The boat and I strode across the Tropic of Capricorn on 27th of November soon after rendering the evening report signifying a departure from tropical to sub tropical climate. That means no more tropical revolving storms, cyclones and hurricanes- only something worse called fronts.
But it was the 25th of November, when the first signs of a chill set in, that flying fish first made their appearance on the deck. It is always a sure indicator of an inhospitable sea. Ever since, we have been having four to five all over the deck everyday and I have been throwing them overboard. It appears they suffer from poor night vision because that is when they usually get trapped on the deck. Thankfully they don’t leave an awful smell behind. I have been advised to cook and eat them. I sure would have if they were sardines or mackerels or tuna.
Trade winds picked up in intensity and lashed at us between 25 and 30 knots till 28 Dec with a well defined cyclicity. Winds would freshen in the afternoons and drop off into the teens by morning. Waves would easily rise to about 3-4 metres made steeper by undercutting currents. Each wave the boat would slam into would send shivers up its spine. Sailing upwind in these conditions is not a pretty experience . When a 23 ton home does that and you are the lone occupant, you are a bit worried. Its worse than an earthquake- there is no end and no escape. The only thing that seemed to help was to slow down the boat so that she would not jump off the waves, rather just eased herself down the slope. On the plus side, there was enough wind for the wind generator to take almost all the electrical load of the boat. The diesel generator, which is usually run for about four hours a day to charge the service batteries, needed to be run just half an hour in two days.
And yes, there is a correlation and reverse correlation between baths and wind speed- either I have a shower in a calm and wind would soon pick up, or there is enough spray to bathe me each time I am on deck when it is windy.
I remember the last time I saw a real human face, but that memory too is fading. It was sometime before crossing the Equator. A Sri Lankan fishing boat that was perhaps 10 miles away from us pulled up for a closer look. I wonder at their coquettish curiosity that makes them burn so much fuel and in the end all they do is ask for a stick of cigarette. Here is what they usually look like (this picture was taking earlier this year while rounding Dondra Head)- nice way to hang out, I would say. But when you are alone in a boat and something like this pulls up just metres from you, it sure does leave you a bit jittery.Check out this video of taking a reef in 30 knot winds. Nevermind the swell…
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Changes to the Blog-
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