Day 110, Year 6 Atlantic Passage, Day 7-Bye-Bye Ascension
Date: Friday, February 11, 2011 (1730 UTC)
Weather: Sunny, Blue Sky/Puffy White Clouds; SE 15-20
Air Temperature: 82 (early am) – 85 (mid-day) degrees F
Latitude: 07 45.209 S
Longitude: 016 56.358 W
Miles Traveled: 851.44
Miles to Go: 2972
Location: Passage from St. Helena to Caribbean (Grenada)

Sometime during the night we passed Ascension Island. We were nearly a hundred miles off, but I could hear those turtles calling me. A stop at Ascension would have given us another opportunity to see green turtles come ashore to lay their eggs. Ascension is renowned for the number of green turtles that nest there, but other than the turtles there’s not much else of interest. Ascension, like St. Helena, and Tristan de Cuna (much further south), are islands that all sit on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. They were literally pushed up out of the sea by the volcanic action in the ridge and are all isolated and have “other-worldly” physical qualities. St. Helena is the greenest of the three, with Tristan de Cuna and Ascension being the most barren. Ascension does have one high peak that is usually in the clouds, and it is dripping green. But other than that it is a stark land. Some say that when you arrive in Clarence Bay you feel like you have just landed on another planet. The island is British and on Traveller’s Hill there is a Royal Air Force garrison with about 150 people and on Cat Hill there is a US Base with 50 US citizens. The other 700 people living on the island are most Saints from St. Helena who come there to work for the bases. The military presence is there to watch over the mass of communication antennas and man the air strip built by the US during World War II. We aren’t going to get to see all of those high antennas of all sorts that litter the island and we won’t see the turtles, but we do get another chance at seeing the turtles on the island of Culebra in Puerto Rico. And by continuing on, we are gaining days and actually are now under 3,000 miles to go. That still seems like a long distance, but we can feel the progress and it feels good..

The winds continue to be favorable and the sun is shining once again today. With all those puffy white clouds around the horizon, the Atlantic looks much bluer. It has mostly been gray since we left South Africa, so we like the change. We continue to have two meter seas and we roll from side to side, but with the sunshine it is now a most pleasant ride. The winds are down a bit from yesterday. We are moving ahead at a steady 5.5 to 6 knots with 15-20 knots of wind. We haven’t made a sail change since 3:20 pm on Monday and it appears that there is no one in the neighborhood but us, so watches are relaxed. The time I wrote in yesterday’s log for the moon rise last night was incorrect. I looked at the wrong chart on the GPS. The moon actually rises around noon right now and last night it set at about 1:30 in the early morning. But each day that time will move forward and soon we will have light through the night.