Sunday 2 September 2012

2nd Leg Day 2: Blue-grey Clouds and a Red Sunset

Today dawned as another gray and morning. It actually rained in a fine spray. I had to don a rain jacket as well as a light sweater. Interesting experience in an environment that should tend to subtropical, if not tropical.

The sunset was beautiful, with all shades of dark blue and gray, setting off the red sun through the clouds.

As of today, it has been more than a week of cloudy weather, preventing any sextant sightings. I have resorted to navigation by dead reckoning, the same techniques used for hundreds of years before more modern methods were invented. And I have perused all my texts on basic navigation. This adverse weather actually provides a good opportunity to hone navigation skills, especially those intuitive skills to judge average speed, direction and leeway over a certain period. The inaccuracies in the navigation are vested in the inaccuracies in the judgments. I now make several judgments, recording each in my journal. Then I compare the end result position to where the boat's GPS tells me I am. This method provides a means of checking sensitivity of the various judgments and their influence on the overall calculations. I like to think it helps me to hone my navigation skills, but thus far I am not really impressed. Perhaps I am overly sensitive. Twenty nautical miles difference from the GPS on a vast ocean is perhaps not bad. Especially if one considers that the closest dry land is more than 168 nautical miles from us and increasing. We are not going to hit anything hard for a while, I should imagine.

But I am yearning for some sextant work again. I think I have the instrument under control this time. At the last check it appeared that it keeps its zero calibration now. At last.

We are again battling with the routine on board, the stopover at St Helena being just enough to upset the on board rhythm and body clocks. Both Renier and Dawid were a bit out of it yesterday after their scuba dive outing, while I was just stiff from the previous day's hard physical exertion.

I am now reading my third book, but still reading snippets of The Seven Pillars of Wisdom by TE Lawrence. The one from Arabia, not DH, the lover. Dawid is wading through a copy of “Sailing Around the World Alone” by Joshua Slocum, while Renier has completed reading his fifth book. A change from our normal lifestyles, where reading does not normally come high on the priority list due to more active lifestyles.

Our menu onboard is a marvel of inventiveness. The guys are using raw masala (curry paste) in their two-minute noodles as garnish. Also some raw chilis. I harvested some fresh ones from a bush in the back of the Consulate Hotel on St Helena. I don't think anybody will mind, as the little fruits are going to waste on the bush, being there just for show. These ones are actually quite strong and flavourful, being a bright orange colour and looking like short Thai chilies. They are perhaps just a little bit less strong than a habanero chili. But good to eat. I had some in my noodles too. It adds a nice piquant flavour to the dish. And some welcome vitamin C, I suppose.

Authored by Johan Zietsman
Last updated on 2012-12-12

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