Cape Town to St Helena Day 10 - Our first green flash

Martin and Elizabeth Bevan
Sun 29 Jan 2017 03:03

Position                    17:48.89 S 003:40.45 W

Date                          2359 (UTC+2) Saturday 28 January 2017

Distance run             in 24hrs 130nm over the ground, 122nm through the water

Passage total            1506nm over the ground, 1433nm through the water

Distance to go          207nm

Planned distance      Cape Town to St Helena 1697nm


For those that have never heard of it and for those who think that it is a wind up by old salts, a green flash occurs as the sun sets.  I believe that it occurs in tropical waters.  Just as the upper limb of the sun disappears below the horizon there can be a momentary emerald green flash, or possibly just a glow.  To observe this, you require a completely clear horizon just as the sun sets.  The last time that I observed this was also in the South Atlantic but forty two years ago.  We have both been watching for this phenomena all of the way across the Pacific and Indian Oceans with no success.  Today I actually saw it, unfortunately the Mate will have to wait her turn as she was asleep at the time.


It was a slow day today, deliberately.  Whilst waiting for the wind to decrease, which it did but not until later than expected, we had to slow the boat down so that our arrival in St Helena would be after dawn on the 30th.  To try and achieve this and bearing in mind we are sailing directly downwind we reduced sail to a minimum, a treble reefed genoa and main, tacking downwind to avoid the worst of the rolling.  This worked, however towards nightfall we succumbed to the temptation of reducing the rocking and rolling and used the engine to keep us moving with the swell, and in the direction of the rhumb line.  Resupply is we hope, available in St Helena


Another excitement today, after having the visible ocean to ourselves for over a week, was to see two ships almost at the same time.  There was a car carrier heading for the Cape and the supply ship RMS St Helena heading towards St Helena from Cape Town.  On the food side, bread loaded in Cape Town having finally come to an end I baked a loaf.  The smell of baking bread filled the boat; wonderful.  (Note – not quite as creative as you might think.  A Panasonic Bread Maker was involved.  Placed on the gimbaled stove and taking advantage of solar power and the inverter).