Sorry for the rather long silence. No need to worry though. Team Moondance
is alive and well. We have had a few challenging days. A big low dropped on
us, stealing all our wind and bringing lots of heavy rain and nasty squalls.
never too muc hwind, but ugly skies, no sun, and lots of water dumping on
us. So much for the original plan of staying just a bit north of the ITCZ
until we saw a good gap to shoot for. When this low hit it seemed like as
good a time as any to do whatever we could to get south. That turned out to
be harder than it sounds. We have been making very slow progress, and often
end up getting dragged north by the swell and current when the wind shuts
down completely (which has been pretty often). The NE trades seemed to be
pretty weak for us so far this year, so I'm not too bothered by our change
of plan for our route. It is somewhat unconventional though. The last GRIB
we got (saturday) showed this low dissipating, the ITCZ moving into its
place, and shifting south over the next couple of days. We are in a good SE
breeze now, so hopefully we can ride it down in front of the convergence
zone. Otherwise, the ITCZ looks like it will move south over us and bring a
few days (most likely more) of light and variable wind as well as more
squalls. Blegh. We'll see what happens with that.
Big news: Yesterday we were visited by a helicopter! We were down below,
waiting for the cockpit to dry out after a squall when we heard a loud and
unexpected noise that definitely was not coming from Moondance. We look out
the hatch and are shocked to see a bright orange helicopter coming our way.
They circled four times before flying back to the south where they came
from. We checked the AIS and found the Ventuari on a course to pass well
south of us. I guess they were bored and wanted to check out what was
drifting so slowly across their radar screens. Ships you expect, but it was
quite a shock to see a little helicopter this far out from land.