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Date: 15 Dec 2010 11:13:42
Title: Voyage to Verde Islands - Day4 - Half way there!

15:12.10, 21:28.65N 19:41.25W
 
I think the order of the last 2 days of the blog got messed up - never mind, will sort it out when we get there.
 
Tuesday was a day of watching the forecasts, by about 2 in the afternoon the wind calmed right down again as did the sea, although this did mean slower progress, we had been shooting along at 7 knots before that.  However - tonight a low is due to come in south of the canaries - we had seen this on the forecast before we set off but we are now 400 miles south of the canaries and it wasn't showing as coming this far - but the forecast has changed a little and it was due to come in lower.  We had changed our course to ensure we were clear.
 
It has been really useful talking to John and Alex yesterday and today - they are the couple I mentioned who we are near to - it is working quite well as we can get one type of weather info via the Sat Phone, and they have SSB radio so can tune into a network covering the weather so we can compare notes and do our best to avoid the dreaded south westerlies.  Apart from that though - having a chat a couple of times a day is nice when you're this far from anything.
 
When we have been out here it gets all pretty much into the routine of running the boat, cooking, sleeping, putting sails up, taking sails down etc - however, we were both chatting about this passage yesterday - it has to go down as one of our best moments of 2010 to be out on the ocean, sailing at night under a blanket of the brightest stars that we have ever seen, listening to favourite music on the iPod and watching the Gemonids meteorite shower which generated loads of shooting stars - some of them very bright and very low (thanks mum for the correct astronomical term!).  That's not a bad way to spend a Monday night.  Adam and Alex both saw meteorites that lit up the sky as much as flares and I saw one that looked like it only went out a few hundred metres up - it was a white and green ball of light, I was thinking at the time I was glad it didn't land on the boat.
 
Updating this entry now at midnight on Tuesday when the alleged strong winds were supposed to hit - the news is we are becalmed absolutely - 1knot of wind showing on the instruments and a glassy sea, we think we have indeed missed the strong winds and are in a band of no wind so we'll motor overnight and see if we can get any wind tomorrow. Our forecast shows light winds so we are hoping we have enough to sail otherwise the second half of our 800 mile trip may well take longer than the first - good job we have lots of food on board!  We won't be jumping off the boat and going for a swim though - we've heard the story of people who do that and forget to put the ladder down so can never get back on again! (OK maybe that was a film)
 
 It is very warm here tonight being so still, we had an east wind blowing in the afternoon until it all died - by dusk the visibility was like a light red fog which is apparently saharan dust blown off the land.  It did give a certain spooky feel to the evening which was enhanced by some very strange voices over the VHF. Lots of ships also appeared at dusk - all at once, assuming that they have perhaps come out of Cap Blanc on the coast or maybe travelling up from Dakar.
 
Wednesday morning as I write this now and (touch wood) we have missed the Strong SW winds - we have light winds but managed to turn the engine off this morning and get sailing - not very quick but it is a beautiful sunny day with flat seas so there are no complaints here - it's bikini weather.  We have heard that some of the other boats north of us did get hit by the winds and squalls last night - 25 to 30 knots from the SW which is not nice conditions to be in at all.  I have even got out the old sextant today - I have no excuses for not doing my Yachtmaster ocean preparation and getting all the sightings that I have to do done - may as well do them when it is nice and calm and sunny.
 
Off on a bread making effort now, we had bought loads of part baked baguettes which we have been eating - but should really save them for when bread making is not possible.

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