Hello from 12 degrees 26 minutes north, 72 degrees 42 minutes west – or 34 miles north west of Peninsula de la Guajira, Columbia.
We had a pretty good night though, as the forecast predicted, the wind increased to Force 6 (about 22 knots) and the waves increased in size, making the task of the windvane self-steering systems more challenging. On Maunie, Winnie the Windpilotdid a sterling job of keeping us on course but Peter on Stormvogel reported that his Hydrovane windvane steering struggled with the conditions so he had to revert to the battery-draining electrical autopilot and even that didn't like the conditions much. We both had to perform gybes (turning the boats so that the wind direction moves from one aft quarter to the other, involving lots of deck work to rest the sails and yankee pole) but there was bright moonlight to work in so it all went pretty smoothly.
This morning has dawned with a perfect blue sky which is good news as our solar panels can get on with the job of silently recharging the batteries after the night when navigation lights as well as the navigation instruments and cabin lights impart a heavy load. We've got into the routine of running the diesel generator for just an hour after nightfall to ensure we have enough power reserves for the night, which is way better than the three or sometimes four hours a day we had to run it on the Atlantic crossing when we didn't have the solar panels.
After breakfast Dianne, who had done the 03.00 to 07.00 watch, retired to her bunk and so a spot of boat tidying and a shower are on the agenda for the skipper this morning. Wind has dropped a bit and the waves are smaller and more regular than last night so we 're making much more comfortable progress.
Finally we have some deaths to report, I'm afraid. Last night was a bad one for Flying Fish, of which there are hundreds around here. The bigger ones have a flying range of up to 200m and go at a helluva speed but unfortunately if there happens to be a boat in the way they don't appear to be able to take avoiding action. Dianne was hit in the back by one on her watch and this morning we threw 8 rather whiffy corpses over the side. They'd either flown aboard or been washed aboard in a wave so ended their days on the side decks.