Monday, 2 March 2015

Seven Days, 960 Nautical Miles

Just over one week into this voyage and we are traveling well.

960 Nautical Miles Sailed
148 Nautical Miles To Go
0 Fish
Course 283 degrees
Speed 6.9 knots
Ley has read 5 books (!)

Last night the winds finally lifted a little and moved more to the north.

Crystal Blues finally had "a bone in her teeth", with the apparent wind at 75 degrees to starboard, 9 knots true, and we were skating along in the dark at 6 to 7 knots, flying the mainsail, genoa and staysail.

Honestly, I'd fly more sails if we had them, as we're keen to make landfall, but the big MPS became hopelessly jammed in its snuffer two days ago, and we need to sort it out on land.

Around 300 miles out from the Sri Lankan coast we started meeting local fishing boats - small steel affairs with diesel engines and equipped with trolling lines, traps and nets. They do it all. The first boat chased us for miles before drawing alongside to trade - fish for cigarettes seemed to be the deal. Whilst we do carry cigarettes for trade, I didn't want to get close to them at sea, so we smiled and waved and said a gentle "no thanks". The fish they were offering was huge, but dried and salted - not to our taste. A second boat early today was a real comedy, with some very funny antics on board, crew jumping all over the roof of the wheelhouse. basically they seemed really happy to meet someone out here, wanted to know where we were going etc.
I was a little reticent to bring out the camera and photograph them, until I saw one of them was photographing us ! After that it was a bit of riot as they played stupid games on top of the wheelhouse, all this in a very rolly sea that has us moving around very cautiously. These Sri Lankan fisherman have a great sense of humour.

We finally sorted out the wrinkles with the satellite data system. It was another case of too many networks. Our navigation PC has 2 ethernet connections running concurrently - WiFi to the Iridium Go! satellite device and wired to the boat's own ethernet network (for printers, network disc storage etc). Windows 7 normally handles these scenarios well, and can even route from one net to another. Seems that the new software from Sailmail and Predict Wind simply couldn't handle it though. We've had a series of very constructive emails with Jim Corenman of Sailmail, in the USA, who is now working on an update to the Sailmail program that will handle concurrent network connections. Jim has been a delight to work with, and we find the the Saildocs service is proving invaluable for weather forecasting at sea. I think we have the best of both worlds, using the Sailmail / Saildocs mail software and then having a choice of HF radio or Satellite for the transmission link.

We've moved through a couple of time zones now, putting the clocks back another hour yesterday just so the sun would set "at the proper time". So our local time is now UTC minus 6 hrs. Each evening we participate in a loosely organised radio network for vessels crossing the Indian Ocean. The Jupiter Net provides a facility for emergency radio relay, position reporting and general discussion. High Frequency radio conditions out here are not great, but the reporting and conversations are welcome. We look forward to joining some of the other boats in Sri Lanka and points further south.

Right now the wind has decided to retreat again, swinging behind us and reducing in strength until its just a frustrating little breeze, so the engine is back on. We hope it comes back soon.

Our position is clear at :

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