South Atlantic - Day 2

Phil May and Andrea Twigg
Tue 8 Jan 2013 22:54
30:47.4S 014:50.5E  263 miles covered
I was a bit worried about diesel consumption this morning as we had to motor for several hours and it is still early in the passage, but eventually the wind filled in.  Now we have  an ideal 22 knots from the south which is pushing Anastasa along at around 11 knots.  The route up the west coast of Africa is obviously a busy shipping route (especially with the pirates around the Suez canal) and we have been constantly in the presence of several large container ships.  They tend to cruise at about 12 knots, so the northbound boats are overtaking us at about 1 knot, which means they have their work cut out steering clear of us as we are sailing by the wind and tend to weave about a bit in their path.  Thank goodness for the AIS system that lets everyone know exactly where we are going and how close we will get to each other.
Earlier this afternoon we encountered a survey ship approaching on our starboard bow, towing seismic instruments.  It had a lead boat that warned us not to get more than 3.5 miles either side or 9 miles behind the survey ship.  The convoy was doing 4.5 knots, so we had time to alter course to port and duck across their bows (rather than gybing and doing a 9 mile detour).  Here again it would have been impossible to judge the distances and intersections with just a pair of binoculars, and our only safe option then would have been to turn around and wait a couple of hours while they passed by.   
The stars are bright once more but it is still a bit cold to fully appreciate them.  Cape Town has a nice climate for living on the land, but you need to bundle up for a night watch at sea.  I am looking forward to getting back up in the tropics, where we can sit out in just a T shirt.