Tiptop condition

Written by David Townsend

2, October 2005

Position 11°22’284N 020°56’085W

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

As we enter the next part of our journey on route for Cape Town. I have been watching the weather every day and it’s as good as it’s going to get the only thing I had to decide was either to go around the South Atlantic High or cut inside. For info the South Atlantic high is rather static and present most of the time. I have opted to cut inside but with a weather eye on the data so I do not get becalmed too much.

As for life onboard, the only other problems we had was first to locate water and secondly to dispose of rubbish, we solved the former, although hard to find we found a source about a mile astern, the local fishermen get there ice from there and they are happy to supply water at around 1 Escudo per litre (110 Escudo’s being equivalent to 1 Euro so around 70 pence). So every 3-4 days means a little trip in the dinghy to top up our spare water containers. I maintain a tight grip on water usage and use on average around 30 litres every four days, 30 litres for drinking, personal washing, cooking and dish / cloth washing for two. I do not want to touch the main water tanks or the two 25 litre jerry cans until we have too as we have a long trip at sea ahead of us.

As for the equipment the wind generator is working well, this combined with the two solar panels keep the batteries in tiptop condition. We had a few splutters from the outboard engine yesterday but just the usual clean of the spark plug and she’s fine. The luff of the mainsail near the foot needs a little sail tape on it as there are a few perforations caused by the inline reefing system. Although this sails is over four years it has never sailed so much as now. This was noticed before our departure so hence we have a new replacement onboard.

1st October, just about to say goodbye to the last of the Cabo Verde Islands when we are surrounded by a sky of fire. Ok, not really fire but electrical discharge which gives the effect of explosions. One after another right across the sky. This went on for three hours. Next the answer every child wants to know, where’s the end of the rainbow. Well it’s located at; 14°57’601N 023°44’112W well that’s where we found it, absolutely stunning how it met the sea and you could see the land through it. No gold there though.

I’ve saved the best for last. We were becalmed in the doldrums when at 03:00hrs this morning something I have never seen before. Now most of who have been at sea have seen phosphorescence but this was something else. There is no moon here so the sky was black and very few stars so the only light was given off by our mast light. This lit up the sea around Pinta and all you could see was explosions of phosphorescence about the size of a ten pence peace now multiply this by around a few thousand and that’s what it was like. Pinta lit up by phosphorescence protruding out for about 4 metres,. Then next even better, around five dolphins came to play at 03:30hrs. Now being dark you would not expect to see them but once again the phosphorescence around them glowed forming there shape and when they move it made a tail of phosphorescence  you could actually see them darting in out glowing away.

Fair winds, calm seas.