18:13.33N 21:18.48W Are we nearly there yet?

Lady Corinne
iain and gaynor macalister
Wed 23 Dec 2009 09:58
Wednesday 23rd December 2009 0535 hrs
Good Morning, I was just sitting here in the cockpit thinking that I must have writers block but it may be that absolutely nothing has happened in the last 24hrs.   Well, that's not strictly true but I'm thinking, not much of interest.  We have been making steady progress towards the Cabo Verde Islands and Dorothy (Perkins engine) has been soldiering on for mile after mile after mile,through another of those weather arenas that we seem to be so good at.
At midday we ran out of diesel in the ships tank, big mistake and as usual down to me. I really can't understand why people run out of fuel but I do it all the time out here. Not having a fuel gauge is a contributing factor. I knew it must be getting low as we record how much goes in and knowing that she uses about 3 - 3.5 ltrs per hour we keep a record in the log of hours run.
  The tank is a 100 ltr flexible bag that is mounted in the aft section of the boat and due to it's construction and the way it has to be mounted it means that you can't actually use all 100 as some stays in the bottom.  This is a good feature as it means that if we were to get any water or dirt particles in the fuel it would have a safe place to reside.  The down side is that you never get to use all the fuel you put in, which to a Scot makes no sense, and you can never be too sure how much of what's left in there is able to be extracted.
The procedure for getting the engine started involves removing the paneling around the front of the engine, which sticks out into the saloon, opening up two bleed valves and purging the air that has got into the system via the empty tank,not a job you want to be doing when there's a sea running. I'm getting quite good at it now and when it was finished we took the opportunity of swinging the compass and adjusting the heading on the autohelm so that it agrees to the other instruments.   To do this we have to turn the boat through a number of circles while the course computer calibrates itself.  You must turn at just the right speed or it tells you off for going "Too Fast" and you have to start again.After about eight 360 degree turns it finally confirmed that it was happy and we were able to move onto the next stage of the day. Cheese and onion toasties, they seem to re-invent themselves at sea and are always devoured with Mucho gusto.
The decision to visit the Cape Verde Islands was taken safe in the knowledge that we had all the pilot book pages that Max had emailed to me in Mogan just in case we went as I hadn't brought any charts as we weren't expecting to go there.  Well! when I went to the pc this afternoon to browse the info I simply couldn't find it anywhere, computers huh! so unreliable, always losing things.  A number of options were muted but all fell at the first hurdle as I have set this email address up so it won't accept attached files. To approach a landfall without an up to date large scale chart and all the pilotage notes would be unprofessional in the first instance and possibly suicidal.
Robin - Have I ever told you how much I admire you? Suave,sophisticated, debonair,charming,witty,intelligent,rakishly good looking,talented,personable,salt of the earth,awfully decent chappie and just the sort of person one can totally depend on to help you out in a fix.     
I'm hoping Robin will be able to help and have emailed him to ask for a written appraisal of the info we need to get into Boa Vista which is our first choice.  We also realised today that Christmas day is on Friday not Thursday, as Gaynor has been insisting, so it is looking good for Christmas with a firm base under our feet.  Probably won't feel very firm to us as,after 12 days at sea, we will probably be a little wobbly when we get there and even wobblier soon after that. We're hoping for a bit of wind today, and there are early signs that we may get it, to enable us to arrive probably Christmas day morning but this could change either way.
The haze on the horizon is lightening and there is a faint orange glow starting to herald the arrival of a new day. It's been pretty sunny for the last few days and we're in board shorts wishing we hadn't seen those sharks!  We were looking everywhere for a thermometer today scrolling through phone menus, watches etc. but we drew a blank which is probably a good thing as if you are experiencing minus 7 degrees I don't suppose you really want us tormenting you with tales of days spent in 30+. Looks like it's going to be a scorcher today though. As things are pretty quiet while we're motorsailing and there is no need to tend sails or adjust things we have gone to a 3 hour watch pattern. It seems to be working well and means that once your watch is finished you have 6 hours off, which is a good rest period.  We all seem to be up together during most of the day.  My watch finishes at 0800 today so I will probably sleep for a couple of hours then get up for the rest of the day. We are heading South West and where I'm sitting in the  cockpit I'm looking across a black sea, which is covered in small ripples that are picking up the colours that are starting to manifest themselves in the sky to the East, it's rolling gently away from me with a long, slow,gently undulating swell.  If I tip my head backwards I can still see the vestiges of nighttime with a couple of stalwart stars desperately clinging onto what's left of the night as if their very survival depended on standing their ground against the inevitable advance of the sun which will extinguish them for another day."The morning sun and all it's glory greets the day with hope and comfort too" Croons Rocking Rodney in my headphones as the horizon grows into a scarlet blaze of colour that matches the light given off by our red port navigation light that's mounted on the same side just forward of the mast. The scarlet is slowly turning to orange as the blue of the sky diffuses it's intensity.A jet is passing, heading North, and it's thin contrail is evaporating fairly quickly which is an indication that the upper air is dry and settled, not really what we wanted, a bit of a puff would be good. Now I can see the very edge of the sun just peeping over the distant horizon. And so begins another day in Paradise, time to get Gaynor up for her watch, It'll be a shame to leave this scene, perhaps I'll just stay up. Must remember to fill the diesel tanks up once Gaynor has had a cup of tea, she'll really like that. I can tell from the pained look she has whenever I announce re-fueling time. The reason for this is the incident on the way down to Mogan, still makes me chuckle when I think of it but she doesn't smell any more, well not of diesel anyway!. If you haven't read it it's worth going back to the blogs from our first trip.  We were all treated to a nighttime dolphin show around 2030 last night and they were with us for ages.  As they move under the water they stir up the phosphorescence and it's like an sub-aquatic light show as they move around. I hadn't realised but the splashes that I have often heard at night must have been dolphins I just didn't see them.  Earlier in the day we had a squadron? of squid swimming past us (Going in the opposite direction I hasten to add, we're not that slow)  What a beautiful day it's going to be - We all hope it's good for you too.
Hasta Ahora
Lady C and Crew
Tristan - how do I come to have so much of your music on my Ipod? It always makes me smile when one of your tracks comes on, I always think of you and wonder how you're getting on - that's just before we all race to shake it on to another tune!  We're way overdue for an update please - 
Lady C and crew all wish you were here with us - Pedalpusher at 5am! Thanks