Cape Town to St Helena - Day Nine 19 49.909S 000 02.161W

Mike and Liz Downing
Sat 22 Mar 2014 14:59
The eagle eyed will have spotted the difference! At 11.32 today we crossed the Greenwich Meridian and are back in the western hemisphere. So for a brief second all those people in the Maritime Museum in Greenwich with one foot either side of the line and looking south would have been looking straight at us as we looked north. There was only 4,268 miles between us! >From that point on our longitude in the positions we give above has started from zero again and will increase as we go further west. The longitude of St Helena is between 5 and 6 degrees west.

It was a glorious late afternoon yesterday. The sun finally came out and the wind increased very slightly to 12-14kts. With a relatively flat sea we ghosted along at a good 6kts, hardly making a ripple in a beautiful deep blue sea. It was all so quiet. The apparent wind was only 6-8kts and at that speed the wind generator not only does not generate any electricity, but its blades don't even go round. So no noise and it was quite magical. After that the wind was up and down throughout the night. For a period of 15 to 30 minutes we would be making a slow 5kts and then it would shoot up and we would be tearing along at 7.5kts for the next 15 to 30 minutes, then back to 5 again and so on. Overall though, it was much better than we expected and the noon-to-noon run was 147 miles. We're currently sailing at 4kts as the wind has gone very light, but the forecast has changed and it's suppose to slowly increase over the next 24 hours. It now suggests we should have good winds for the rest of the passage. Fingers crossed!

Rubbish! What do we do with it? Well we don't have a lot. For the first week of a passage we try and eat as much salad and fruit as we can and all the rubbish that will decompose in a reasonable time goes over the side. The big problem is plastic - everything comes in plastic containers of some form or other. So every few days the plastic containers get cut up into small pieces and go in the bin with anything else we can't throw over the side. When that gets full it goes into a black rubbish bag with a few squirts of disinfectant to keep it smelling sweet, and the bag gets taken forward and stowed in the anchor locker until we reach the next port. There's enough room in the locker for several bags, but generally we never have more than a couple.

After another very grey start again today, with 100% cloud cover, the sun is out this afternoon and the official verdict of the Aurora B crew is that it's 'warm'. There could even be a hint of 'hot' as the temperature rose to 29C. We're still well wrapped up at night, so still some way to go before being officially regarded as hot!

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