22 April 2011, Bay of Bengal
Unanchored, abandoned, afloat. We could have hit it!
Dear Friends and Family,
We've had a glorious day - in a motor-sailing kind of way...
Last night was clear, with millions of brilliant stars. So before the moon rose at 9:30 we installed a star-finding program (Stellarium) and played around with it a bit. It's a neat program and a free download.
Then the moon rose, giving us a lovely night. The wind went light so we've been motor-sailing, but that means the seas are flat and everyone got a good sleep.
Just before 5am we saw the sky starting to lighten in the east and were treated to an hour long symphony of light as the sunrise slowly built up to it's inevitable crescendo. It's nice to be able to appreciate such beauty - so often at home we're rushing around and seldom get to just watch a magnificent sunrise or sunset.
Today has been flat and calm, with just enough wind to cool us down, and puffy little clouds watching us go by. We've even had dolphins come visiting, as well as terns and big turtles. It's been flat enough to do some chores so Sue and Shantha did a load of laundry while Jon scrubbed Chennai coal-dust from some of our ropes, refilled the water tanks and refueled our port engine from jugs.
A lovely 4 meal-dorado!
In the middle of all this we spotted what seemed to be a floating derelict fishing platform of some kind. This was 250nm from Sri Lanka, 350nm from Chennai, and 400nm from the Andaman and Nicobar Islands - really in the middle of the Bay of Bengal - so we went over to investigate.
As we approached, our fishing bungee snapped, and Jon pulled in the line to reveal a nice young Dorado (or Mahi‑Mahi), probably the best eating fish in the tropics. Dorado like to get out of the sun and this one was probably based under the abandoned fishing platform. Jon filleted him and Sue served some for lunch as the South Pacific delicacy Poisson Cru, marinated in lime with coconut, ginger, chilies, and garlic, one of our favorites for really fresh fish. Shantha, nominally a vegetarian and certainly not into "raw" meat, tried it and politely approved. Mr. Dorado will no doubt feature at dinner as well, lightly sautéed with a salad.
At noon today we were at 9°51'N 85°47'E, or 755nm from Phuket, having now sailed 480nm from Chennai (see a Google map of our positions here). Last night we passed our 1/3 point and now our GPS is saying that we should get to our turning point in the Nicobar Islands in about 4 days, with Phuket another 3 days past that. Winds are predicted to be light and may actually swing around and come from the NW, behind us, as we approach Phuket.
Fair Winds and Calm Seas -- Jon and Sue Hacking
23 April 2011, Bay of Bengal
Shantha loved watching the evening sky
Dear Friends and Family,
Bit of a quiet day today, but that's nice too. Played with our star-finder program (Stellarium) for a few hours last night until the moon rose and blotted most stars out. A quiet and uneventful night, with Shantha's delightful company to make it go quickly. She doesn't feel confident enough to take a shift of her own, but she's happy to keep us company. She's been staying up until almost 10, halfway through Jon's 8‑midnight shift, and then getting up again halfway through Sue's midnight‑4 shift.
Shantha especially likes the dawns - not surprising as they're hard to see from the city, even from her 7th floor apartment. The eastern sky starts getting less dark about 4:30 and for the next hour we get a delightful light-show as the sun plays with the clouds, different every day. This morning the light revealed a rather dark patch of cloud in front of us, but with the light winds we've been motor-sailing anyway, so it's easy to dodge the squalls. We adjusted course 30° to the south to get around the squalls and that was about the most excitement we've had all day. The rest of the time we're mostly sleeping or reading, cooking or eating.
At noon today we were near 9°30'N 87°30'E, with 630nm to go to Phuket (see a Google map of our positions here). This evening we should pass our 1/2 way point. We've got all sail up and we're scratching for every breeze we can find, but we're still going through fuel a bit faster than anticipated. The ocean and winds are flat out here so we're doing the best we can.
Fair Winds and Calm Seas -- Jon, Sue and Shantha
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