DAY 5: SUNDAY 2nd November 2014
Slop. Yaw. Flap. Slop. Yaw. Flap. Still have a 2knot current against us and we’re averaging about 3knots. To put that into perspective, that’s about 6kms per hour – walking speed. My dear old ma walks faster than that! With 745nm to our destination, Richards Bay, Blue Heeler is painfully yawing in the zero wind. This is a slow trip. Unlike flat conditions of Madagascar waters, the Mozambique Channel is serving up 1m sloppy chop from the sou’west slapping into the hull stalling forward motion. Although we managed to sail overnight, we had to burn our precious diesel.
We will have wind though. New grib forecasts a low followed by a high south of Maxixe in Mozambique. Unfortunately for us, this means continued southerly waves and winds slowing our momentum and keeping us from reaching port in a decent timeframe. Not that we’re in a rush mind you, but it will be nice to not have to spend too many days out here bobbing around.
To perk ourselves up in the calm conditions today we had a salubrious deck wash. The seawater hose connects at the bow so while the baby spinny billowed in the soft wind above me, I stood at the bow squirting myself with cold seawater with nothing on except a lather of suds and a smile. Wayne’s turn. He fumbled with the soap launching the bar overboard. “I’ve dropped the soap!”, he cried, but it was too late. The soap sank into the depths. If we see a whale blowing bubbles from his blowhole we’ll know where it ended up!
Crew condition Day 5: clean; still waiting for good wind; eyeing off comfort food (peanut butter/chocolate) Day 5 distance: a shameful 85nm, motor sailing
DAY 6: MONDAY 3rd November 2014
A massive wave flipped the boat trapping me underneath. Wayne’s hand stretched out to me but he couldn’t reach me. I struggled to swim upwards to his outstretched fingers but the current held me down. My lungs were bursting as I rapidly sank in the heavy water. It was then I woke wide eyed with a gasp. Crikey! I was having the best sleep! Shame about the scary dream though. Happens sometimes…
Actually I managed to get a decent sleep overall on the fifth night with conditions much more favourable than the previous night. By the end of the day we could see by the SOG (speed over ground) that the countercurrent was easing. There is a southerly low forecast for this week but at present we’re battling through the effects of a high off the southern tip of Madagascar. Conditions are 20/25 knot winds, close hauled and 3-4m waves to ride over. Not particularly comfortable. We may have a reprieve today with light winds expected. The soon-to-be-full moon is welcome company in the evenings. Today we’ll update our weather gribs as we’re heading to the business end of the voyage. The south flowing Algulhas Current. So while we’re battling walls of water and dipping stale bread in soup, ladies around Australia are glamming up; putting on new frocks and positioning their fascinators just right on their hairdos for a chicken and champagne Melbourne Cup lunch. Good luck to all those having a flutter! Put $5 on something with Blue in the name!
Current position: 21*09.700S 038*50.000E
Day 6 distance: a slow 98nm
Crew condition: happy to cross the halfway mark
Miles to Richards Bay: 585nm
ETA: 8-10 November