Day 13 Saturday 16 December 2006
The wind gradually dropped during the afternoon and evening to 14 knots, but the swell remained. The sun did eventually make a bit of an appearance, but did not achieve to sunbathing level. I did the little bit of washing to keep it up to date and read my book.
Some days I can take the swell ok, others I get annoyed with it, this was probably somewhere between, but heading for the annoyed side. I worked out that with just a short deviation from course, one way and then the other, this could add 2 days on to the trip, maybe more. The wind keeps going dead downwind and I have to gybe from one side to the other.
The first half of the trip I was very good with the diesel and the water and not motoring, or using the engine for power. Having proven that I can do it and had enough resources left to do the rest of the trip I have decided to not be so hard on myself. There is plenty of diesel and the watermaker now works, use it all to make life more comfortable.
Last night there was no Herb on the radio. I had wondered what would happen if he wanted a day off, it is afternoon where he is, he must surely have a trainee in the wings. No, on Friday night all he said was – I won t be on frequency tomorrow. That s it, no reason, no excuse; did he have a doctors appointment, is he ill, what? So there was this hole in my program at 8 til 9. I listened to Voice of America for a bit, which is better than the BBC World Service.
Then I watched a DVD, Notorious a Hitchcock film which was not scary. I did seem to spend most of the night having nightmares, but nothing to do with the film this was more swimming pools and crocodiles. I was up constantly in the early hours to change tack. Once I sat there for half an hour while the wind went from NE all the way round and back to NE. I think it might have been a squall that didn t happen because it tried to rain.
I had just got over the worry of flying fish coming at me and there it was. The fish must have flow high, or come out of one of the still very big waves and came over the top and landed in the cockpit at my feet. It was probably more scared than I was, I have seen fish before, but not this close; whereas he had probably never been on a boat before. I tried to pick it up by the tail to throw it back, but kept dropping it. In the end I put a cloth over its eyes and managed to send it back, but it was very still this time. It could have died, either of fright or from keep bashing its head on the floor. Just think if it had been a bit later I would not have seen it in time and I would have gone out to change course and trodden on it. I do check in front of me with the torch for such things usually, but I could have forgotten.
Spent the morning making cheese straws and a loaf, just a quick one as I had to knead it single handed. My thumb is much better now, I have taken it out of the plaster because it was not looking good, I just have to keep it clean.
The wind has now dropped to 10 knots and below as promised and it is much calmer.
Despite the wind dropping in the early hours to 8 knots I still managed 110 miles yesterday, actually contributing 104 to my track.