Day 130, Year 6 Atlantic Passage, Day 27-Slogging Along
Date: Thursday, March 3, 2011 (1730 UTC)
Weather: Partly Sunny; Winds E 15-20 knots
Air Temperature: 82 degrees F
Latitude: 10 13.262 N
Longitude: 056 33.195 W
Miles Traveled: 3592 + 1878 S Africa to St. Helena
Miles to Go: 327
Location: Passage from St. Helena to Caribbean (Grenada)

I don’t think we are going to get those consistent NE trades that we thought we’d have for this part of the trip. And even if we did, the big, sloppy seas are back and the negative current is staying strong at a knot to a knot and half. When we should be moving at 6.5 knots, we are only going 5 knots or less with full sails flying. This morning Mark thought we had a dilemma as the winds had increased overnight to 18 to 24 knots for a period of time. He was afraid that if this continued, we might start going too fast and reach Grenada in middle of the night between Saturday and Sunday. Then the winds settled down and the negative current that had lessened some through the night kicked in stronger than ever. That solved that dilemma. We aren’t sure why we are getting the winds and seas and negative current, but after listening to the celebration Bahati had as they crossed the equator two days ago, I think Neptune is unhappy with us because we didn’t give him the proper offering when we crossed this time. Both Bahati and Traversay gave offerings of scotch and rum while we just had a toast with our South African beers. If there is a next time, we will definitely pull out the rum.

We are now right on target for a Sunday morning arrival. So we have a few hours less than three full days to go. This means I won’t be in Grenada for my birthday, but it will give me one more night to try and complete the photo projects I have been working on and to get the website update ready to post. Our homepage should have been updated when we arrived Richards Bay, but that never happened. I have the various pages (homepage, updated sailing itinerary for 2009-2010, sailing itinerary for 2011, planned route for 2011) just about ready to send to our son who will get those on the website for us. It’s a little late, but better late than never.

Getting the website documents updated prompted us to spend time this afternoon taking a look at the mileages between the different Caribbean islands we are hoping to visit on our trip north from Grenada to St. Martin. And I’m still working on Windbird’s Guide for Caribbean Crazies (that’s Mark’s family that will be traveling with us beginning March 19. In addition, tonight I hope to choose the photos that will go on the homepage of the website. Trying to choose a handful of photos from India, Chagos, Madagascar, and South Africa will be no easy task. All were a photographer’s delight and choosing just the right Hindu festival photos, the best Red-footed Booby photo from Chagos, the best underwater photos from Chagos and Madagascar, the best lemur and tsingy photos from Madagascar, and the best wildlife photos from South Africa will not be an easy job. So this is how I will fill the hours left between here and Grenada. Last night I didn’t get as much done as I had hoped. During my Midnight Madness watch the winds piped up to 24 knots and kept me busy adjusting course constantly as the winds would go from 16 to 24 and then back down. Then when I came on watch at 5 am Mark pointed out a glow on the horizon to port. He assumed it was a ship, so I had to watch carefully. Just before 6 am the glow to port just suddenly disappeared. I feared it was a fishing boat that had turned off its lights, so I went below and turned on the radar. There was nothing on the screen. So I went back out into the cockpit and in a few more minutes the glow reappeared as bright lights to starboard. Now it was much closer to us. From the lights, it looked like a fishing boat rather than a cargo ship. I don’t know if the boat had turned its lights out as it passed in front of us or if it was just in a blind spot, but whatever, it now looked like it was heading toward us so I got Mark up for a second opinion on what to do. By the time we had watched for a few more minutes, it was obvious that the boat was heading south about a mile away from us. So all was well, but that little activity took an hour and half of my “work time.” I was probably more concerned than normal just because we haven’t seen anything out here for so many days. But regardless, I’m hoping for a quiet night tonight so I can watch less and work more!

Day 131, Year 6 Atlantic Passage, Day 28-Can't Get It Right
Day 129, Year 6 Atlantic Passage, Day 26-Under 500 Miles to Go