We are making steady progress in a WSW direction in very different weather conditions from those being experienced at home. Dianne had a very quick sat phone call to her sister Norma in Hambleton, Lancashire, last night and heard about temperatures of minus 10! It would therefore be childish to tell you about our weather here – ah well, we have 25 degrees, sunshine and we're all in shorts and shirts!
Last night's Dorado supper was delicious – we brought along some bake-in-the-bag bags so marinated the fillets in butter, garlic, white wine, lemon and herbs and they worked really well (and didn't fill the boat with fish smells during cooking). Dianne did sterling work in the galley and the serving-up was a team effort in the rolling swell.
The wildlife continues to entertain us – we spotted a large turtle on the surface a couple of days ago then yesterday evening had around 20 dolphins with us for about half an hour, with plenty of out-of-the water action. Cue lots of photos of splashes and no dolphins.
This morning we spent some time trying different sail configurations. The wind was too high for the Parasailor but a bit low to get good speed with just the foresail so we hoisted the mainsail again and now have the yankee poled out one side and the mainsail on the other. It has given us good extra speed but Winnie sometimes needs a helping hand when the gusts come in. During the day, most of us are on deck or in the pilot house, reading, writing or just relaxing but the nominated watch-keeper is in charge of running the sailing side of things, keeping the logbook up to date and watching for other vessels. On the Fleet Tracker we probably look as though we are surrounded by other yachts but we can only see one at the moment. At night, it's a bit different, with just the watchkeeper on deck for their 3-hour watch. Each passes the time differently – an iPod is popular companion – but if the sky is clear, the moon and stars provide wonderful interest.
On the domestic front, all seems well. We're running the generator for about 3 hours each day to recharge the batteries and heat the water for washing ups and showers. The watermaker is a brilliant addition to the boat, as the tanks are still completely full after 5 days. It makes 30 litres per hour, producing very pure but rather tasteless water, so we have some isotonic powder (laughingly described as 'Summer Fruits') to provide some taste and minerals to our water bottles. The big challenge for the washer-upper is carrying the washing up bowl of dirty water up through the boat to be passed to someone on deck to empty over the side – this walk of death has disaster written all over it in the bumpy conditions but thankfully so far has been completed without major spillage.
Whilst it could feel quite lonely out here - as mentioned, we only very occasionally see other boats – there are lots of communication channels here. The daily SSB Radio net is a chance to chat to other boats around us and, of course, we're loving the messages from home via email.