Slow Going

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Sat 23 Jan 2010 17:28
Position: 48 26.4 S 066 16.6 W
Course: Southwest, Speed 7.5 knots
Wind: Northeast, F5 fresh breeze
Weather: sunny, cool
Day's Run: 77 miles

I was hoping to make San Julian today but overnight light and variable winds and contrary tidal streams had us drifting and making absolutely no ground between 2 and 6 a.m., and between 3.30 pm yesterday and 6 a.m. this morning I had handed sail three times as the wind died and left us bouncing around in a short steep little chop, resetting it as a light breeze would come and play with us for a while. But at 8 the wind finally filled in from the north and we now have a fresh breeze behind us which we are running before wing on wing, double reefed mainsail and 60% jib making good a very respectable seven plus knots.

At midday we still had 60 miles to go to make the entrance to San Julian which has many sand bars and strong tidal streams. Our arrival time is going to be very awkward. Ideally I would like to arrive at slack low water in daylight so we can more easily see the bars and channels. At this rate we will arrive just after dark so we will either have to loiter overnight, maybe enter at slack highwater at around 6 am tomorrow or wait for slack low water just after midday. Alternatively we could make the most use of this fair wind and see where we end up. But the barometer is falling and the forecast is for strong westerlies late tomorrow so being at anchor would be nice. For now we press on and see how things pan out.

The highlight for the past 24 hours was seeing our first Commerson's dolphins as they played around the boat just outside Puerto Deseado. These relatively short stubby dolphins have very unusual markings, all bold black and white. While perhaps not as graceful as their bigger cousins they are pretty little things and I cannot but wonder what environmental pressures have led them to evolve into this unique form in this particular part of the world.

(As I finish up the wind is once more fading awaand the sails are starting to slat. Crash, bang - ouch! Maybe I won't have to worry about getting to San Julian too early after all.)

All is well.

Bob Cat:

Pretty little dolphins on my dinner plate would be very nice, any markings will do, I am not fussy. In symy dreams I guess . . . Zzzzzzz.