Day 126, Year 6 Atlantic Passage, Day 23-Goodbye Negative Current
Date: Sunday, February 27, 2011 (1730 UTC)
Weather: Beautiful, Sunny Day; ENE 10-15
Air Temperature: 80 degrees F
Latitude: 07 10.890 N
Longitude: 048 34.450 W
Miles Traveled: 3076 + 1878 S Africa to St. Helena
Miles to Go: 835
Location: Passage from St. Helena to Caribbean (Grenada)
Goodbye negative current, we think, we hope. Sometime between 4 and 5 am the current went from a knot and a half to only half a knot against us. And just in the last hour, it seems to have disappeared altogether. It could return, but we’ll be positive and think it is gone for good this time. Yesterday at this time we had slightly more wind and were going about 5 knots. Today with less wind we are going between 5.8 and 6.0 knots-much better. We had the first really clear night with lots of stars that we have had in days but early this morning it clouded over and we had squalls for about three hours. The squalls were mostly increased wind and changing wind direction with very little rain. It would have been nice to have more rain to wash some of the salt off Windbird, but that didn’t happen. Since 9:30 this morning, we have had a steady 10 to 15 knots of wind from the ENE. It would be a perfect sail if it weren’t for these seas. We are still being bounced around by two to three meter swells. Maybe Neptune doesn’t produce one to two meter swells in this part of the world as we haven’t seen that and the GRIBS never show anything but two to three meters.
I have a fish story from today, but unfortunately it doesn’t include catching one to eat. I was sitting in the cockpit on the midnight watch with my headlamp on working on my computer. All of sudden there was an eight-inch long flying fish flailing around on the floor of the cockpit. We have the side curtains down and I was sitting right up next to the companionway hatch, so how he flew in and landed right on my feet is a wonder to me. I tried to grab him to throw him back, but he was too slippery. I grabbed a rag that hangs on the steering column and was able to catch him with last and throw him back into the sea. I don’t know who was the most frightened, me or the flying fish. Mark is out on deck right now doing his daily walkabout and throwing over the myriad of little flying fish that accumulate on deck each day. Today the total count was 70. The other thing I saw last night for the first time was both the Southern Cross and the Big Dipper, the Southern Cross to port and the Big Dipper to starboard. I don’t imagine we’ll be seeing the Southern Cross much longer, but it has been a wonderful sailing companion. We’ll now have to start depending on the Big Dipper to guide us.