Day 222, Year 5 Passage to Madagascar, Day Three
Date: Saturday, June 5, 2010
Weather: Sunny Day; SE Winds Alternating 15-20 and 12-15 Knots
Latitude: 07 degrees 27.317 minutes S
Longitude: 066 degrees 40.345 minutes E
Miles to Go: 1,092

The Indian Ocean can be angry, but so far on this passage she has been fabulous. We continue to roll through 155 miles days averaging about 6.5 knots. This afternoon the wind has diminished but our speed is still a 6 knots due to a positive current headed our direction. The early mornings are a bit cloudy, but by 9 am the sky is a bright blue with scattered white puffy clouds. Later in the afternoon, more clouds appear and by sundown the last light of the day must peak through the clouds. Then miraculously there is a clear, starry night until after midnight when the clouds seem to return. Last night when I came on watch at 10:15 pm I was looking at the Big Dipper to starboard and the Southern Cross to port. The night sky is amazing and it makes me wish I knew more about it.

We had another big cargo ship pass in front of us this morning, but this time we saw it coming. And then in the early afternoon we spotted what looked like a fishing boat coming up from behind us. That gave us a bit of a scare as that is the technique the pirates use, but there are no pirates in this part of the ocean. We called Constance and they had another fishing boat passing in front of them. The one came within a half-mile of Windbird and it was easy to see that is was definitely a working fishing boat. In fact, it looked like it was reeling in a very long fishing net that was piled high on the aft deck. BIOT makes a bit of money each year selling permits to fishing boats from as far away as Korea, so we shouldn’t have been surprised by seeing a boat. But they are few and far between.

Mark is down at the nav station trying to listen in on a South African weather net that comes on at 4:30 pm our time. We’re just starting to try this. It is when we leave Madagascar headed for South Africa that getting these reports will be critical. For now we have Captain Jay Burgess (from New Hampshire) of the UUS Lopez stationed in Diego Garcia watching for any heavy weather for us. We made contact with him when we first arrived in Chagos and we talked to him again yesterday morning on the High Frequency radio. Thanks to Alan and Helaine Kanegsberg back in New Hampshire, we now have his email address and we can also communicate that way. We are very thankful that he will be sending us any notice of adverse weather or piracy activity during this passage.