Noon position on 13th January 12 10.85N 072 58.78W

Mike and Liz Downing
Thu 14 Jan 2010 17:57
The first day's run - 18.00 Monday to 18.00 Tuesday was our best ever at 191.5 sea miles. The noon run from Tuesday noon to Wednesday noon was 159.7 miles. So we have been keeping good speed. Unfortunately the wind dropped overnight and by morning was down to 4 to 6kts (this didn't feature in the forecast). With a reasonable swell still running the genoas were collapsing (even with the poles) and filling again with a bang. So, as we are now 35 miles or so off the Colombian coast and this isn't the place to linger, the engine went on to keep up around 6kts. At 14.00 the winds came back up enough to switch off the engine and we're sailing at around 6kts with the 2 genoas up.
Had a few encounters with big ships overnight. The biggest and most awkward was a huge tanker. On AIS, which normally shows a ship's length in feet, it recorded this one's length in decimals of a nautical mile - 0.178nm! We spotted it 32 miles away when the CPA (closest point of approach) was less than half a mile. So we altered course to increase the CPA only to find that a little while later the tanker altered course by 20 degrees and the CPA was now less than 100ft. To stop all the second guessing, we called him on DSC and turned out that he was planning to change again, back to the original course. It was not an easy conversation as the radio operator could speak very little English and seemed to understand even less. In less than an hour he passed by 2 miles to the south of us. We also called up a ship called Solent, as he was coming up behind us. That was so much better. They had already seen us and were changing course to pass us. We even got to chat about the Ship's name and where it came from.  Most of the day we have been shadowing a seismic survey ship which  has bee running parallel to us and is towing a 5 mile long cable. A tropic bird came to visit today, but not for long (we've only seen a handful since being in the Caribbean) and so did a couple of dolphins, but they also went within minutes. It's been another beautiful day with hardly a cloud in the sky.
Apologies for the delay putting this up, but access to the blog was denied. The following email from the service provider explanes why!
Apologies - some twit tried to upload a 26MB picture and it filled up
the temp storage.  All sorted now


Ed W