Around the bulge of Africa

Thu 17 Jan 2013 17:03
23:06.34N 18:31.03W

Looking at the chart we see the Sahara slowly slip past to the East, however, it's been the coldest passage at night for a long time. With the wind behind us, coming straight on our backs when we sit at the top of the companionway, it's been positively chilly. So instead of just jeans, t-shirt and a sweatshirt at night, I've had to put on a waterproof to keep the wind out and even resort to a hat! Well, I guess it is January.

We didn't see any ships at all yesterday, just two in the night and one so far today. But we hear them. Through the night it's mostly bored Filipino tanker crew, alone on watch, swapping insults, playing songs or just making noises to entertain themselves. All this on Channel 16, the one reserved for distress calls and navigational warnings. Imagine: you hit a reef, your boat is sinking and you can't call for help because some idiot is making farting noises over the radio. Nothing to be done though, the occasional request for them to change to a different channel is just greeted by more extreme behaviour: finally someone noticed them!

The sea continues to be amazingly beautiful, the swell has dropped right away to 2m or so, but the wind has raised little peaks all over, like icing snow on a Christmas cake. In the evening, just before the sun set, the surface turned silver grey but if you looked straight down over the side the blue had turned to black, iodine on potato black, dropping down down down the 3km of depth below us.

Whilst on watch last night we ran through a patch of greater than usual phosphorescence. The bow wave streaking down our sides formed a glowing oval around us, with even brighter flashes running through it like sheet lighting runs through clouds, and behind us our wake streamed out with similar flashes. From above we must have looked like a comet streaking over the dark sea. Where the white horses topped the waves there were similar bright patches on the sea all around us, fooling the eye as I scanned for other boats.

I haven't forgotten Becks, food:
Yesterday lunch involved some Canarian bread rolls we got the day we left, which have gone somewhere to explain the list we had to starboard as they took a great deal of chewing and were clearly acting as excellent ballast. Supper was Cajun blackened chicken, crushed potatoes and green beans. Breakfast today was oatmeal with fresh fruit (banana, pear and guava) and honey and lunch today was wonderfully creamy avocados filled with prawns and Maria Rose sauce, Ainsley Harriott's mulligatawny soup and cheese and pickle sandwiches, made with Canarian 'queso fresco', sort of cottage cheese, but in a lump. Supper tonight is going to be cous cous with Moroccan chicken. Then we will have eaten the chicken and can defrost some other meat.

We're doing well: not too tired, no trace of sea sickness, good progress being made and all systems working well. And, what's more, we're having a great time too!

radio email processed by SailMail
for information see: