Day 22 towards Cape Horn - A booby comes to visit, in continuing grey conditions

On going up on deck to keep an eye out for the ship, I was kept entertained for a good half hour by a brown booby trying to land in our rigging to roost overnight - darkness was just falling.

Jeanne Socrates Nereida with tools

Tim Sell / www.sausalitodiving.com

Monday 12th November 2012

Not a lot of interest to report today - the same dull grey sky and lumpy grey seas with still a fair swell running from NNE. There's been a Low to the W of us, so it's taken away the warmth & blue skies I'd been expecting here (we even had some rain mid-afternoon) - but it must dissipate soon! Winds have been NE, becoming NNE as the day progressed, mostly 18-20kt, giving good boat speed around 7kt, easing to 16kt mid-afternoon and up to a boisterous 23kt in the early evening - when the 'Sven Maersk' crossed our path, a mere 1.5 ml ahead, on passage from Balboa, Panama Canal, to Russia with a cargo of containers. (We kept a good eye on each other!) From Russia (ETA 28th Nov), they'll go south to China and then back to the Panama Canal for their next load... We exchanged good wishes for a safe passage.  

On going up on deck to keep an eye out for the ship, I was kept entertained for a good half hour by a brown booby trying to land in our rigging to roost overnight - darkness was just falling... It was amazingly agile and managed to grab hold of the wires just above the first spreader several times, but had to let go because there was nowhere suitable for it to land on in the lumpy seas running at the time - strings I have rigged between the mast steps and shrouds must have also been a problem for it. That's exactly what I thought might have happened at the mast top a few days back, when the wind instrument suddenly started giving silly readings... It was making the same kind of twittering noise I'd heard then.  

Still heading just E of S - partly thinking about angle to Trade winds (NETrades now & then SE Trades once S of the ITCZ) but mainly looking at avoiding possible areas of strong convection around 10N where the ITCZ band starts. Presently making for 120W which looks nicely in between the nasty stuff - for the moment!! It's always such a gamble - and the forecasts never show all the real-life detail you get once you're there!!  

The autopilot is defintely behaving fine now - that's a relief... Having received a prompt email response from Raymarine UK, I have some checks on the resistance of the wires from the rudder reference unit to the course computer to make, but that will be easier to do when the swell is less - no hurry. (That will show if the system has been stressed /damaged or not)  

I was hoping to see a meteorite shower near sunrise - but the cloud layer prevented that! John, VK4DBJ, in Queensland, had kindly responded to my query on the name of the bright planet I'd seen just above Taurus the other night - Jupiter, he tells me, .... with Saturn becoming clearer in the E sky near sunrise - but he also mentioned the annual Taurid meteor shower we were passing through over these two days - no chance of seeing it unfortunately, with this cloud ....  

DMG to 3pmPST/2300GMT: Much better than of late, at 145 n.ml !!; Golden Gate Bridge: 830n.ml; Strait of Juan de Fuca was 1466n.ml away at 3pm & our position was 720 ml W of the coast of the Baja Peninsula in Mexico, near Todos Santos.

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