Into the Big Blue again

Date: Jan. 19, 2017, noon Position: 30 52.58 S, 13 59.62 E

I’m on graveyard watch tonight. The moon isn’t up yet and the winds are brisk. Bursting galaxies of bioluminescence create an eerie green glow around the boat as we charge through the waves. Privateer herself is creating her own night lights as she tears a wide wake through the ocean swell.

250 NM off to starboard lays the shore of the Namibian desert. Cape Town is already several hundred miles astern, and the cold Benguela current is giving us an extra boost. We’re making good speeds in the SE winds, clocking a solid 8.3 knots with regular accelerations to 9 and 10 knots. The miles are slipping by. It looks like the forecast will settle down in a few days, with the winds moderating to 10 knots. For now it’s a bit rolly, but an OK price to pay for the added speed. I noticed a problematic hairline crack in the stainless steel hinge on the Monitor rudder shaft. We’ll get that looked at by a welder ASAP in St. Helena. In the meantime I am going through in my head what I’d do if the piece failed out here. Sailing is all about perceiving the dangers around you and trying to eliminate a problem before it arises.

Speaking of problems, we have a major cockroach and ant infestation on board Privateer! Such is the problem with tying alongside the docks in Africa–the marinas are teeming with roaches. Every now & then as I type, a roach crawls onto & across my computer screen. I think they like the heat inside the laptop. They’re very smart & quick–if you take the time to find something to smash them with, they will certainly get away. They have a disturbing ability to slip off countertops and literally disappear before your eyes. The only way to get them is to pound them with your bare fist, a method Kelsey pioneered and perfected. It all started when we spotted one roach a few weeks ago, and then found a hatched egg nest inside a clove of garlic. Now they have gone through a few generations=85 I’ve laid out dozens of “hotels” in all the lockers & bilges. Hopefully between that and the old fist-smash, we can get them under control without resorting to fumigation. I’d like to bring the boat to a freezing climate in North America for the winter, and freeze them off the boat. The ants were making highways across the bulkheads. Tiny little things-they didn’t have the gross-out factor like the roaches. Neptune and I laid out poison syrup traps for them and within a few hours, I was surprised to see literally thousands of ants swarming the traps. Within 24 hours almost all the ants have vanished, and my tool bench is littered with dead ants like a civil war battlefield.

We’ve just crossed latitude 30S and are now climbing back into the 20s and toward the tropics again. The nights are growing warmer and more pleasant as we sail north. In a few days we will also cross the Prime Meridian, longitude 0, and pass back into the Western hemisphere, =BD way around the world from Fiji! And shortly after St. Helena we’ll cross the Equator into the Northern hemisphere. There will be many milestones on this trans-Atlantic passage.

Nep and I are settling into our offshore routine, and the days and nights are once again blending together into the series of watches and naps. It’s pretty ideal, but I miss Kelsey & especially Taz, and tend to daydream about what they’re doing back in Minnesota right now.

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