turned the boat around and pulled the boat towards the anchor until it was close enough that the chain slackened and the bow blew off in the other direction to start the cycle again. This was putting a big, intermittent load on the anchor, and I was concerned that it might drag.
I set the mainsail with the fourth reef (love that fourth reef!) in, and sheeted it tight amidships. The motion of the boat immediately changed. No longer did it charge back and forth. Now the boat put a steady, lesser (than the peaks) load on the anchor, and swung very little.
It was exciting to watch the gusts coming off the cliffs, traveling down at a ferocious speed, hitting the water and causing clouds of spray to rise before they pushed out horizontally away from the cliff, raised waves, and made their way to where we were anchored. It was delightful to feel securely anchored while the storm howled all around us.
08 June 2016
Winds have lightened considerably over the last few days. I had the mainsail, both staysails, fisherman and spinnaker up yesterday. For many hours I couldn't get the boat to go faster than 3.5 knots, but late in the day, the wind picked up, and we began sailing at 5 to 6 knots. That was when I noticed that the spinnaker had a 2m long rip along one edge! So now the spinnaker is on deck, being repaired, and we are moving along fine at 4 to 5 knots with all other sails in pleasant, Force 2 winds.
28 May 2016
This is the first fish that I have caught since leaving South Africa. I believe it is called a needlefish. Another fish took a bite out of the needlefish while it was being dragged by the boat, so it was already dead when I brought it aboard. Not much meat on this fis, but it was quite nice ceviche-cooked with lemon juice & onion bits.
Across the Line
25 May 2016
Issuma crossed the equator May 22, and crossed her outbound track from France to Argentina (from 2008) on May 24, so completing her circumnavigation of the Americas.
22 May 2016
There are 699 steps in the steep climb up Jacob's Ladder in St Helena. The steps were built to connect the settlement of Jamestown to the former fort at the top of the hill.
20 May 2016
One of two, big, tortoises that wander around the Governor's House in St Helena. I believe the tortoises were brought to St Helena from Seychelles.
18 May 2016
St Helena is a pleasant, relaxed, friendly, isolated, tropical island where everyone speaks English. A United Kingdom Overseas Territory, St Helena is probably best known as the place Napoleon was exiled to.
Transportation to and from St Helena has traditionally been by sea. This year, they finished building an airport, but due to problems with wind shear, airplanes are not yet landing there. The island is mostly supplied by a Royal Mail ship (which takes passengers), which is scheduled to make its last voyage to St Helena in July (presuming commercial flights to the new airport are being made).
The picture is looking down on Jamestown, the main settlement.
Walvis Bay Oil Rig
16 May 2016
While sailing away from the coast, a bunch of seals came over and played behind the boat.