Day 230, Year 5 Windy, Windy, Windy
Date: Sunday, June 13, 2010
Weather: Sunny, Winds SSE 30-35 Knots
Location: Ampanasia Bay, NW Madagascar

The weather forecast is for four to five more days of this over-the-top windy weather. Graham on the South Africa Maritime Mobil Net tells us that a 1030 high is sitting at 36S and 63E (as far south as South Africa and almost directly south of Mauritius) and that it plans to sit there for a few more days before moving on. This high normally sits much further south and it creates the SE trade winds, which in normal conditions provide the wind we need to sail the Southern Indian Ocean. In this case, it has moved much further north than normal, pushed there by lows in the deep southern ocean. So it is this high that is far, far away from us, but much closer than normal, that is causing our problems. In the meantime we are stuck here in Ampanasia Bay. (Note: Ampanasia Bay is also known as Jenkinson Bay and Ampanasinah Bay. It is the second little bay from the top of Madagascar.) We can’t even get the dinghy off the deck and even if we could it would be too dangerous to runabout in the bay. The strong gusts and waves could flip you over. Ed launched his dinghy last night out of desperate need. We had some epoxy that cures under water and he needed it to try to stop the leak in Constance. But even though he needs some tools from us to continue his repair work, he doesn’t dare try to come over again until the weather settles. At least the sun is shining. I did laundry today but couldn’t hang it outside because of the wind. I do have some wonderful clips that fit over our stainless handrails just outside the cockpit, so I was able to hang a few things that way. The other pieces are dripping and hopefully drying in the shower stall. I also worked on editing and naming photos. This is a perfect job for right now as we have unlimited power from the wind generator. We haven’t had to run the engine to charge the batteries since our second day of passage, so I can keep the computer on non-stop. This is a luxury that we have never had before. I guess our wind generator likes Indian Ocean wind. Mark spent his day ticking off chores on his list–replace the blocks on the traveler, replaced blocks on the Jyb-Easy, worked on oven pilot light, investigate why our instrument panel is no longer displaying engine hours (maybe we have traveled too many miles), seal the auto pilot cockpit controller with silicon, and on and on. He was a busy man today.

The news from Constance is that the leak is now down to a dribble but not completely stopped yet. The impact from whatever they hit was hard enough to move the cabinetry on the port side of Constance three inches toward the center of the boat. In order to continue to investigate the damages, Ed has to remove a wall that runs behind their settee. To do this, he needs a saw from us but we can’t get it to him. We just have to wait for a lull in the wind and hope that comes sooner than predicted. Ed and Lynne seem to be in amazingly good spirits considering the damage and clean-up from the water that got into the main cabin. Ed also has a number of other little things that broke along the way, so like Mark, he has plenty to keep him busy. When I talked with Lynne this morning she told me that her beautiful basil and arugula plants were killed by the saltwater that constantly blew into their cockpit during the passage. She was so proud of the basil that she had re-rooted from original plants that had turned woody. Her new plants were looking really good. I lost the plants in the pots hanging from our arch on the back of the boat, but since that was an experiment, I wasn’t upset about that and the ones in the cockpit made it through just fine. So I’ll divide and share with Lynne.

Even here at anchor the wind is still so strong that we are heeling over during the gusts. That means that even walking around the boat is still a hazardous sport. This morning I made biscuits for breakfast. I put the required butter and blueberry jam on the table and walked away. When I returned the blueberry jam had slid off the table and on to the embroidered silk settee cover I brought for myself for my birthday while in India. I love this cover and was devastated to think that my stupidity of setting something down and expecting it to stay there might have ruined it. Luckily the blue stain came right out but hopefully I have learned my lesson. Another not so bright human error also caused another bigger mess in our forward bathroom. We have four milk crates of food stacked in there along with countless other plastic boxes of crackers and granola, cardboard storage boxes containing our old freezer condenser and bottles of water, many individually wrapped rolls of toilet paper, packages of paper towels, and so on. Well, one of the containers of crackers bounced during one of our rogue wave experiences yesterday and turned on the water in the sink. It was just turned on a little, but over the course of the day, the sink filled and sloshed water all over everything in the bathroom including all of the food in the plastic milk crates. Most everything was vacuum packed but things that weren’t were wet inside the packaging. All of the packages of spaghetti noodles had parts of them that were water logged as well as the hard taco shells and a few packages of crackers. I opened each package of spaghetti (10 in all), removed the dry noodles and threw out the soggy ones. I did the same with the hard taco shells and crackers. A little foresight could have kept this from happening, but that’s what we learn in hindsight. We should have just shut off the pressure water while on passage. I use the foot pump in the galley and we only need pressure water for showers. So we could have turned it on just for showers and avoided any possibility of a leaky faucet in rough conditions. We will do this in the future. This was a lesson learned the hard way. For the second time in five years I also had to re-shelve all the books on the v-berth starboard book shelf. The first time they tumbled down was on our maiden voyage to St. Martin in the Caribbean. In that case, books on both sides of the v-berth were jumbled on the v-berth mattress along with water that came in through the forward Dorade vent. What a mess that was. We now seal that vent when in passage and we installed very sturdy straps that hold the books in place. Well, at least they held the books in place for almost five years. Yesterday’s little jaunt fixed that.