Day 18 towards Cape Horn – We cross over into Mexico..! Calling all birders…

Went to heat coffee - propane had run out!

Jeanne Socrates Nereida

Courtesy of Jeanne Socrates

Thursday 8th November 2012

Went to heat coffee – propane had run out! Got slightly worried that it was so soon but then remembered it had been impossible to top it up before leaving – a problem with a valve (something on a list for my return already!) – so changed tank to new one. We’ll see how long this one lasts… (I have a total of 60lbs of propane left for cooking on the hob burners – I shan’t use the oven)

A grey, cold morning, but later the cloud started breaking and by 2pm there was a big area of blue sky & the sun was shining, with just a few white clouds … I took off my warm jacket. The trouble was the wind was down – taking our 6-7kt of speed with it – so we were ambling at around 5.5kt – but the break in the clouds soon moved ahead and grey, showery clouds took its place again…. along with increasing NW wind and swell – so back to a good boatspeed again. It’s frustrating not to know exactly what the wind is doing…! From the erroneous, under-reading display, I can only say what it’s more than!


Well before sunset, the band of raincloud had passed on well ahead, leaving a completely clear sky behind – and not much wind again… But at least what current there is seems to be favourable, helping us along .. presently (6pm) back to ambling again at around 5kt ….

24hr DMG to 1500PST/ (best so far, since leaving Victoria!); Golden Gate; Strait of Juan de Fuca is now away and our position is 350ml due W of San Diego and Tijuana – we just crossed over into Mexico…!

Had email from cruising friends in Tonga – big storm system had caused havoc among boats returning to NZ – one was rolled with major damage, including hatches missing. In 50kt winds and enormous seas, boats and aircraft are standing by to help when conditions ease. Doesn’t sound good, but so far the two onboard are OK, although slightly injured. A sailing yacht standing by has itself suffered some damage – & still has 700 miles to go to NZ. Other news – on the US election – everyone will have heard in detail, so no need to mention here…


Another email was from Diana Doyle who was the hard-working instigator of the first-ever “SeaBC – Sea Bird Count” last December. I’m reproducing it here, in the hope that some of you reading this will be able to contribute your own sightings to the project – It’s a good excuse to get out on a boat…..yours or a friend’s. You can contribute more than one day’s sightings and if you’re not sure what the bird is – take a photo & send it in… !

Diana writes:

“I’d like to encourage fellow birders to participate in the “SeaBC Sea Bird Count” this November, December or January. Hitch a coastal or offshore ride with a sailing or fishing buddy, or count while chartering or taking a cruise.


This project, in its second year, is organized by a group of nine long-distance birding sailors from around the world, including Wendy Clarke, Diana Doyle, Brenda Free, Yvonne Katchor, Beth Leonard, Katharine Lowrie, Devi Sharp, Jeanne Socrates, and Dorothy Wadlow.

Last year’s inaugural count spanned 100º of latitude, from Maine to Antarctica. The Caribbean 1500, Baja Ha-Ha, Salty Dog Rally, Atlantic Rally for Cruisers, Seven Seas Cruising Association, Island Cruising Association, Ocean Cruising Club, and many other organizations helped spread the word to their fleets.

This year we are encouraging participants to take digital photos of any seabirds. All data goes to Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s eBird database (


An instruction & tally sheet (under SeaBC/Resources) and additional information are available on the community page at, or by direct PDF download at:

Please join the count in any way you can and contribute much-needed information about pelagic birds!”

Diana Doyle

m/v Semi-Local

St. Augustine, Florida

Read the next blog post here.