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May 21, 2005

Poseidon always has the last laugh...

Day 10. 21st May 2005. 1441 hrs local Darwin
LAT: S 8 degs, 21. 27'
LONG: E 126 degs, 13.71'
Wind: zilcho
Heading: 260 degrees M

I remember on the Hawaii to Tarawa voyage I thought I had it in the bag on day 71. The next day the last of the 3 x watermakers failed and thanks to bad usage of the water reserves on my part I was left with no water for the remaining 40 miles. I should have learnt something after this lesson.

Yesterday we thought we had this voyage in the bag also. Then the wind dropped this morning and we found ourselves pedaling on the same spot for 4 hours. The cause was quickly identified via the GPS - a 1-1.5 knot counter-current running against us from west to east; the remnants of the easterly set that predominates along the north coast of Timor during the wet season (Nov-April) and which can linger on into the transitional period of May-June. We'd been wondering why we hadn't been making better progress these past few days with such a strong wind astern, but hadn't thought anything of it until now.

So it looks like it'll be a 40-mile slog to the finish. At 2.5 knots under our own steam we're able to make 1 nautical mile good each hour against the 1.5 knot counter-current. This means it'll take 2-days to get to Dili, instead of the expected 20 hours (i.e. tomorrow morning). It's grueling on the knees and the legs, so we're down to 1-1.5 hour pedal shifts to keep each pedaler fresh. Plus the pedal unit is starting to make some interesting noises so I doubt it will last much longer before we have to change it out.

The bottom line is - there is no other option but to thrash it out. As I told Lourdes earlier, at least we're making SOME progress. I remember times in the doldrums on the Tarawa voyage when I was going backwards for days at a time. Ditto the Coral Sea voyage with April. So it's all relative. And once you've let go of the previous reality of scenario A happening (in this case getting to Dili tomorrow morning), accepting an alternative scenario (of getting there a day later) is really not such a big deal.

Our one chance of salvation lies in a forecast inshore breeze of 10 knots in the afternoon. We'll see if this comes to anything. Fingers X'd.

Posted on May 21, 2005 6:51 AM


I think a bout of hysterical laughter is needed to get through this little episode! How frustrating for you both. Come on Poseidon - let's get that breeze going!

A x

Posted by: astrid at May 21, 2005 9:27 AM