Monthly Archives: March 2017

South Africa to the Caribbean – day 49

Our position at 10.00 (12.00 GMT) Friday 10th March was
03 54N
043 33W
on a course of 305T with 90% cloud cover.
Our 24 hour run from 10.00 yesterday to 10.00 today was 172 miles. Average 7.1kts hold to your hats We have 1098 miles to go to Barbados

I’m having a serious sense of humour bypass here. I’ve had several offers of helicopters but it hasn’t bloody arrived!

You can see by our speed what sort of day we had yesterday. F5/6 with 20kts of NE wind on the beam in 4 meter swells. Deep joy.

Sat in the cockpit on watch last night having had a wash and all clean clothes when the boat rolled, a rogue wave caught the starboard quarter and over we went. A massive wave came into the cockpit, straight down my neck, onto the chart table (luckily the computers had been put away) all over the floor, I was soaked to the skin. Bill rushed up to help me down and get me sorted mainly by putting a glass of wine in my hand and getting the emergency chocolate out; I NEEDED chocolate.

It wasn’t until this morning I realised just how far the water had traveled. I have a food cupboard in the bilge with my tins in. They are several boxes Bill made that normally stay dry but the water had found it’s way in and was slopping around the tins. I’ve taken them all out and dried it but they won’t keep, they’ll go rusty. So it’s double chickpeas with every meal now.

After that I finished my watch from below deck just popping my head up now and then to check for shipping.

Shipping, we’ve seen nothing for weeks but last night at 11pm while watching the chartplotter an AIS contact appeared directly on our track. As it got nearer the info came through and it was a panamax which basically means the biggest ship that will fit in the Panama canal. This thing wasn’t measured in feet but was 0.178 of a mile long, 197ft wide and a draft of 71ft and it was coming straight for us. I waited until it was half an hour away but I still couldn’t see it in the swell which, by the way, is now 4 meters. So I called the bridge on the vhf. We don’t usually like doing this because at that time of night they don’t always have someone on watch that speaks English then they have to go and wake someone and it turns into a right performance but I was lucky a nice young man answered. I asked if he could see me on the AIS and he said he could and he was passing port to port as normal. That would have been way to close so I asked him to change his course to port and pass starboard to starboard please. He agreed and all was good. The last bit of the saga was as they were half a mile away from us he called me to ask if I had lights on as he couldn’t see me. I looked up at the mast head to discover the tricolour was out and we had no lights on. I put on some other lights and he said he could now see me. He was massive as it passed in the dark. A close call.

So that’s your lot today. Oh we had a chilli from the freezer that I had prepared earlier. Too bouncy to cook.

All well on board. :-/ sort of.

The blog goes through to facebook but we can’t see facebook or your comments. I’ll catch up with them all in the Caribbean. If you wish to email us please use mdqf6 @ sailmail.com (take out the gaps) Stay safe everyone.

South Africa to the Caribben – day 48

Our position at 10.00 (12.00 GMT) Thursday 9th March was
02 44N
040 58W
on a course of 298T with 50% cloud cover.
Our 24 hour run from 10.00 yesterday to 10.00 today was 139 miles. Average 5.7kts We have 1267 miles to go to Barbados

OK where’s my helicopter? Has no one sent one? Surely you would all realise by now that I would want to get off. You know I don’t like sailing and never will – ok got that off my chest and now we have NE trade winds.

We spent most of yesterday sailing slowly in and out of the clouds. At 3pm the wind disappeared yet again but this time we had to put the engine back on and motor through another patch of the doldrums and the main came down. It was off at 6pm and the sails were back out. We sailed for an hour but the wind kept changing direction and the main sail was flapping badly so at 7pm the engine went back on again. During the evening we were surrounded by a massive cloud system that brought winds from all directions along with a deluge of rain, despite the fact we were now 02 degrees north. It’s been suggested we just motor north until we find the trade winds but the ITCZ doesn’t have a straight edge, it moves, and the gribs aren’t very good at predicting exactly where it is and what’s in it. So we just keep to our course and hope the trade winds come through soon. Bill went to bed while I sat in the cockpit with my umbrella shielding me from the rain coming around the edge of the cover. It was probably our worse night so far on this passage. The sky was so black despite the moon being behind the clouds. It was a difficult decision leaving the main up, it was slatting badly but to take it down would have meant getting Bill up and someone going on deck to sort it. The gooseneck was getting stressed and it’s something we don’t normally do but if it came down it might have to up again in half an hour. So I persevered with changing course all the time trying to keep it inflated. Our track is a really wiggly line. Suddenly at 11.45pm the NE trade winds came from no where, literally, and Camomile was off. I pulled the genny out, turned the engine off and we’ve sailed through the night. Bill was surprised when I woke him at 1am for his watch to see us sailing so well. “Did we have much rain?” I won’t print my answer.

Bill sailed the boat through the night and so far the NE winds have held so we think this is it now. The main sail was reefed this morning and there’s one reef in the genny. We have a F4 on the beam so our speed is on average 6.5kts but we are getting 7 and 8kts regularly. Our course is 300T. Out of the last 96 hours (4 days) we’ve motored 50 hours, of those the last 9 have been motor sailing trying to keep the sails inflated. Should be a fast sail to Barbados hopefully. The GPS has given us an arrival date of 18th right from the beginning but yesterday it slipped to the 19th which was depressing but this morning, with the speed we are doing, it’s saying 16th so we’ll see. That’s still another week or so away and my helicopter might be here before then!

I lied yesterday and said we were passing the two thirds of the way from St Helena to Barbados. It’s this morning that happens.

Last night we had pork chop, sausage, bacon, baked chip potatoes and baked beans. Now that we’re heeling more, cooking is going to be difficult. We are on starboard tack which means the wind is pushing us onto our left side which causes me a problem because my galley is on the right side. Every time I open a cupboard I have to be prepared for things to fall out. They don’t usually because I have everything wedged in but sometimes something escapes. I have a galley strap so when I’m cooking I’m literally tied to the cooker and can lean into it. I can’t cook while hanging on for dear life.

All well on board. :-/ sort of.

The blog goes through to facebook but we can’t see facebook or your comments. I’ll catch up with them all in the Caribbean. If you wish to email us please use mdqf6 @ sailmail.com (take out the gaps) Stay safe everyone.

South Africa to the Caribbean – day 47

Our position at 10.00 (12.00 GMT) Wednesday 8th March was
01 43N
038 58W
on a course of 300T with 50% cloud cover.
Our 24 hour run from 10.00 yesterday to 10.00 today was 117 miles. Average 4.8kts – not very good. We have 1401 miles to go to Barbados

We sailed slowly yesterday as our average speed shows. The boat speed yesterday went from 3kts to 7kts and anything in between. The wind is filling in slowly from the east but very fluky. We’re probably still in the ITCZ because it’s supposed to go up as far as 02 degrees north and there are still squalls around. We sailed slowly through the night but another mini squall took the wind this morning so we motored for an hour until the wind came back then we were sailing at 5kts again.

The sun is really fierce when the clouds clear. If I’m sitting in the cockpit on watch I have to keep moving around to stay under the bimini cover in the shade. I had the sewing machine out yesterday. One of the diesel can covers (everything has to have a cover on it to protect it from the sun) had rotted because of the sun. I was going to repair it but it fell to bits in my hand. As I’ve got spare material it was easier to make a new one. While I had the machine out I also made a Barbados courtesy flag. Is there no end to the ladies talents???

I have to tell you of a funny thing that happened last night. The birds are back and one of them decided to perch on the guardrail at the bow and go to sleep. It’s bum was hanging over the boat and it was pooing on the deck. Bill came on watch and decided to get rid of it. He opened the fore peak hatch carefully and in Monty Python style slowly poked it with a stick. The bird fell off and woke up mid air and flew off with a loud squawk, hopefully he won’t be back. Haha

This morning we passed the quarter way from Fernando to Barbados mark which is also about two thirds of the way from St Helena to Barbados. I like to look forward to these.

Last night I cooked a packet of dried tortellini, not as nice as fresh but fine for a passage meal. I also fried half a packet of lardons (bacon bits) and added that to the cooked, drained pasta with a dollop of cream and a good shake of parmesan. stir it all up and serve with a sprinkle of black pepper and you’ve got tortellini carbonara. No calorie version of course ๐Ÿ˜‰

And so the soap opera that is Camomile continues.

All well on board. ๐Ÿ™‚

The blog goes through to facebook but we can’t see facebook or your comments. I’ll catch up with them all in the Caribbean. If you wish to email us please use mdqf6 @ sailmail.com (take out the gaps) Stay safe everyone.

South Africa to the Caribbean – day 46

Our position at 10.00 (12.00 GMT) Tuesday 7th March was
00 19 NORTH
037 39W
on a course of 325T with sunny blue skies.
Our 24 hour run from 10.00 yesterday to 10.00 today was 126 miles. Average 5.2kts we motor slower than we sail. We have 1512 miles to go to Barbados

WHOOP WHOOP WHOOP WE HAVE CROSSED THE EQUATOR FOR THE FINAL TIME.

The first time we crossed the equator was with our wonderful friends on the Blue Water rally on the vessels Enchantress, Lucy Alice and Briet they had come to support us after a shroud fitting had broken and we had nearly lost the mast. With the mast strapped down we were unable to sail and they all escorted us to the Galapagos islands sailing alongside us while we motored 900 miles. We all had a wonderful equator crossing party on our own boats while watching each other throw various concoctions over each other as we crossed the line. It’s on the website somewhere I think around March 2010.
The second time was in 2013 after Sail Indonesia as we motored up towards Singapore on our way home after Mum had died.
The third was in 2014 after Sail Malaysia East in the Makassat strait between Sulawesi and Borneo in Indonesia on our way to meet Thomas and Sonal in Lombok. The forth was on our way back up to Singapore again later in 2014.
The fifth was last year 2016 on our way south through the Maldives (it was hot then too)
The sixth and definitely last time was at 3.30am this morning – we are back in the northern hemisphere to stay.

Camomile crossing the equator

The last few days have been stiflingly hot on board with no wind plus having the engine on made it really hot below deck. We kept having to close the hatches because of the rain showers; I hope to never be this hot on board again. Yesterday, in all that heat, we took the twizzle down as we hadn’t had any rain for several hours and the sails were dry. We didn’t want to take it down while there was a chance of more SE winds but the forecast was for NE winds tomorrow. We dropped the downhaul and Bill took the poles off the sails first taking off the ‘twizzle links’ and re-stowing the poles on the guard rails. We can have both the headsails up at the same time and pull them both to one side or the other but with the possibility of stronger north easters coming Bill decided it would be best to drop the sails and take it off. With no wind they came down easily, lines were swapped, shackles undone and the single headsail reattached, hoisted and furled away. The second sail had come down nicely and Bill and I managed to flake it the best we could on deck and roll it up. It’s now sitting under the table until we can take it ashore in Barbados and fold it properly. All this was done in the midday sun! We didn’t realise until the job was finished how hot we were. I have to have a sleep early afternoon so I can do the first night watch but I just couldn’t sleep because I was bathed in perspiration, I couldn’t cool down.

The black clouds are behind us now and we feel so fortunate to have had such a benign crossing; not a single flash of lightening. Up to the day before yesterday we had only ran the engine for a total of 11 hours just to charge the batteries. It has now been running for 42 hours as we’ve motored through the ITCZ and finally went off at 9.30 this morning as the wind started to fill in from the East. The mainsail went up for the first time since leaving Capetown and the wind is strengthening. We aren’t making our course yet but as the wind gradually backs to the NE we’ll get back on course.

We saw our first ship yesterday, in fact we saw two. There have been several on the AIS recently but they were the first ones we’ve had a visual on. Will need to keep a better look out.

I made a stir fry last night. I sliced up half an onion, half a red pepper, half a green pepper and ‘matchsticked’ a carrot. Stirfry with a chicken breast sliced. I then added a jar of basil, garlic and chilli stir fry sauce from Thailand and some noodles. All cooked in about 10 minutes. YUM.

Bill ate his last apple last night in celebration of our equator crossing, I had some grapes – or they were until they were made into wine. Haha.

Finally a very Happy Birthday to my little sister Amanda. Enjoy your last year of being forty something! See in May, lots of love. XX

All well on board. ๐Ÿ™‚

The blog goes through to facebook but we can’t see facebook or your comments. I’ll catch up with them all in the Caribbean. If you wish to email us please use mdqf6 @ sailmail.com (take out the gaps) Stay safe everyone.

South Africa to the Caribbean – day 45

Our position at 10.00 (12.00 GMT) Monday 6th March was
00 35.1S
036 17W
on a course of 300T with 30% cloud cover.
Our 24 hour run from 10.00 yesterday to 10.00 today was 136 miles. Average 5.6kts. We have 1614 miles to go to Barbados

We are now entering our third week at sea with probably another week or two to go, hoping to arrive in Barbados around 18th. This will have been our longest passage to date and it WON’t be repeated. We left Simonstown 7 weeks ago so we haven’t done badly considering we have to cross a quarter of the globe in 4 months. We have caught up with our desire to do 500 miles a week after our stay in St Helena

We lost the wind at 3pm yesterday when the wind suddenly swang round to the north and died and have motored through the night. So this is the doldrums. Yesterday afternoon we motored through what felt like a black corridor, then the cloud cleared to reveal blue skies before the next black cloud rolled in. So far there hasn’t been any thunder and lightening just heavy rain showers. This morning I woke to blue skies and sunshine. We are still south of the equator and hope to cross that later tonight or tomorrow morning. The grib files show light winds for the next 24 hours so we are going to take the twizzle rig down later today.

The watermaker has been on all night so I did some washing this morning.

I also made bread this morning but after my last wonderful effort today’s wasn’t very good, it didn’t rise. Maybe it’s too hot here I don’t know. It tastes nice just a bit heavy. It will make nice toast.

For dinner last night we had …. guess, yes chicken curry although I just opened a jar of Korma and added it to some chicken served with rice, so easy.

Good luck to Tintin and Divanty who were leaving Cape town this morning. Safe sailing guys. x

All well on board. ๐Ÿ™‚

The blog goes through to facebook but we can’t see facebook or your comments. I’ll catch up with them all in the Caribbean. If you wish to email us please use mdqf6 @ sailmail.com (take out the gaps) Stay safe everyone.

South Africa to the Caribbean – day 44

Our position at 10.00 (12.00 GMT) Sunday 5th March (just noticed my days of the week were out)was 01 55S
034 00W
on a course of 300T with dark squally skies.
Our 24 hour run from 10.00 yesterday to 10.00 today was 135 miles. Average 5.6kts. We have 1747 miles to go to Barbados

After yesterdays squally start the rest of the day was spent sailing with our twizzle rig with a south east F3. As soon as the wind changes, and looks as though it will stay, we will takes the poles down and put up the main but at the moment the gribs are giving us yet another 24 hours.

There were further squalls in the evening with more wind but, thankfully, no thunder and lightening. Each time the wind would disappear for half an hour or so and our speed would be down to 3 – 4kts but we persevered and eventually it came back. Still no need to motor. We’ve only ran the engine for a total of 11 hours since leaving St Helena and that’s only been for charging the batteries. This morning, at almost the same time as yesterday, more black cloud rolled in from the north carrying torrential rain but this time the wind was blowing in the right direction so I didn’t have to run with it. I sat in the cockpit under the cover with my umbrella up to keep me from getting wet from the rain blowing in from behind. We are now officially in the doldrums aka ITCZ (inter tropical convergence zone).

I ran the net this morning with the rain pouring down outside and everyone seemed well. Ganash is through the ITCZ and reporting good NE trade winds on the other side, MariekeIII had a day of motoring so are about 60 miles ahead of us, Antares has left the Fernando islands and is about 60 miles behind us (not for long) and Norsa and Solstice had just arrived at the anchorage in the Fernando group so they have a few days off. We chose not to stop because it’s expensive but with the good weather forecast we have I think we would have kept going any way.

Last night I sat in the cockpit having my half way party for one (Bill has to go to bed early so I can get him up at 1am to take over the watch) with my glass of wine, just one, and my last Crunchie, saved for the occasion. I had my 70s disco music playing on my ipod, I had to be careful not to start singing and wake Bill up. In between squalls, the quarter moon peeked out from the clouds and sprinkled moon dust on the tops of the waves; at the same time a pod of dolphins came to visit, the phosphorescence made them look like torpedo’s darting back and forth under the boat. Magical times.

For dinner I cooked the steaks which we had with some frozen wedges baked in the oven. The steaks were lovely having come from Woolworths (think M&S) in South Africa but not the same without a nice salad.

All well on board. ๐Ÿ™‚

The blog goes through to facebook but we can’t see facebook or your comments. I’ll catch up with them all in the Caribbean. If you wish to email us please use mdqf6 @ sailmail.com (take out the gaps) Stay safe everyone.

South Africa to the Caribbean – day 43

Our position at 10.00 (12.00 GMT) Friday 4th March was
02 57S
032 05W
on a course of 310T with sunny skies.
Our 24 hour run from 10.00 yesterday to 10.00 today was 132 miles. Average 5.5kts.
We have 1899 miles to go to Barbados “Whoo we’re going to Barbados” can’t remember the rest of the words to the old song.

I put our clock back 1 hour yesterday to bring us in line with the daylight. As we’ve gradually made our way north west towards the equator we are back to 12 hours days but instead of getting light at 6am and dark at 6pm it was becoming later and not getting light until 7am plus the other boats had all changed their clocks to Fernando time so we followed suit.

We watched the clouds marching across the horizon yesterday to our north passing us by until just after dark a big black cloud crossed behind us taking all our wind. We wallowed around for an hour or two before our speed gradually picked back up again.

On the evening net Ganash who is 100 or so miles north of us was reporting NE squalls with strong gusts, Marieke III is only 35 miles south of us and was motoring as the squall that had taken our wind had also taken his, Solstice and Norsa are about 130 miles behind us and still enjoying south east trade winds and Antares had anchored safely next to WOW in the Fernando islands. I envy their complete nights sleep.

It felt like I had a bit of a lay in this morning getting up at 6am because that would have been 7am in the old time. Bill went back to bed while I took a watch. I sat there watching the clouds slowing form into a huge BLACK cloud bank to the north of us on our starboard side. At first it looked like it was going to miss us and go behind but then the wind started coming from the NE, it was the NE trade wind breaking through the ICTZ. The one disadvantage of the twizzle rig is it can’t take a wind shift so I put the auto pilot on (the hydrovane wouldn’t be able to control the boat in such a wind shift) and started to run with the wind in a south west direction – the wrong direction. The cloud split and enveloped us on both sides bringing with it heavy rain. I quickly shut all the hatches and stood on the steps watching the instruments. There was nothing I could do, poor little Camomile was running as fast as she could making 8kts. The black dark cloud passed over us like a thick cloak and I could see blue sky all around the horizon. We are supposed to be on a course of 310 degrees but now we were heading 260! Eventually the rain stopped and the cloud cleared leaving behind higher whiter cloud and I spent the next half hour gradually bringing Camomile back on course as the wind moved back to the east then east south east and our course was 305 degrees. All this had taken about 2 hours and Bill was still asleep. (I have to say normally it’s the other way round)

After all that we reached the waypoint north of Fernando and I advantaged the course onto the next one just south of Barbados 1905 miles to go

BUT

we are half way now. Half way from St Helena to Barbados and half way between Cape Town and Florida. So we are having a half way party today. I’ve got some steaks out of the freezer.

I made fish crumble last night. The piece of fish I had bought in St Helena had cut into 3 pieces, we had 2 last Friday but the last piece wasn’t enough for both of us on its own so I skinned it and cut it into cubes spreading it around the bottom of an ovenproof dish, then I took a tin of prawns I had bought in the Seychelles and sprinkled them over the top then added 2 x hard boiled eggs cut into quarters. I don’t have any capers (don’t like any way) but had some little gherkins in the fridge so cut up 3 of those. It was starting to look nice and colourful. Then I chopped up half an onion and a couple of cloves of garlic and fried them in a little butter. Add a cup of white wine and some cornflour to thicken – not too thick not too runny, and poured that gently over the fish. Sprinkle with dill, salt and pepper. Now take half a cup of flour and rub in some knobs of butter and add a hand full of grated cheese and stir. Sprinkle that over the fish filling and pop in the oven for half an hour – delicious. I served on top of a portion of sliced carrots in a bowl as always.

All well on board. ๐Ÿ™‚

The blog goes through to facebook but we can’t see facebook or your comments. I’ll catch up with them all in the Caribbean. If you wish to email us please use mdqf6 @ sailmail.com (take out the gaps) Stay safe everyone.

South Africa to the Carribean – day 42

Our position at 10.00 (11.00 GMT) Thursday 3rd March was
04 01S
030 11W
on a course of 310T with sunny skies.
Our 24 hour run from 10.00 yesterday to 10.00 today was 145 miles. Average 6kts.
We have 136 miles to go to a waypoint about 10 miles north of Fernando de Noronha.

Another down wind sailing day with speeds from 5.5kts and up to 7kts in our familiar F3. The forecast gives us another 24 hours again. Still hot.

We have decided we aren’t stopping at the Fernando islands and have changed our course to a waypoint about 10 miles north of the islands so we are well clear of them after dark this evening. Our next stop will be Barbados another 1700 miles – deep joy.

Didn’t get any birds or, more importantly, lightening, last night. The squall that hit WOW has hopefully moved on. WOW are anchored at Fernando checking their boat over.

Started getting a moon in the evening now. When you’re land based you don’t notice the phases of the moon but I always know what phase the moon is in and when the next full or dark moon is. It makes such a difference at sea to have the moonlight, especially as we get closer to Brazil and have more chance of fishermen being out here.

Big congratulations to our friends Tom and Susie on Adina who have just completed their circumnavigation in Grenade. Getting excited and looking forward to completing ours next month. ๐Ÿ™‚

I made chicken curry again last night (can you tell it’s Bill’s favourite, he always suggests it if I ask)

All well on board. ๐Ÿ™‚

The blog goes through to facebook but we can’t see facebook or your comments. I’ll catch up with them all in the Caribbean. If you wish to email us please use mdqf6 @ sailmail.com (take out the gaps) Stay safe everyone.

South Africa to the Caribbean – day 41

Our position at 10.00 (11.00 GMT) Thursday 2nd March was
05 27S
028 18W
on a course of 305T with 1 – 2 meter swell and broken cloud.
Our 24 hour run from 10.00 yesterday to 10.00 today was 147 miles. Average 6.1kts our best since leaving st Helena.
We have 264 miles to go to Fernando de Noronha, which is our half way point, but it’s looking more and more likely we won’t stop and will continue on to Barbados.

Still sailing with the twin headsails up, not sure for how much longer but Bill reviews the weather daily and keeps saying another day of the same tomorrow. As we get nearer to the ITCZ our plan is to sail as far as we can before the wind stops. Then there are 2 schools of thought, go in close to the Brazilian coast and pick up the current that is supposed to be there to give you more speed but after crossing the equator further west you run the risk of having head winds OR alternatively from our position start heading towards the equator and cross the ITCZ at its narrowest point between 30 – 32W, as recommended by Jimmy Cornell, even though we may have a couple of days motoring. We are unlikely to get current but have more chance of favourable winds. Looking at the grib files the NE trades are tantalisingly close but we just need to get through the doldrums first. We’ve decided to do the latter, we would rather forgo a current than a good wind. The net is divided and in fact 3 are going one way and three the other so it will be interesting to compare notes on ‘the other side’.

More flashes of lightening in the distance to the north last night, which is not good. Our friends on the catamaran WOW were hit by a 30kts+ squall last night and lightening hit the water very close to them taking out their wind instruments although they are fine. They are about 150 miles in front of us but it shows the weather is out there.

ALERT ALERT not for my sister Angela to read!

The birds have arrived!! Our friends in the boats ahead of us are reporting Sooty terns roosting on their solar panels overnight. Last night I heard a noise in the dark and switched the torch on and shone it at the solar panel, sure enough their were several of them sitting in a row looking at me looking at them looking at me. When Bill got up he tried to scare them off but they just kept flying off and coming back again. In the end he left them as they had their bums hanging over the edge and weren’t pooping on the solar panels. I thought if my sister was here she would’ve jumped overboard, what do you think Ang? Haha

I was lazy last night and just shoved some wedges in the oven which we had with sausage, baked beans and an egg. It was nice though the sausages were locally made in St Helena (for the cruisers behind us if you see some get them), the baked beans were from the last tin of Heinz so it was divided into 3 x thirds to make them last, 2/3 in the fridge, and the egg was a free range one again from St Helena so all sort of healthy?

I baked bread today which smelt, felt and tasted like real bread. Really pleased with it. Also made flapjacks.

All well on board. ๐Ÿ™‚

The blog goes through to facebook but we can’t see facebook or your comments. I’ll catch up with them all in the Caribbean. If you wish to email us please use mdqf6 @ sailmail.com (take out the gaps) Stay safe everyone.

South Africa to the Caribbean – day 40

Our position at 10.00 (11.00 GMT) Wednesday 1st March was
06 45S
026 16W
on a course of 308T with 1 – 2 meter swell and broken cloud.
Our 24 hour run from 10.00 yesterday to 10.00 today was 140 miles. Average 5.8kts getting better. We have 407 miles to go to Fernando de Noronha, which is our half way point.

Still holding the wind, which considering it was forecast to drop a few days ago, is good. We saw our first ship on the AIS yesterday afternoon but it was 15 miles away so couldn’t see it. Bill also saw a flash of lightening in the distance to the north, which is not good. Possibly a sign of things to come. The wind picked up to F4 overnight so Bill reefed some of the twin headsails away before he went off watch. By the time he got up the wind was back to F3 so they came out again.

Unfortunately that bit of extra wind increased the swell slightly making the boat roll more causing any unsuspecting object to levitate from one side of the boat to the other if it wasn’t tied down; including me. The aeropress went over last night before I had a chance to put the top on. It was unbelievable how the equivalent of one cup of coffee could go so far, it was every where and the coffee grounds are so difficult to wipe up. I managed to clear most of it away with the red light on but I found more coffee grounds down the side of the cupboard this morning. It had also gone down my leg but luckily it didn’t burn.

Another milestone this morning and that was we passed 466 miles to go to Fernando which is three quarters of the way. The Navionics micro chip in the chartplotter was also changed to ‘central and south America’.

The heat is making it increasingly difficult to sleep in the day time and I’m gradually getting more and more tired. Another week or so to go yet.

After 4 days the missing vessel checked in with the net last night after the port control at St Helena emailed him, he said he hadn’t been able to hear me but I suspect he had been turning his radio on at the wrong time. Any way at least they were OK. I was probably worrying over nothing but the rescue services said it was better to alert them to a possible problem than not.

Last night I made Passionate Pork casserole – the only reason it’s passionate is because it’s supposed to have passion fruit juice in it but as I haven’t got any so I put tropical juice in instead. It was very nice, fry an onion and some garlic, I then added some really nice pork fillet I had picked up in SA cut into cubes to seal. Then add 200ml of passata, 200ml of juice, 1 tbsp of honey, chop up a piece of ginger (I use stem ginger in syrup)and stir that in with salt and pepper, simmer for about 40 or 50 minutes and serve with rice. It’s a sort of sweet and sour dish.

All well on board. ๐Ÿ™‚

The blog goes through to facebook but we can’t see facebook or your comments. I’ll catch up with them all in the Caribbean. If you wish to email us please use mdqf6 @ sailmail.com (take out the gaps) Stay safe everyone.

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