Sunday 10 November 2013

Day 29: Easy Navigation And A Visit From A Bird

We had a visitor aboard last night. Actually early this morning. I came on watch at 03h00 and he was there. An Atlantic petrel, I think. It stayed until it was light enough for me to get a decent picture before we chased it away. Some sea birds roost on the water, Not on a boat.

Welcome for some minutes, but that is about the length of stay to tolerate. These birds are notorious for leaving dung all over the boat. Dung that will eat into the gelcoat. So they are not overly welcome.

This one decided that it had a roost of opportunity, so it calmly preened itself and then slept with its head tucked under a wing. Quite peacefully. I wondered how it did the balancing act on a heaving and pitching boat with no real purchase for its claws. And this while sleeping.

We are now close to the Brazilian coast and are sailing within a current of over two knots. The wind is still to our advantage and we are making way to the tune of about seven knots. Our run for the last twenty four hours was 156 nautical miles. Somewhat more to our liking, but these are the vagaries of sailing. We now have been sailing continuously for over ten days, the motors only running to charge the batteries.

The current in which we are sailing makes for somewhat easier navigation. As long as the boat stays in the current, we do not have to compensate for leeway. So this is the object of our passage plan for the next few days. As a direct result, my celestial navigation exercises are taking a turn for the better. The dead reckoning becomes a bit easier.

I now have two successive days with both the dead reckoning and the more accurate fix being in close agreement with the ship's GPS position. A comforting result all araound.

As for the weather, we are expecting the wind direction to change from south east to north east in the next few days when we pass the Amazon river delta and the equator. We are now almost on the northern edge of the south Atlantic ocean, being close to the equator. North of the equator the prevailing wind should be from the north east, but we are relatively close to land, which may have other spurious and seasonal effects. Hopefully we shall not have days of doldrums!

Life aboard is still a bit laid back while off duty, but we are on special alert now that we are close to some of Brazil's major ports. There are both commercial freighters and fishing vessels around and the VHF radio has now sputtered back into life again. Speaking Portuguese, no less.

I had a proper fresh water shower again today, after a number of aft deck salt water showers and some abortive attempts at having showers in squalls. We still have to have a decent squall for a shower.

In my off duty hours I now attend to some emergency navigation studies, as well as some reading for relaxation. The weather is quite hot, over 30ยบC, with humidity to match. Luckily we have a decent wind that helps to cool the boat down as well as refreshing stale air in the cabins. We sometimes can have the hatches open for a while when the sea is calmer, then the wind blows sufficiently through my cabin to warrant sleeping under a cover. It still gets quite chilly in the night if you have a draught through the cabin.


The voyage is quitely but surely drawing to and end. One can tell by the refrigerator and the cupboards seeming quite empty compared to a few weeks ago. Now comes the time of realcreativity in cooking. When supplies run low and the choice of ingredients diminish. Luckily I have some ideas in mind for the fresh fish that we caught recently.

I have been turning around in my head some new recipes that I have never tried at home. Simply beacause we hardly ever have the fresh fish that we have on board now.

And it is something that I shall make for my loved ones at home after this voyage.



Authored by Johan Zietsman


Last updated on 2013-10-23

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