Ascension Northwards - Day Five 04 16.541S 024 26.900W

Mike and Liz Downing
Fri 18 Apr 2014 17:22
Another good day with winds around 10-15kts. Our speed has stayed around 6kts. It dropped to 5.5 on occasions, but has been up to 7kts on occasions too (which feels like we're racing along). It's been another lovely clear night and sunny day, so we've been lucky to dodge the rain that others have had. Our noon-to-noon run was 151.6 miles and since leaving Ascension we've sailed 658 miles. There's a reason to celebrate today - we have less than 2,500 miles to go to St Lucia (2410 to be precise!).

Back to those birds. Firstly I scored low on ornithology as they weren't petrels but Black Noddies (both quite dainty birds). To be fair, they were right at the back of the solar panels, they are black and it was dark! But they did return last night and came much closer so I got the book out. We assume it was the same two as they started off perching just where they had left from yesterday morning. We must have covered 80 or more miles since they left and although that's not much for sea birds to travel, they did have to find us again, so we were quite impressed. However, they did not come alone - they brought the family along too - another 4! So we had 6 Noddies hitching a ride - 4 on the solar panels, one on the radar dome and one on the mainsail (which is down and the best spot). They arrived just after dusk and stayed all night, leaving this morning as the sun came up - and after breakfast I was out with the bucket and sponge cleaning the boat up! Cleaning the solar panels is the worst job as I have to climb up the frame we have on he stern of the boat and use a telescopic thing for cleaning windows to get to the back. Not easy on a boat that's rolling along down wind! We were good to them last night. We even turned the wind generator off so they didn't get harmed by the blades (and if truth be known, to prevent the blades being damaged - not what we want in mid-ocean and not at £300 a set!). Will they come back again tonight, and if they do, will they bring the extended family along too - a whole flock perhaps?! We'll be ready if they do - we've dug out a small garden hand spray that we have. It shoots water quite a distance, so they'll get a bath if nothing else. Hopefully that will keep them away from places we don't want them to stay. We shall see!

radio email processed by SailMail
for information see: