Saturday, August 23, 2008

From one extreme to another

After a day of fickle winds a 20-30 knot SE trade set in during the night. What a change. From sedately working our way across the Arafura sea, we now find ourselves on a crazed roller-coaster ride. A steady 15 knots, would be ideal but it's not to be. Not sure Svetlina's enjoying this extreme as much as the other, I guess French cuisine will be on hold for a day.

The increase in wind has led to an alteration of course. Originally we planned to anchor in an anchorage in the north of Roti but with our increase in speed it would mean we'd have to slow-down or heave-to overnight for a daylight arrival. Instead we've altered course for an anchorage in the south, which we should make by early Sunday morning.

We left Darwin a few days after full moon and have had wonderfully bright nights. However as the days progress, the moon is rising later, making for a dramatic contrast between sunset and the seeming increasingly dark night.

We passed over a shoal/bank last night which I think separates the shallow - less than 100m - Arafura sea from the deep - 1000-2000m - Timor Sea. It seems to be a rich fishing ground as suddenly a line of white lights appeared on the horizon. It made for an unusually challenging night - winding our way through the local semi-lit fishing-fleet. Talking of fish we caught a series of three small tunas, which Svetlina insisted I returned to the ocean, so they "could enjoy more life and learn not to bite hooks" - another misconception shattered - I thought anything that moved was considered fair-game by our continental neighbours.

Position @ 07:15 (GMT+9.30): S10deg 57.9' E125deg 02.9'
Distance to waypoint (channel between Roti and West Timor): 104
Daily run: 109

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