Monday, February 22, 2010
Sunday, February 21, 2010
Pic 2: Another grey day down in the 40's
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Four months at sea today, but it still feels like only yesterday that we were leaving Sydney! It's almost a bit scary how fast the time has flown and how completely I've settled into everyday life out here. But I'm also really looking forward to all things land and home.
We've got pretty rubbishy, overcast and drizzly weather at the moment but no complaints as progress is good. The wind is about 25 knots and because we're
running pretty close to directly with it, Ella's Pink Lady is rolling and surfing a little uncomfortably. Not long now till we're back in the 40's and with the temperature dropping a little more, it looks like my nice, sunny Atlantic holiday is over. But on the upside, hopefully I start seeing a few more albatrosses again.
There's still the odd ship around. Another one passed pretty close last night, they were really friendly again and when I mentioned over the radio that I was a little uncomfortable with how close we were set to pass each other, they immediately offered to change course to give us a little more room.
Something I forgot yesterday was to give you an update on how the food is going. Apart from those few tragedies with the Pringles and Tomato Sauce,
overall it's all going really well. I'm eating a bit less than what Mum planned for, which means there's quite a bit left over in each food bag, which
means that I'm able to pick out my favorites and leave the not so good stuff. The dried fruit, chocolate, pasta, tinned pie, mixed Chinese vegetables and tuna are the first things to go and by the end of the fortnight, the pile of leftover's normally includes crackers, banana chips, dried peas and tinned beans. Which gives you a pretty good idea of my likes and dislikes. Anyway to cut a long story short it looks like I'll be returning with enough food to feed a small army!
We've got just under 600nm sailing to do to pass under the Cape of Good Hope. So that's going to be it for today.
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
I'll admit I'm not really all that thrilled about the south part, after having temperatures between 20 to 26 c for so long. I can't seem to get enthusiastic about heading south back into cooler waters, I don't think Ella's Pink lady and Parker like the idea of the cold any more than I do. It's taking a lot of correcting from me to keep us heading south east rather than east. But unless we do head back to more southern latitude it's going to take us much longer to get back home. So south and cold it is, reluctantly!
Anyway, I promised a condition report on how Ella's Pink Lady is holding up. Overall it's pretty good considering the miles she's covered. I mean, how you would feel after almost 4 months hard work without a day off!?
To start with, I suppose you could say that along with the bent up targa frame, a few other scars and the odd rust spot on the deck and stainless steel, she is looking slightly weather beaten. But the rigging, sails, sheets etc are all doing pretty well, with only a few signs of chafe and wear.
Parker, the now slightly crooked Fleming windvane, is doing as good a job as ever steering us, although he does have a bit of a habit of chafing through the lines that link him to the tiller, which means I'm constantly end for ending, or shortening them.
The little Yanmar engine has really proved itself and has never once not fired up first go, when I start it up to give the batteries an some extra charge (out of gear of course). The only maintenance it has needed has been a quick tightening of a fan belt, the occasional squirt of grease on the stern gland (where the prop shaft goes through the hull) and I had to drain a little water from the fuel filter last week. One of our local mechanics (Jim) fitted a special filter that separates water from diesel (we actually got some water in the fuel tank during one of the knockdowns, when we were upside down). So thanks Jim!
Since the starboard solar panel got a little bent up during that storm, it's rudely stopped contributing any power to the batteries. But as the other panels and wind generator are still doing their share and because we've still got plenty of diesel, this isn't too much of a loss.
Fresh water supplies are doing ok. I've got enough to last till home, using close to 2 litres per day, which is plenty for drinking, along with my juice. But it doesn't leave a lot to spare, so the fresh water is strictly for drinking and cooking unless I get some good rain and manage to collect some more.
Most of the electrical equipment is holding up pretty well against the damp and wet. Well apart from one of my Panasonic hand-video cameras which got a little wet whilst filming some dolphins a while back, ouch! But the Toughbook laptop has more than proven itself it be super-tough, after coping a lot of salt water and mis-treatment. I'm down to using only one burner on the meth stove and have more meth than I'd be able to use in about three circumnavigations, so it looks like we over catered a little on that one!
And the skipper, well her hair has grown quite a bit longer and as far as I can tell, she's as healthy as ever. Although I do wonder if my legs are a bit thinner. I still do various exercises for them most days, but I'm thinking that maybe I won't be running any marathons right after getting home!
Well that's enough waffle for now.
Monday, February 15, 2010
I've been spending my time either in the cockpit hand steering or buried in a book trying to ignore the rolling and it's pretty frustrating - very frustrating actually!
Not making any progress makes it feel like we're just wasting time out here. I've discovered that the best way to stop from pulling my hair out is to apply the 'refuse to let it get to me' strategy like I do for storms. Isn't it great that teenagers are good at being stubborn? Oh and
chocolate that helps too!
The good news is that the wind is forecast to start picking soon, so looking forward to that.
I was going to give you all a more detailed rundown on how Ella's Pink Lady
is holding up, all the wear and tear etc. But I'll save that for tomorrow.
PS - Thanks for all the Happy Valentine's Day messages!
Saturday, February 13, 2010
This is definitely an attitude I'm going to have to put some serious effort into changing, if I ever decide to have a go at racing. Otherwise I'd be left at the back of the fleet every time the sun came out!
The other day I finally had the bright idea of un-bolting the Toughbook computer from its place at the nav station and taking it out into the cockpit to get some typing done. (Don't ask me why I didn't think of this earlier?). Sitting in front of a computer is a hundred times more pleasant when outside right next to the water. It's also far easier to persuade myself to actually sit down and get everything done. Apologies to anyone reading this while surrounded by four walls!
So while sitting outside in my lovely outdoor office I had two cute bluefish join us. They spent the afternoon swimming around us, nibbling away at who knows what on the hull. It's good to know that someone's keeping the hull clean of weed. Sort of like a drive-through car wash really!
Ella's Pink Lady is moving nicely at the moment but we've got headwinds with the wind from the south east which means that we're not quite making the course that I'd like to be on. Also, tomorrow or possibly later today, we should becrossing over the Prime Meridien. I can't wait to be back in the eastern hemisphere, then it really will feel like we're on the way home.
It's great to have everyone back online after the problems with the blog server. The technical details are completely beyond me, so I'll stay out of trying to explain, but it sure sounds like it caused all sorts of drama back on land. Welcome back to everyone anyway!
Thursday, February 11, 2010
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Due to technical issues, we will remain on Blogspot for now. The Official Jessica Watson Blog "will" have a new home once these issues are rectified. This will be at:
You will then be able to get all the information and updates on Jessica in the one place on her website. All of Jessica’s posts and everyone’s comments will also be transferred across, so you will not miss a thing.
We apologise sincerely to everyone for the technical issues experienced this week during the transfer of servers. You have all been very patient and we appreciate that.
We've had both very little wind and plenty of wind in the last few days. All made much more pleasant because of the tropical feeling temperatures. I actually found a few little flying fish (which are mostly only found in warmer waters) on deck and got wet inspecting it. But I don't squeal half as loud these days when an unexpected wave gives me a drenching!Along with the flying fish I've been seeing quite a bit of plastic and rubbish floating past recently, it looks so out of place and ugly drifting by on the swell. So I've resolved to put a lot more effort into refusing plastic bags and using less plastic when I get home.
Yesterday and again last night, the wind was up to 35 knots which kept Ella's Pink Lady moving nicely, reefed down and flying along. Sunday started out being extremely frustrating when the wind dropped right out to nothing. It wasn't so much the fact that we were making no progress that had me on edge, but the horrible rolling motion. With a big 4m swell leftover from the latest weather system and no wind to
hold the sails steady, the rolling was extremely un-pleasant and really had me in a bad mood till the sky cleared and the sun came out. That one little thing made all the difference!
I spent the rest of the day having a great time in the sunshine going through my extensive stash of Ella Bache products, giving myself a total pampering and ensuring that my skin got its share of attention too!
By the time the wind started coming in again I was feeling better than I had in a long time, definitely ready to take on the rest of the world!
Another ship passed last night and as I often do, I gave them a call on the VHF radio and to check that they were aware of our position. Despite the fact that I'd rather have been asleep, the ship's watch-keeper sounded really friendly, it was good to chat to him till the conversation came to a bit of a dead-end, when I explained what exactly I was doing out here. I get that reaction quite a bit, apparently it must just be a little too much for them to take in or something?
But to be fair to them, I suppose it's a bit out of the norm to come across at little pink yacht in the middle of nowhere disappearing in and out of the swell on a dark windy night. And well, I suppose it would be quite un-expected to be casually told by a girly sounding voice that her next port of call is Sydney!
So time for a long awaited update on this fishing stuff. No good news I'm afraid. I've been putting the line out every now and then but after a bird went for the lure and got himself tangled in the line a few weeks back I've been a bit timid about it all since. The bird got himself free but I felt so bad, that I spent the rest of the afternoon feeding the other birds chocolate biscuits (I'm pretty into my chocolate biscuits so I think that gives you a pretty good idea of how bad I felt!). Seeing as I've only got so many chocolate 'bickys' onboard, you could say I've been a bit scare-easy about putting the line out recently. But we've still got plenty of miles to go, so I'm
sure I'll get my confidence back sometime soon.
That's it for me today, the wind has dropped off to 15 knots, so it's time to go pull anther reef out of the mainsail to keep us moving.