Indian Ocean Leg 2 Day Ten 16 56.565S 073 28.631E

Mike and Liz Downing
Sun 6 Oct 2013 10:49
The night didn't start too well, with the first squall hitting us before dusk, but it got much better and while there were quite a few squalls regularly showing on radar in early evening, only 3 or 4 came in our direction. The skies then cleared and it was full of stars. While not a star, it's still a surprise how bright Venus is before it disappears over the horizon. The winds stayed around 18 to 25kts and the seas eased just a little, so a relatively peaceful night and we made good progress under a well reefed working genoa. Come daybreak the winds were up a little to a steady 22 to 25kts and the seas built again. By mid morning gusts of 30kts caused a reduction in sail and the reefed genoa was replaced by the storm staysail. We've been running under that ever since, making a steady 5.5 to 6.5kts depending on the wind strength. The noon-to-noon run was 155 miles, so a good day. The forecasts are suggesting stronger winds overnight and bigger seas, so keeping the boat speed down will be key. It seems ages since the weather was good enough to actually try and sail fast! Hope it changes for the better soon. Nevertheless, we have another reason to celebrate - we now have less than 1,000 miles to go (921 miles as I write). A remarkable thing happened this morning; one of those "I Don't Believe It!" moments. We have generally still been keeping Jacaranda in VHF range (lost her a couple of times!) to transmit their position to the net (their SSB is still not transmitting well enough) and this morning we were 7 miles apart (just over the horizon and not visible in these rough conditions). Then along comes a 700ft ship, the first we have seen for several days, making a course that would go directly between us. That alone is quite remarkable, but we assumed she must have seen both our AIS signals and chosen the course to do that. But, I thought I would check, just to be sure, so I called her up. No, he had not seen the AIS signals and had no idea we were there! What are the chances of that in the middle of an ocean?! The watch took our positions and said he would keep clear, but he didn't have to change course and bisected us perfectly!

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