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Monday, December 28, 2009
Almost permanent company of albatrosses and petrels and I forgot to mention the most exquisite tiny storm petrel in the gale a couple of days ago - 20 second glimpse but possibly European or Wilsons. I think the smallest I have ever seen. Wonderful example of adaptation to apparently overwhelmingly adverse conditions and these birds only seem to appear when it is seriously pearshaped. Where do they go?
I assume the drag race to Hobart is now over and the press have gone home but my brief look at a grib indicated the possibility of a little boats' race. Hope so!
There's a problem with one of the servers in the Africa sailmail station which sometimes delays these posts - don't fuss if you don't get one as regularly as usual. If it gets really bad, I will revert to Iridium.
In most bits of ocean, when the wind dies, the sea subsides. I have to report that that ain't the case here - almost 36 hours after the wind dropped from the stratospheric to the merely (and here the three neurones went on strike in an alzheimeric reminder - I can't remember the single word for the lower atmosphere...) we've been in a violent steep wind wave over SW swell that seems to have only marginally subsided. The butter churn that is our little fibreglass home is still in busy, though no longer vicious corkscrew mode.
And the water temperature is 31 degrees and feels like a tepid bath. And we are on the eastern edge of the Agulhas bank where the sea bottom dives from 200 to 5000 metres. Abandoned oil drilling well heads everywhere, but submerged way down. The Agulhas current has real attitude and, like the East Australian current, cannot be ignored. Here's the warning from the chart:
Information: ORIENTATION: 237 DEG
CURRENT VELOCITY: 1KN
CURRENT IN RESTRICTED WATERS
CURRENTS WESTWARD OF LONGITUDE 24DEGE, THE AGULHAS CURRENT CONTINUES IN A GENERALLY WESTERLY DIRECTION, SPREADING OUT OVER THE AGULHAS BANK AND WEAKENING TO A RATE OF 0,5 TO 1 KNOT. THE NORTHERN EDGE OF THIS CURRENT HAS A TENDENCY TO SET TOWARDS THE LAND. THIS DEFLECTION, INCREASING DURING AND AFTER GALES, CONSTITUTES A DANGEROUS ELEMENT IN THE NAVIGATION OF THIS STRETCH OF COAST. AN INSHORE COUNTER-CURRENT, SETTING EASTWARDS AND GENERALLY FOLLOWING THE TREND OF THE COAST, MAY OFTEN BE EXPERIENCED BETWEEN 1 TO 6 MILES OFFSHORE. THERE ARE ALSO REPORTS OF AN INDRAUGHT, STRONGEST BETWEEN JANUARY AND APRIL, BEING EXPERIENCED EASTWARDS OF CAPE AGULHAS. FULLER DETAILS APPEAR IN SAILING DIRECTIONS.
We are parked at 3550 02245 with the engine idling to give us the pooptillionth of a knot necessary to provide steerage way and keep Berri from going round in gut knotting circles. From the gorblimey to the sublime and back again - 'The GRIB says' there should be another 25 knot + blow starting soon. We are now far enough north, I hope, to miss the worst of its effect. It will be noice to get clear of Africa!
some odd delays in the way Berri e mails have been sending out, hence
the double entry for today. All is OK and although Berri is rolling
about all over the place, it is now very much calmer out there. So
much so that a Consultation was in progress involving Dr Gordon and
his helpful sidekick Herr Schweppes. From Iz in UK.