Friday, October 10, 2008

A rare treat

It always seems to take a few days to reacclimatize to the rhythm of passage-making. Yesterday I was back on form after a couple of lethargic days. It also helped that the thunder storm reduced the humidity and the wind shifted more to the NE and blew consistently, giving the rare treat of a beam-reach. No rolling. No creaks. No bangs from lockers as items make a bid for freedom. The roly swells of the first day and the temperamental wind of the second became a distant memory as we made almost silent progress across the slight sea. The perfect day finished with a spectacular sunset over one of the islands stranded in the middle of the Java Sea.

The single-handed sailing is going well, but for the lack of conversation. Ideally we'd have a radio net, but, for whatever reason, the one we tried to organise before setting off hasn't worked out. I've taken to talking back to the BBC world service. No response so far.

At dusk the wind shifted more to the SE, so we're back on a rock and roll run. It's continued in the same direction today, so I haven't had to alter the sails, just the occasional click on the self-steering to change the course one way or the other by 6 degrees.

It's humid again today. I'm learning to make the most of 6-9am and 4.30-6.30pm. The rest of the day I've accepted that I'll be sticky; salt water showers only provide momentary relief and I'm rationing myself to two short fresh water showers a day.

A couple of highlights today. First was fifteen or so dolphins playing around the bow wave for a good half an hour. The second was the first fish I've hooked. A decent sized bull mahi-mahi - my favourite. Unfortunately I haven't had much opportunity to perfect single-handed fish-drill and lost him just as I bought him over the rail. Still the prospect of fresh-fish again is tantalizing enough.

I've got just under fifty miles to go to my waypoint at the entrance to the river. However I'm planning to see if it's calm enough to tuck in behind the headland and have a decent night's sleep before tackling the river tomorrow. I still find it quite eerie approaching an unlit coast. According to my charts, I'm fourteen miles off the coast, but there's no sign of habitation ahead, or even a coast line. I can just see something on the radar at its maximum range of 16 miles. The sailing is the easy part; it's the landfall that provides the real challenge.

Position @ 19.15 10th Oct S3deg48.9' E111deg47.8'

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