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December 11, 2005

Idlewild Log Entries

August 12, 2006
August 8, 2006
July 30, 2006
July 17, 2006
July 8, 2006
June 25, 2006
June 21, 2006
June 11, 2006
May 9, 2006
April 21 2006
March 28, 2006
March 12, 2006
February 12, 2006
January 30, 2006
January 16, 2006
January 3, 2006
December 27, 2005
December 11, 2005
November 29, 2005
November 16, 2005
October 22, 2005
October 11, 2005
October 1, 2005
September 27 2005
September 14 2005
September 13 2005
September 12 2005
September 11 2005
September 10 2005
September 5 2005
August 26 2005
August 19 2005
August 8 2005
August 3 2005
July 25 2005
July 23 2005
July 15 2005
July 4 2005
June 30 2005
June 25 2005
June 16 2005
June 11 2005
June 9 2005
May 22 2005
April 14 2005
March 2005
October 5 2004
September 2004
August 2004
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July 2003

 This crossing from Cape Verdes to St. Helena started with very slack winds but they increased as we went until 15 kts on the nose was the norm. The doldrums are north of the equator, in the Atlantic. Winds had picked up after the doldrums and the southerly current is cooler than the doldrums. On Nov 27 the sea temperature was 30, but on Dec 2 it was only 27 and at St Helena 23. It will only be about 15 near Cape Town so back to long pants until ashore.

Temperature at night is nice but during sunshine hours we need plenty of circulation. We can't get decent air flow when the sea is lively because we get too much sea spray coming in. It can get sweaty unless you sit on the afterdeck which is great if you are harnessed in and we are not rolling radically.

Alice brought an anemometer to Canaries so we can now measure wind speed and direction. This is a big help especially at night. Interestingly indicated speeds show more than what we were estimating, I wish we would have had it in the North Atlantic.

On this leg of our journey we kept to 1500 rpm, but our speed varied from 4.5 to 6.8 kts. The wind is an obvious part of that difference but current can be significant too. If there was no wind we could measure current but there are always puffs that influence any measurement. From here to the Arctic to California we have seen our speed change up to 2 kts in the open sea where there was no explanation except current. These currents are often not predicted, and even our computer planning program that supplies data worldwide tells us not to rely on it for planning in most places. When we were in the Arctic on an ice flow, or held fast by the ice, we could tell our speed exactly, but if we put a fishing line through the ice, it often indicated supplementary current by hanging at a considerable angle. This tells us that for long journeys we need to calculate about 20% extra fuel above our best guess.

Flying fish are common in the tropics and every morning there are several on deck that didn't make it across on their way over. We often see dolphins but no sharks yet. Kevin tried swimming with the dolphins one day but they quickly disappeared. He did however touch a dolphin from the dinghy when we had a lot of them close one day.

It's not as exciting as the Arctic and the wild North Atlantic, but it is fun and interesting every day. I'm glad we were able to talk Brad into staying for the rest of the trip as 3 on watch gives more rest and leisure time.

We got fuel, changed oil & alternator belt, took accumulator off & drain water, fill battery water, wash salt off windows, deck & railing, clean head, vacuum all, and do a lot of laundry by hand in local tubs. Brad sent email but slow and very expensive, 1 pound to start and 6 pounds per hour, and, phone was 2 pounds per minute so cheaper on the sat phone. Harbormaster, customs and immigration take time as do inquiries for tours etc. We had hoped to get under way in 2 days, but were 3.

Truly a great place to visit. There is no airport and the only public transportation to the Island is by the "mail ship" the 'St. Helena' which comes every 2 to 4 weeks depending on where from. This provides a unique culture of very friendly people. We gave the harbor master a brochure, which he must have given to the radio station because the next day people were telling us about it. A tour of the Island including Napoleon's houses and his tomb were great. I enjoy the history and learned a lot. The Island was first discovered in 1502 by the Portuguese and a lot of interesting history since then.

It is a pleasure for us uni-lingual people to visit an English speaking place again. We can get the message across but not conversation.

There were 3 or 4 other cruising boats here, but at anchor it is not as easy to meet and visit them.

Kevin spotted 2 Orcas (killer whales) yesterday. They playfully followed us like dolphins for a while.

Kevin & I watched for the "green flash" Dec 11. I saw it, but Kevin looked at his camera just as it came and went. Anyone who has seen the "green flash" will realize how elusive they are. For information email dalegray@hotmail.com

1 day out of St Helena bound for Cape Town. We had gusts to 35 kts coming around the corner of St Helena but settled now to 7kts so we speeded up to 7.5 kts until wind comes up again.