Didnt have a clew (clue)

Dick and Irene Craig
Sun 10 Oct 2010 05:48
On the 8th day since we left Cocos Keeling, the sun shone and there was some blue sky. The sea had gone down a little as had the wind strength but we still sailed with two reefs in the main and two in the genoa. We saw lots of stars and the moon the previous night and again on the eighth night. On day nine, more blue sky and sunshine. It seems a long time since we have seen any blue in the sky or seen the sun during the day and the stars and moon at night. They are such welcome companions on a long passage.
The sea had reduced even further and we no longer had wind greater than force 6. We started sailing with a full genoa though the main continues to have two reefs. This is because of the damage already done to the mainsail before we arrived at Cocos Keeling.
Sailing downwind, it is easy to be fooled by the state of the sea on each side of the boat, certainly after the recent conditions. The sea looks as if it is slight until one looks behind the boat and see the monstrous sea and know that it is still far from slight.
It was easier to hear other people on the SSB at 9pm on the evening of the eighth day although apart from one or two, the other voices still remained unclear. This was the same on the morning net next day.
By 11am on the 10th day, we have covered over three quarters of the passage. We would like to raise the parasailor now that the wind has reduced and coming from behind but the swell is still too great. With just the genoa and main we surf off the waves and the angle from one side to the other can be as much as 45º. However, by late afternoon the sea state was such that we were able to raise the parasailor, which made the passage much more comfortable.
It has been amusing to watch the flying fish, which usually fly just above the water level. With the swells being so big, the fish are shooting out from near the top of the waves and soaring several metres above the water. One can almost imagine them wondering what had happened to their world. Look Mum, no hands!
The eleventh day at sea and the sun is shining and although we have three metre swells, the sea is slight and we have been able to open hatches and get some air into the boat. We even did our first load of washing since encountering the bad weather.
Now we have pleasant weather again and we watch the cumulus clouds, white by day, group together late afternoon, to form large grey clouds. In the morning, as the sun rises, one can watch the breaking up of the clouds, the shades of grey diminishing,, turning pink and then white, making a pattern above the horizon over 360º..
On day 12 with less than 250nautical miles to our destination, we are surprised that we have only encountered 3 ships during the passage, two of which passed within two miles. In fact one of those ships passed within half a mile of one of the other WARC boats, at that part of the passage when the three boats which had left Saturday afternoon, were still sailing in reasonably close proximity. It always seems amazing, when there is such a large ocean, that another boat passes so closely.
We passed Rodriguez island about 9pm local time last night. It was 20+ miles to port and just a glow on the horizon. There were some odd lights that flashed on and off from time to time without any pattern. We thought that they might have been fishing boats and remained vigilant.
We had notice on the SSB net this morning that a fishing boat was attacked by pirates yesterday. This occurred a long way from any of our fleet. We are currently the closest boat to the debacle and at 9am this morning were still 200miles south and over 400 miles east of the incident.
Listening to the morning net, we were able to note the position of other boats within the fleet and to hear what type of wind speeds they were experiencing. It seemed incredible that most of the boats still had 15+ and 20+knots of wind, depending on their position when for the last 24hours, we were struggling to continue sailing with less than eight knots of wind. Eventually, around 4.30pm on the 13th day, we took down the parasailor and switched on the engines. Although the wind came up around 7.30pm and we sailed with genoa and reefed main for around three hours, we finally resorted to the iron sail which took us to our destination of Port Louis, Mauritius, where we tied up alongside the dock, within the inner basin, just before 7 am local time.
As the sun rose we admired the skyline. The mountains in relief, resembled Istanbul with the domed mosques and minarets. It looked spectacular.
We reset the clocks back by 2.5 hours so are now only 4hours ahead of GMT.
An official from the Health Authority came to the boat, as did the coast guard and immigration. The customs insisted we place most of our wine in bond and agreed to return 7am on the morrow to seal the locker. As it happened, although we were up aforetimes to move the wine, the customs man did not appear.
Tomorrow we will start doing some of the jobs on the boat. There is a great deal of rust on the top of the cockpit roof which has been caused by some seepage from under the solar panels. I can remove the rust quite easily and Dick will seal around the panels.
The curtain rail above the window in the galley became unstuck and we had to remove a curtain, that needs repair.
It hardly seems possible that we have just sailed 2350miles across the Indian Ocean, without a clew. (Clue.get it?).

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