Thursday, September 3rd, 2015
W. Eric Faber
Thu 3 Sep 2015 03:23
Daily run: 139 logged miles
The good weather is keeping us in good spirits and tanning our feeble bodies. Despite the light winds from the Southwest, we are making reasonable progress, although well off our desired westerly course. All night we have been sailing close-hauled west north west in a gentle 8 knot breeze from the west south west, so this morning we put the engine on at 11.30am and set a course of 270 degrees, hoping for the wind to change direction and increase a little in strength. We shall have to wait and see. The nights are truly spectacular without any clouds anywhere and a sky bespangled with stars until the moon comes up late in the evening to give us pleasant night vision.
The AIS (Automatic Identification System) alerted us just after midnight of a ship approaching on a reciprocal course. The AIS warned us of collision and as the ship made no attempt to change course, we tacked to get out of its way. Whereas we had been seeing its port lights, it now showed its starboard lights. In other words, it had changed course and seemingly intent on ramming us. We put the engine on ready to manoeuvre out of its way should the vessel be coming on top of us. We now changed course again, but in the opposite direction with the foresail flapping and the engine pushing us along. We then noticed that the vessel must be border patrol boat as it now motored along side at the same speed. The vessel certainly looked like a patrol vessel, but it might have called us on the radio to alert us of their intention to come and have a look. During the day we had been visited twice by low overflying propeller-driven aeroplanes and heard them on the radio communicating with one of the ARC boats. Australia certainly make an impressive effort to patrol their territorial waters and then to think that they must have the longest coastline of any country in the world…