Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Zuydorp Cliffs

Hi everyone,
Last night was a bit of a tiral with varying winds and more traffic than we've seen since Dampier. Happily boat and crew came through without issue and the crew (me) managed to get some good ZZZs in between manouevres. As our track shows, we were sailing and the wind was dead against us. Our tacking angles were horrible but we made progress.

By first light this morning the wind was quite light - so light that the autopilot lost the plot and tacked the boat. After getting her back on course I used the wind vane for a while which worked well. However I don't like using the wind vane in coastal waters while I'm sleeping since a wind change could send us inshore and onto the rocks. With the autopilot it either gives up and alarms or I wake up because the jib is luffing or we're reaching off. Anyway, by dawn the wind was too light to sail so the engine came on. Very obvious on our track since we start heading directly down the coast!

Glassed Out
The engine stayed on until 1630 this afternoon. During that time the wind died out entirely and the sea glassed out for a couple of hours. I took the opportunity to transferr two jerry cans of fuel to the main tanks so they're nearly full again. I also gave the s/s around the cockpit a bit of a wash off since everything is coated in lots of salt. Last night we charged through quite a few waves - something Zen Again seems to enjoy at times - so everything is very salty. I also found 5 flying fish (all dead sadly) around the deck and in the cockpit. The latter one was buried under a snakepit of rope so not immediately obvious.

This afternoon during the glassy period I saw whales "blowing" in the distance. They can really throw the misty breath up quite a way. I think I saw one of their backs break the surface but happily they stayed well away. Otherwise I've seen little wildlife - no birds at all, just a few fish.

It looks like a cold front will be crossing the coast tomorrow night, with strong winds reaching as far north as Geraldton. I've more or less decided to stop in Geraldton since the bad weather appears likely to persist for a while. I'm unlikely to get to Geraldton before sunset tomorrow so may heave-to off Geraldton and wait for Friday morning before entering harbour. Zen Again heaves-to quite well so that shouldn't be a problem. It's been cloud free for most of today but clouds are starting to gatheri on the western horizon.

The strong winds aren't forecast to start until later tomorrow, so hopefullly we'll have a peaceful night tonight. Right now we're at 26 41S 113 01E, sailing along quietly at 4 knots in a 6-8 knot WSW breeze.

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