Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Boxing Day less than 500 miles to go

We are rapidly approaching 3 weeks at sea, and the time has really flown by. Once again, we have had good winds for the last 24 hours and we are currently running with 2 reefs in the mainsail and 2 genoas. We're doing a good 6 knots but it's a big, sloppy sea out there, and we're rolling around somewhat. Nick spent some time today taking up some of Kika's floor as the panels tend to creak quite loudly when we roll, and they can seriously impede sleep! Fortunately, we seem to have silenced all other irritating noises for now. The big seas make it a challenge to keep on the correct course. I hand-helmed for a couple of hours the other day, and afterwards it really felt like I'd done a major workout. George the wind-vane is struggling to keep a direct course in these conditions too, and, more worryingly, the bolts securing him to the stern seem to work loose periodically. Regular checks are necessary as to loose George would be a disaster. We find it astonishing that we have seen so few vessels, particularly since the Cape Verdes. I saw one ship a long way off last night and that was the first in over a week!

We are getting very excited about making landfall, and looking at the forecast, the winds are set to continue so we should be there for New Year! The boats that we have got to know on our twice daily radio check-ins are heading to a variety of Caribbean islands but we're hoping there will be one or two whose names are familiar to us in Martinique. There is a strong sense of camaraderie within the group, even though we have actually never met most of the people involved.

It's been a beautiful sunny day out here on the Atlantic, and there's been a good breeze to keep us from sweltering. We've been trying to catch a fish for 2 days now without success. We are assuming that in conditions like these, the fish are well below the disturbed surface, and our lure just doesn't reach deep enough. Our fresh provisions are getting very thin on the ground, although the eggs have lasted well. Pedro the ham has been a great success especially since he seems to get tastier with every carving session. Breakfast this morning was melon and Pedro. Delicious!

Cooking while underway is a major operation. NOTHING can be left out of cupboards for long or else it'll soon be flying across the galley and the heat and smells involved are guaranteed to bring on latent sea-sickness! It is also imperative that you hold on to something constantly otherwise it's you who's thrown across the galley as happened to me on Christmas eve. I've got a couple of fantastic bruises and I shan't be doing that again.

Position at 16.05 UTC: 14deg 51'N, 52deg 51'W
Daily distance run: 143nm; cumulative distance: 2492:
Engine hours: 0
Distance to go: ~ 470nm
Conditions: NE 20-25 knots, moderate/rough sea, 1012 millibars

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