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Date: 09 Mar 2014 17:46:00
Title: Boobies and Cruising Chutes.

03:35.64N 81:34.4W

Slow progress still... Sometimes we see 5 Knots of boat speed, but not for very long. Last night we had about 5 hours of just drifting, we just lashed the wheel and let the current move us at half a knot or so. We passed the little Islands of Malpelo in the night, but with the calm it had turned misty so we didn't see the light.

Big black and white Boobies have been visiting us, they look just like Gannets but without the yellow on their heads. They come and circle us a few times to check us out, then carry on on their way. We had bird visitors over night as well, I couldn't see them up on the spreaders in the dark but I heard them calling just before dawn when they left, and they left their calling cards.

We had some fun and games yesterday when we tried to drop our cruising chute, which is a big light weight sail, a bit like a spinnaker. To get it down we first pull a sock from right at the top down, which gathers the sail into the sock as it goes, so we have a sausage to drop instead of a big flappy thing. The problem was the rope on the end of the sock came off so we had nothing to pull it down with. OK, no problem, we just had to pull it in by hand like a spinnaker. A bit tricky with just one of us to gather such a big sail in whilst the other drops it, but quite do-able. However, the halyard (the rope for pulling up sails) for the cruising chute had a worn patch, where it comes out at the top of the mast. This isn't a big problem because by the time you pull the sail up, the worn bit is pulled down, past the jammer, so there's no tension on that part and it won't break. However, when we came to drop it the worn bit got trapped in the jammer, wouldn't slide through, wouldn't go up and wouldn't go down. So we ended up with the sail half in and half out, with me trying to act as a human sock on a 1,707 square foot sail, making sure the bit we had on board didn't escape into the water, whilst Phil freed the halyard. The wind was doing it's best to pull the sail away of course, swirling it around, so at times I ended up completely inside a tube of swishing sail, trying to find my way out without letting go!

Phil got out his bosun's box and we replaced the halyard.

Food:

Day 4: granola (actually Waitrose brand, bought in Hi-Lo in Trinidad of all places. They had an end of aisle Waitrose section! By the by, it was a Hi-Lo that Walt walked into and took his clothes off in Breaking Bad. I kept mine on), papaya, mango, yoghurt; tuna burgers, made with soy sauce, ginger and fresh (well, a little wilted) shadon beni, served with cauliflower, carrot and christophene in a cheese and whole grain mustard sauce; leek (our last one) and potato soup.

Day 5: caramelised banana cooked in lime juice, served with plain yoghurt and raisin bread; tuna burger in pitta (left over from yesterday); beef Bourguinon with rice and green beans.

I'm still impressed by our solar cooker. We do quite a bit in it. For example, I used it to cook the veg before putting them in the cheese and mustard sauce, to pre-cook the potatoes for the leek and potato soup, and today the beef Bourguinon is put together and slow cooking in there. It still amazes me that it works, and works so well. I know we're only a few miles from the equator, but it's not even a proper cooker, just a black pot in a plastic bag sitting on some silver bubble wrap!

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