Sunday 10 November 2013

Day 27: A Second Fish And Traffic

Today we caught our second fish. This is worth mentioning as the fish was caught within ten seconds of the lure hitting the water. In fact, the line had not been fully let out and it still had some tangles.

The fish was landed, tangled line and all. Almost needless to say, we had the most delightful fish, chips and coleslaw for dinner. This fish provided enough additional meals that we are now able to have decent meals for dinner without having to ration. We are also in a position to have better lunches.

And we now shall need to watch our diets lest we start gaining weight!

We also saw the first traffic after crossing the Atlantic. This is also worth a mention, as it is the first traffic in ten days. It is also a sign that we are nearing the Brazilian coast and the main shipping lanes around Brazil. Time to be extra alert.

From a navigational point of view we are almost across the wide part of the Atlantic, The skipper counts the waypoint of having crossed as the point wheere we shall have land to the south again. This will happen later today or earlt tomorrow.

We are having about half a knot of current with us at present. This is probably the start of the current up the northern coast of Brazil. The biat is sailing faster than anticipated from the wind strength, hence our deduction.

My celestial navigation still continues, with accuracy of results in the expected ball park of less than fifteen nautical miles differenc from the ship's GPS. I have also continued my study of emergency navigation techniques.

This is quite an interesting area of study, as this is where one finds all the little gadgets that sailors of old used in their celestial navigation. Most of the gadgets can be made from a piece of cardboard, a weight and some string. Add to this a form of straight tube, like a drinking straw or slightly larger, and you end up with a rudimentary mariner's ring or astrolabe.

I have read about these instruments and regarded them as seriously obsolete, until I started studying emergency navigation practices and -tools. I now am getting the idea that these simple instruments from a bygone era are still very useful and can be used quite successfully in everyday navigation.

Many people think that even a sextant is not a useful instrument due to the size of statistical uncertainty associated with sun sights. It must, however, be borne in mind that the errors ar small enough not to make a difference. You will still find a small island like St Helena in the middle of an ocean. You may be out by thirty nautical miles, but you will still see the island and sail to it.

Of course, once you are within sight of land, the navigation technique changes. There is no single universal method of navigation suited to all conditions. Even when using a GPS, you still need to know what the immediate area around yo looks like. And a GPS alone will not tell you that.

I am int some lighter reading now. Kipling has written some very delightful ghost stories, of which I have some in his collected works. Ghost stories were a favourite in my childhood days, as they were entertaining and somewhat irregular in nature. But always a bit tongue-in-cheek.

Storytelling used to be a great form of after dinner entertainment before the advent of televison and radio entertainment. Now, for me, it is pure bliss to read these stories again and reive the shivers down my spine. Some day I shall get a copy of CJ langenhoven's ghost stories to add to my library. Between him and Herman Charles Bosman lies a treasure chest full of Africana.

On a different note: A very interesting thought just occurred to me as I sit here typing in the middle of the night on a lurching and heaving boat. I am at pains to turn out essays in proper grammar and decent English, even if it is not the king's English. But I am battling with the spelling. Not that I have a problem with spelling. No sir, Madam.

It is the movement of the boat causing me to miss the proper keys, with the result that the words vcome out very skewweed from time to time. I have to go over the text with a fine combto coreerct, which takes up an awful lot of extra time qnd battery power when I can sit and meditate in the beaultiful moonlight outside.

Perhaps I should leave some text unedite so that my readres can see just what comes out at the first try .



Authored by Johan Zietsman

Last updated on 2013-10-21

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