Position Report on Tuesday 15th April 2014

The Alba Chronicles
Neville Howarth
Tue 15 Apr 2014 16:20

Position Report on Tuesday 15th April 2014 at 0800


09:46.9S  133:15.7W


So far, we've done 2,700 miles with 330 miles to go.  In the last 24 hours, we’ve done 150 miles.  We’re sailing at 5-6 knots in 6 foot seas, still heading on a course of 265 degrees and heading for Fatu Hiva.  It's another lovely sunny day. If we can keep up this pace, then we should arrive on the afternoon of the 17th, but if the wind drops, then we might have to heave-to off Fatu Hiva overnight.  Here's what we did yesterday and overnight.


14 April 2014   Galapagos to Marquesas (Day 19)


Last night, I found that our batteries were getting low on charge, so I turned off the beer fridge and my laptop (which has been permanently running for 18 days).  We're obviously using more power than we're generating at the moment, mostly because the wind has dropped off and we're not getting a lot of charge from the wind generator.


So, to give the batteries a boost, I ran the engine for an hour this morning - it hasn't been run for two weeks, so it was good to run it.   Later on in the afternoon, we also ran the generator for a hour and made some water, so hopefully, we've put enough back in the batteries for the solar panels to keep them topped up.


Since I caught the Longbill Spearfish a few days ago, we've not had much luck with fishing, so I made some new lures from different coloured rubber squid.  I've been using red/white and green/yellow for the past couple of days with not a single bite, so I swapped to dark blue and fluorescent green this morning.  Just after lunch,  got a strike on the blue lure on my rod, the line screamed out, but in my panic, I put too much  drag on too quickly and lost the fish - it felt bigger than the Spearfish. 


Then, while I was having my afternoon nap, Glenys heard the rattle of the hand line, but before she could get up to look, the fish snapped the 3 mm nylon braided cord!  The line parted at a knot that I'd put in the line (knots reduce the strength of rope), but even so, it took a lot of force to break it.  Goodness knows what it was, but it was big.  The worst thing about the line snapping was that, as well as losing a lure, some behemoth of the deep is now dragging around my beloved birds  


There's something weird happening to our autopilot. Over the past week, it has suddenly changed course three times causing sails to back.  It happened again this afternoon, so I switched the autopilot off and then back on to reset everything.  I then noticed that the giro compass reading was 20-30 degrees different to the magnetic compass. 


A couple of hours later, the autopilot decided to turn 20 degrees to starboard and we found that the giro has corrected  itself.  I guess that it needs to be recalibrated, but we'll need to do that in calmer water because we need to motor round in large slow 360 degree circles.


It was a lovely night, sailing smoothly along at 5-6 knots in calm seas with a huge bright moon.  To make things even better, we were privileged to witness a full eclipse of the moon.  The shadow of the earth started to nibble away the bottom edge of the moon at around ten o'clock.  A couple of hours later, the moon was totally eclipsed and had turned a spooky red - I believe that they call this a blood moon.  The moon then slowly emerged from the earth's shadow and the rest of the night was brightly lit by the full moon once again.  Amazing.


The weather has been so good for the last few days that I've spent my night watches jammed into a corner of the cockpit working on my latest little project, which is learning how to hack into a wireless network.  I've set up a kind of test lab with two laptops connected to our wireless router and I have loads of documentation on the iPad.  With this setup, I'm able to recreate the various security protocols that are set up on wireless routers and I'm trying to learn how to break their security.


Sounds like a weird thing to be doing in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, but hopefully, it will enable me to "borrow" a little internet time on wireless routers that I find in the anchorages ahead.  I don't think that there are many Pay-As-You-Go internet hotspots in the South Pacific Islands.


I'm finding it very fascinating, but for some reason Glenys' eyes glaze over when I start enthusing about the differences in the encryption algorithms between WEP and WPA. 


As dawn approached, the wind veered 10-15 degrees, so I had to do a bit of work and gybe the genoa to the starboard side.  We're now on a pleasant broad reach.