Day 224, Year 5 Passage to Madagascar, Day 5
Date: Monday, June 7, 2010
Weather: Overcast, Squally Night & Day; SE Winds 20-24
Latitude: 09 degrees 05.600 minutes S
Longitude: 061 degrees 59.415 minutes E
Miles to Go: 796

The last twenty-four hours have been our most challenging for this passage. Until noon yesterday we hadn’t made any adjustments to sails since leaving Chagos. We reefed the headsail yesterday to slow ourselves down to stay within sight of Constance, but shortly after sending the log in the evening, the decision was made to go on so we will have a chance of making it through the Saya Banks during the daylight hours tomorrow. We had a squally night with no rain, just wind, and then a squally day today with rain and low visibility alternating with periods with almost no wind. So we certainly haven’t left Constance in the dust. They are about 15 miles behind us now and we are still in VHF radio contact. They have had totally different weather from us. While we were overcast all day, they were in sunshine. The clouds are starting to clear where we are and the sun is shining brightly so maybe we are through the ugly weather for now. We still might make the banks by afternoon tomorrow. These are shallow areas and the pass we will go through can have a lot of current and be a bit rough, so we do hope to go through during daylight hours. We can then radio conditions back to Constance. So the miles are ticking away. Once through the banks we have four to six days of sailing to reach the east coast of Madagascar and then we head over the top. We’re getting closer but not at the half-way point yet.

We have had a bit of drama with our email the past two days. We have been able to send emails, but we can’t receive. We receive short emails but when it comes to the longer ones, like GRIB files, we get a strange error message. We haven’t been able to get a GRIB file for 48 hours so we tuned into a South African radio net this afternoon. The net controller is a man named Graham and he was glad to hear from boats in the Indian Ocean. Now that he knows where we are he will have more specific weather for us tomorrow. In the meantime, we are emailing Winlink and trying to figure out the problem.

Another cargo ship just passed behind us and we have seen a few birds today. Otherwise, our time has been spent adjusting sails and keeping ourselves on course. So I have no Madagascar science lesson today. Maybe tonight will be a calmer night and I’ll get some research reading time.

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