Day 14 - Atlantic Crossing News (halfway?)

The Talulah's Web Diary
Ali Pery / Shane Warriker
Mon 14 Dec 2009 17:07

13:26.795N 38:38.532W



1700 hrs UTC  14/12/09


The Mahi Mahi was eaten, some sashimi, some fried, the rest in coconut milk with mango salsa.  The mango was alcoholic. The butter’s surely melting, its very hot, and the fresh food is on its last legs, some quite literally.  Salt crystals are forming everywhere, and Talulah is very sticky, inside and out.


Shane and I prayed for wind – not the lumpy here-I-come-from-which-direction-I-know-not kind, but the constant NE Trades, with the big Atlantic Rollers, to push us West.  We have been zigzagging north and south, adding an extra 70 miles to our course, and then decided to head straight South, as the grib files promised heavier winds down here. They were wrong. 


Day 10 our prayers were answered.  Gusting over 30 knots, having put in the 2nd reef, we watched in frustration as again our Main Halyard wouldn’t hold in the clutch.  This is the expensive new halyard we rigged in Portugal, the halyard which has given us constant headaches since.  We have stretched it, salted it, switched clutches, you name it, we done it, and finally brushed it with PVA and water, which seems to be working for now.  On night watch I (Ali) noticed the volts were dangerously low (we generate power for the navigation instruments primarily through the wind generator and solar panels, however, we appear to have not just one, but now two, dead batteries) so I went to turn on the Port engine.  Nothing.  I tried the Starboard.  Grunt, it used the last of the juice to grunt.  Then black-out.  All the instruments went dead.  Pitch dark, no power, wind howling in a Force 7, I can’t find the compass, totally disorientated, trying to control the helm, and sails flapping furiously, we gybe, and gybe again.  We are surrounded by squalls (o those dreaded squalls), time to call the other half.  O joy to scream someone’s name as loud as you can out here!  We have experienced far worse squalls than this in our time on Talulah, but none til now in a blackout!  All sorted, more or less, an hour or 2 later.  Though little sleep for either that night. 


Day 12, out came the Cruising Chute, and to bed with the other sails for now.  It’s a beautiful sight to see the big red and white sail bellowing out. We kept it up all night too.

Yesterday Shane suggested we slow Talulah down, tie on, and go for a swim. (One by one!) The sea is now a beautiful blue, and warm.  Now I’ve always wanted to swim mid-Atlantic, and so has Shane (aka the Dolphin).  But then we heard a muffled report from a boat, albeit further east, who had just been attacked and rammed by killer whales.  We decide to wait for a calmer day.  Our SSB radio is still not working, at least we cannot transmit, though occasionally we can hear others, albeit briefly once a day.


Our 20 litre jerry cans of spare water have gone green.  Not a brackish, slimey green.  A bright almost iridescent green.  We checked them again after we’d both had some sleep.  Yep, still glowing green.


Today, Day 14, we are heading West, there is no wind, the sails are flapping.  The grib files (wind maps) show little improvement over the next few days.

3 days ago our chartplotter showed 240 hours to Barbados, that’s 10 days.

Now its saying 13 days.  Mmmmm ……


But we’re both well, happy and healthy out here, and think of you all at home in the pre- Christmas build up, and send much love.


p.s. We just crossed the 38 deg meridian, which in boating lore means we’re halfway, (that’s if heading from 17 deg – Canaries, to 59 deg – Barbados) … just cracked open a beer…..