Friday, 21 December 2012

Day 6, passage from PNG to Palau and a mystery at sea

We're on day six now and there are three days to Christmas and it's still within reach to make it to Palau in time. Two days ago the weather file we downloaded indicated that a tropical storm/potential typhoon was forming NE of us and heading just north of Palau, so we have mostly been heading west (as opposed to NW which is the direction of Palau), so we could quickly head south if things were starting to look dicey. We also got Helen (Sala) to keep an eye on the weather (Guam is especially good for typhoon monitoring) for us, thanks for that! Thankfully it doesn't look as bad anymore and we are again heading NW.

Weatherwise it has also been up-hill, as we have had about 1 knot of current against us the last two days. This slowed us down considerable especially on day 4, but then suddenly (of course at night just after the moon had gone down so it was hard to see much) what initially seemed like a squall was just lots of strong wind coming (30 knots), but with a squally front also containing rain. Luckily it's on our starboard rear quarter, so no where near as bad as beating into it, but with it the sea has been very rough and consequently we're rolling around a lot. It has eased town to sometimes maybe 20 knots, but often more. At this point we're pretty keen to arrive at Palau and just get this passage over and done with.

The other day we spotted what initially looked like a ship. We're close to a shipping route from Chine or Japan to Australia/NZ, not sure, but anyway, it means we fairly often pass ships, or to be exact, they pass us. They always come up on the AIS before we actually spot them visually, so it was unusual to first spot the ship. As we got a bit closer, it was clear it wasn't a bit ship. Was it a fishing boat or something then? It did seem very square and strange. With binoculars and the zoom on the camera, we both realised at the same time it was a house! We weren't too far away from it and could make it on the tack, so we turned towards it. As we came closer we could see it indeed was like a raft with a small house built on it and it was actually fairly well made and sturdy. Lots and lots of birds were using it as a resting place. Very strange experience for sure. We're very happy we spotted it during the day, as it certainly wouldn't be nice to hit it at full speed at night time, obviously there were no lights on it.

Speaking of birds, this night we had two birds come rest on Sophia. We tried chasing them away, but they kept coming back. It took them a while to realise the swinging boom (we're going for head sail only) wasn't the best place to sit and rest, it was real funny to see how they were struggling to hang on.

Position: 4, 09, 58 N and 138, 46, 27 E
Miles to go: 318

PS: Last post, day 4, was a little unfinished, I had written it on my watch and Phil sent it while I was sleeping without my usual last check-over.
This e-mail was delivered via satellite phone using GMN's XGate software.
Please be kind and keep your replies short.

No comments:

Post a Comment