Sunday, December 18, 2005

Washing in the rain

Since we arrived at the latitude of the Cape Verdes we've had blue skies with a blazing hot sun. However, yesterday and today we've had some significant cloud cover which came as a welcome break from the relentless heat of the past week. With a limited supply of fresh water on Kika, we've been rationing the showers. So rather than dreading the ominous black cloud we noticed heading our way this afternoon, we were looking forward to a refreshing shower. We reefed the main in anticipation of
some strong squally winds.

Initially the wind died, while the rain arrived in abundance. We showered and felt wonderfully clean - properly clean for the first time since leaving Tenerife. Then we plugged up the deck drains and laundered our washing, giving them a final rinse in the reservoir of water which had filled the reefed main. We then filled-up the solar showers. Then the wind arrived, but from the West, building a short uncomfortably choppy sea. We decided to hove-to, (a method for riding out adverse weather) and sheltered from the rain down-below - the temperature was more reminiscent of an English channel crossing in April than tropical sailing. It was as though we'd decided to pause our trip for a few hours to listen to the clattering of the rain and howling of the wind while we were snug in the saloon. Eventually the squall passed leaving a flat sea with no wind.

We've been listening to Herb on the SSB, he produces forecasts and routing advice for boats crossing the Atlantic. There are a few boats close to us who have logged on with Herb and we've been acting on his advice to them. Tonight he recommended that a boat at a similar latitiude to us should head north to 16degN to avoid an area of vicious squally weather. So we're deviating slightly from our rhumb line and heading to 16deg N.

Flying fish are becoming more numerous with 5-10 jumping and "flying" out of the water together. We suspect they're being chased by some tasty sizeable fish and the line would have been out, but for the hectic weather and sailing.

We've used the engine intermittently today, to make headway between the squalls. Wish we hadn't talked about not using the engine yesterday - it was too tempting for fate to resist.

Position at 14.23 UTC (local noon): 15deg 02'N 34deg 11'W.
Daily distance run: 121nm; cumulative distance: 1406:
Engine hours: ~0
Distance to go: ~ 1549nm
Conditions: NE 5-10 knots, slight sea, 1011 millibars

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