Sunday, 3 July 2016

Losing Track Of Time

Sailing in the middle of a very large ocean, the days do start to blend in to one and time seems to distort a little. Ley and I move into a well practiced cycle of watch keeping and boat management, navigation, weather reporting and sleeping.  Days are punctuated by meals and sleeps - the latter taking on increased importance in this slightly time-warped world. Days roll by, weeks pass, then we realise that we've been traveling for months. Crystal Blues is our own private "adventure pod", safely carrying us across oceans with very few complaints.

Last year we sailed just over 5,300 nautical miles, from Malaysia to South Africa via Sri Lanka, Maldives, Chagos, Rodrigues, Mauritius, Reunion, Madagascar and Mozambique. This year we departed Cape Town late in April and are three days (450 nautical miles) away from Suriname on the north east coast of the South American mainland. This voyage is around 5,000 nautical miles and has included visits to St. Helena, Ascension Island, and Fernando De Noronha.

We crossed the equator three days ago, with an appropriate rum drinking ceremony, about 120 nautical miles off the northern coast of Brazil, almost at the border with French Guyana. Yesterday we passed by the mouth of the Amazon River, though being far offshore we saw nothing.

As I write this we are at 04 degrees 11.43 North and 049 degrees 01.35 West, on heading of 308 degrees true, traveling at around 7.2 knots.  We're motor sailing in very light airs, at reduced RPM - the Guiana Current is giving us a lift of 1.5 knots.

This Atlantic crossing has been good to us - less than 20 hours of engine use since we departed Cape Town, though the sails have certainly taken a bashing. At every stopover we've had the sewing machine out on deck doing sail repairs, and I can see more work to be done in our next port. In Suriname we'll head up the Suriname River around 30 miles, to reach the small Waterland Resort and Marina, where we'll take a break and spend some time doing maintenance chores and local touring.

Incidentally, our log books tell me that when we reach Suriname Ley and I will have sailed over 48,000 nautical miles together, over almost 19 years. We certainly didn't plan for it, but the adventure continues...

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