Over time I've become familiar with the creaks, rattles and bangs generated by Kika as she makes her way across the ocean. However last night each time I was dozing off, I'd be woken by a irregular bang - a sound outside the familiar repertoire. I'd turn over and try to ignore it, hoping it would disappear, but fearing it wouldn't until eventually I'd be wide awake and forced to search it out.
I targeted the usual suspects; cockpit table, bottles of various oils, soft wooden bung in the engine compartment. Each time I thought I'd solved the problem only for it to reoccur when I was on the verge of sleep. Eventually I was exhausted enough to doze off regardless, though it didn't make for the most restful of nights. At daybreak I was in the cockpit checking all's well and saw the bucket on its side rolling freely and occasionally ramping into the side above my berth. Mystery solved, though I nearly threw the offending bucket overboard in frustration.
The weather definitely has a north Atlantic feel to it - there's a chill in the north wind and the sky has been generally overcast for the last few days. I fear the days of fast, effortless sailing, might end tomorrow. The forecast is showing the low to the north of the Azores starting to affect the wind tomorrow then on Monday which should be my landfall day, it looks like I'll have headwinds. I'm heading a little south of my rhumb line to try to ensure I can still sail even if the wind shifts to the west. Time will tell....
Position @ 13:00 GMT 18/7/09: N36deg58' W20deg01'
Distance to Azores: 273
Daily run: 157