Position: 53 11.5 N 004 28.0 E
Course: East sou'east Speed 5 knots
Wind: East sou'east, light
Weather: Overcast, warm
Day's run: 114 nautical miles
Not far to go now, Holland is in sight. We have had a busy night, this side
of the North Sea is crowded with oil rigs and their ever present tenders.
During the day the smaller ones stand on their single stilt, leading me to
marvel at the ingenuity of our engineers, how do they get them to stand up
like that? The medium sized ones rest on a lattice work of three steel piles
and the large are much more firmly attached with heavy concrete structures
under girding them. At night they are all brightly lit, their respective
brightness a sort of hierarchical display, some of the smaller ones topped
with assorted coloured lights, presumably helipads, and all flashing at
their extremities a light; blinking dot, dot, dash; morse code for 'U' which
means 'you are standing into danger'. In between the oil rigs there were a
two traffic separation schemes we had to negotiate, highways in the ocean,
and a third one close to the Dutch coast which we have just motored through
in the failing wind - it was a light headwind so no great loss. Sailing
vessels have to keep out of the way of ships using traffic separation
schemes and cross them at right angles. My Dutch acquaintance of a few days
ago emphasised the strictness with which the respective maritime authorities
enforce their traffic schemes so it seemed best to abandon drifting through,
dodging the relatively heavy traffic - still not like the approaches to
Singapore or Hong Kong, we will undoubtedly see the European equivalent as
we get closer to the Dover Straits.
Thomas is steering now, I shall certainly miss his quiet and patient
assistance. We hope to make Den Helden this evening at slack water, around 6
All is well.
The beast beneath the floor boards, it lives! It's been a rather tiring
night, with skipper Bob climbing in and out of the bunk all night, so if you
will excuse me .. Zzzzzzz.