A week of reflection

Written by David Townsend

12, October 2008

Position 08°00’040N 061°34’507E

Arabian Basin, Indian Ocean.

654Nm SSW off Salalah, Oman.

645Nm east off Nogal, Somalia.

Hi dear friends, thank you for following my journey. Here is this week’s update.

On day 53 of my passage from Darwin to Yemen it has been a week of reflection onboard.

Life Onboard:

A week spent punching the current with weak headwinds. A week of reflection. I had originally planned to be there this week however for most of the trip I have had light winds. Most of this week I have spent being becalmed, drifting. On the upside with calmness all around me and a new moon in the sky has made for a very peaceful time. Laying topside, not a breeze touching the sea, looking up into the heavens and the stars.

Due to the length of this passage I have run out of jobs to do onboard so being becalmed become frustrating, more so now that I am only 900Nm from Aden. I have taken down the H.F. antenna which is hoisted from the spinnaker halyard for it has been there a lot longer than anticipated. I wanted to check for chaffing where the halyard sits over the pulley and where it near the upper shroud. I tied a knot in the halyard so to move these points off slightly then between the knot and the end of the halyard I slid some hose pipe over the line to try and give it some protection from the shroud.

As I reach the end of my supply of ‘Red dusters’ (The English mercantile flag) I have had to drag out a, well lets just say not quiet a legal version. When several were purchased a few years ago one of them was missing the red cross of Wales. When Pinta enters the port of Aden she will be flying the flag not seen in these or indeed any other waters for around 150 years (not sure about the exact time).

Tuesday was the most frustrating, I covered 36Nm during 24 hours however 32Nm of which I spend drifting on with the current going backwards. I managed to make 4Nm headway during one squal. I passed or should that be drifted pass the biggest fishing vessel I have ever seen. It was the size of a Frigate.

The light winds and calm sea’s are I suppose a blessing really for god knows how the steering is staying together. I am nursing Pinta gingerly along, hopefully to port. Depending on the wind I think I have another ten days out hear, maybe fourteen days.

Well, I spoke a little to soon there for last night (Saturday) one hell of a thunder and lightening storm came over. Initially around 20 miles away it looked like clouds were exploding, colours from electric (what else) blue, to moves, to pink lit the horizon. As it came close streaks of lightening starting from clouds high above went from cloud to cloud, eventually reaching the sea where upon the sea lit up around the strike. Powerful, bright neon blue lines across the sky. There was little I could do other than to reef down and stick it out.

Like so many other times I was luck for it headed SW so by the time it reached me the lightening was well to port. I just had some strong winds and rain like, well let’s just say I could not see Pinta’s stern some 3 metres away from where I was standing under the dodger. See I’m not that daft after all ϑ

The Boat:

A slight leak in the intake of the heads was noticed. I have tightened the jubilee clips (Hose clips) and all seems okay.

Fair winds, calm seas.