19 November 2007 | 27.01 Deg S 7.4 Deg E
Before I start telling you the stories let me reply to some queries I had and thank a few people. One of the queries I had was regarding the tracking of our position. John reports this daily once we have taken our noon position, so you can expect it to be available at about 12:00 GMT, if you live in South Africa you are two hours ahead of GMT. If you live in another part of the world and don't know what your GMT offset is then thank Bill Gates now. If you are using a Windoze based computer double click on the clock in the bottom right hand corner then click on time zones and you should see your offset providing of course your computer clock is set correctly. By the way we have our ships' clock set to one hour ahead of GMT at the moment. But I digress, the next important thing to do is to click on the link I have provided on the side bar to track our position. When you are directed to that site you can change the "SHOW" option. Here you must select the last 30 days. You will see some of the remnants of John's previous trip to Tahiti come up. Do not worry about that as it will disappear in the next week or so. Just follow the dots from Cape Town and page to the bottom of the page to see John's comments. That deals with the queries.
Now for the thanks. We have had an incredible amount of help and well wishes from so many people. On land helping with the blog updates and information are fellow radio hams; Deon ZS1ZL and Peter ZS1PMH thanks to you guys. Then we have a whole bunch of hams who give us weather information. We tune in on the the shortwave radio to 14.316 MHz at 11:30 GMT everyday and listen to Alistair ZS5MU who runs the net and many of the weather contributors including Tom ZS1TA who I know well. As far as the commments go we really love hearing from you guys please send more. The Wards note, Terry has received your comments and yes he is pulling his weight. Roger, thanks for all you doing my chommie. Special thanks to 13 year old Ciaran from Australia who is keenly following the blog. Ciaran, a birdie has told me that your Pa may be coming to Cape Town during the Xmas holidays, make sure he packs you in as well as Cape Town is one of the most magnificent cities to visit. Now lets get onto the report.
Hi everyone, we have been becalmed for 24 hours now. The Atlantic has dished up a high speed washing machine for us the first few days with waves 7 meters at times and winds howling in excess of 45 knots. To do a rough conversion to Km/h multiply these numbers by 1.8 to get an idea of the boat and wind speed. During this time we struggled to keep the boat speed below 8 knots as we did not want the boat surfing down the waves as this increases the risk of broaching (going sideways down the wave) which could present a potentially dangerous situation. We put up the smallest amount of sail, less than 20% of the jib (front sail) at times and occasionally the boat still reached in excess of 10 knots. We were all wishing for calmer days. Well it is here now and as the old Chinese curse goes "Be careful what you wish for" our wishes were answered. We have not had any wind to speak of so we took down all sails and have been motoring with the engines for more than 24 hours now. We alternate the engines running each for three hours at a time.
This has reduced the activity on the boat considerably and we have all caught up with some much needed sleep. It is amazing how much we are sleeping. John says like sea-sickness this will pass as our bodies become acclimatised to the rolling of the sea and we sleep a little deeper. One other thing that disturbs the sleeping patterns are the watches, the boat travels 24/7 so someone has to keep an eye on it to see if we are still on course, if the wind has picked up and most importantly if there is any traffic around that we may collide with. We have watches scheduled from 00:00 - 03:00 then 03:00 - 06:00 and so on changing every three hours. The person who has done the 00:00 shift get off for the rest of the day and only comes back on duty at 21:00 the night, that way we get to change the sequence of the watches.
Yesterday John did his daily training session at the cockpit, it was Shaheda's turn and she learnt about starting the engines, setting engine revs, how to select the various engines gears, how to steer when using the different engines. During this time we noticed an unusual amount of birds about. Shaheda and John had the birds eye view (no pun intended) as the cockpit is about 2m above the deck level. John was very concerned because the birds were all congregating around a large rose coloured item in the sea. He thought it may be a sail of a boat which could of course mean disaster if it is the case. He quickly shouted for the binoculars which I found in double quick time. As he was looking through the binoculars it became clear that it was not a sail but in fact a large chunk of exposed blubber of a dead whale. The birds were having an absolute feast taking in the much needed fat to give them energy for the long passages that these pelagic birds undertake. Many of them remain on the wing for several weeks returning to land for breeding and raising chicks only. Whilst tragic it was beautiful to see nature in it raw state and more so we were pleased that it was not a sail as this would have put a different spin on the way we had to deal with that.
That's all from me at the moment, remember there is more on John our Skipper's Blog. Just click on the link on the side bar or go to www.sailblogs.com/member/deliveries