Day 9 to SA

Beez Neez
Skipper and First Mate Millard (Big Bear and Pepe)
Sat 9 Nov 2019 06:00
25:51.643 S  35:42.388 E
 
Day 9 to SA
 
 
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05:50 sunrise. I send the blog and position report to Des at six and trot into the office on waking at ten to see what he says.
 
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Something is coming.....
 
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Outside it was a sunny morning in a light wind. I opened the back conservatory door to get a bit of fresh air in and a red-footed chap was sitting where Bobby used to love to rest. He stared at me in the same way.
 
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The outside of the door was covered in his white calling card and all over the Hydrovane platform.....
 
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Bear watched our overnight passenger, who at half seven gave himself a really good preen and set off skyward.
 
At ten our email from Des told us we would clip the edge of a sprawling system and to expect winds to about twenty knots starting at 09:00 UTC (eleven local time). I had Bear check the GRIB files and we could indeed see the size of the system with some angry orange, Beez Neez does not like orange and loathes red bits, same for us but It Is What It Is. 
 
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By eleven thirty the swell began to pick up and Serafina went from behind the waves to riding high.......
 
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.....completely disappearing at times.
 
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At midday Bear went to drop the main and a broken batten car bit his nose. Cleaned up it was not too bad but a bit sore.
 
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We tidied unnecessary ‘stuff’ from the cockpit and Bear enjoyed beef perencah (Malay dish) with rice and then slept on his back as not to rub his beak – stentorian was the noise coming from him, so much so, I had to put my little IPod on at full volume.
 
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I had the pleasure of watching a chum on the chartplotter. They seem to take forever to come into view and pass.
 
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Once they pass they disappear really quickly. This is Hoegh Trader heading for MG TMM (Toamasina in Madagascar). Her speed was 17.1 knots, bearing 121 degrees, length 229 metres, hips 33 metres and her draught was 8 metres. I was thrilled when she tooted her horn as she passed by. She had slowed a little and turned a little more to her right to pass at a half a mile off. Chuffed to have seen her.
I went for a rest at two (no backgammon today) and by four the wind noise in the rigging said “all hands on deck” before Bear poked his nose in the bedroom saying here it comes. 
Now is the time to begin singing as loud as possible “Oh what a night” by Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.........
The system came in hot and hard and within minutes we were in winds between 25 and 28 knots with gusts every minute to around 33, our biggest 38.1, the benign sea began to heap but not in an angry way. Bear took the decision to hove to of a sort with the engine on to keep us in place. At the time of writing we have managed to drift sideways to the west by twenty five miles. Draw a tick with a curly bottom and we did the bottom.
 
Fred took off like a rocket as soon as the wind grew saying he wanted to head for the coast. All well and good so long as he doesn’t face wind over tide after the system has finished. We were always advised to stay east of 36 degrees east so that’s why we did what we did. Poor Zoa and Bonnie have been in this eight hours longer than us. We lost VHF radio contact with Fred at 20:00 but know he is in SSB contact with Mick on Zoa. Hope to get his position soon.
 
I sat and stared at the chartplotter for five hours watching Heo Cheong (a Chinese fishing vessel – at work in this......) who very kindly fought to put in enough left to pass behind us. Very pleased to then only stare at wind speed and direction, rather like watching the Test Card in the old BBC days. That little girl with the ........ although the chartplotter kept pulling me back every time I had to cancel the ‘off course’ alarm.
 
By 21:00 our peaks were 27 knots and the odd cheeky low of 16 but the average never left the low to middling twenties. The sea could have been SO much worse (no pictures as a weeny bit too rough and you never get the 3D effect). Strange and unlike any other stretch of water we have been on, this morning we roll almost gently from side to side as if on the Pacific Ocean. The night never reached true dark although the moon had his quilt pulled up over his head.
 
Overnight we helped each other, Bear snored, I had a couple of hours from four until six. Then he woke me from my very deep sleep to sit and type this and to Des. Growling and snapping......
 
 
 
ALL IN ALL PERKY – CONSIDERING
                     A RELATIVELY COMFORTABLE TIME