Day 29, Falkland Islands to St Helena

1030Z 13APR22, Day 29, Falkland Islands to St Helena. Yesterday and today have both started off cloudy and gray with rain clouds around and the accompanying highly variable winds. Yesterday did turn into a pleasant afternoon with sun, semi-consistent winds and good boat speeds.

Current Position: 17 35S / 008 20W
24 hour progress: 132nm, 5.5kts avg SOG. Overall progress for the passage is 3,696nm, approximately 180nm left to go via a direct line to St Helena.

The last 24 hours have been good progress in mostly the right direction. But it is a bit too little, too late. We are continuing to look at landfall on Thursday night or Friday morning. We are now hoping for a daylight arrival but that seems a bit unlikely as we have to keep up a rather high average speed in the correct direction to make daylight on Thursday or slow way down for Friday morning. The curse of nearly equal day and night times. We shall see and as always do the best with whatever we get.

The winds are supposed to lighten today so maybe that makes slowing down easy. But the winds are supposed to be fresher on Friday so being done and secured to the mooring before they come up also sounds appealing. The good news is that the moon is nearly full and already up at sunset until about 2:30 or 3:00am so that at least helps with some visibility in the mooring field. Of course, Mr Murphy may coordinate with Poseidon leaving us to arrive in the truly dark hours between 2:30 - 5:30am or with the sky clouded over.

Over the course of the day the winds were up and down so we reefed the main and then shook out the reefs repeatedly which kept us busy. They leveled out in the evening and over night giving a little respite. Then they were back to quite variable this morning continuing the work of reefing and then shaking out the reefs. Back and forth. Rinse and repeat.

We have done ok on course over the last 24 hours. We are just staying as tight to the wind as we can and taking whatever course that happens to be. The early morning saw us making a bit of extra easting which was very welcome. The other complication is that we do have some current working against us. Our heading would be on course and giving us extra easting but our actual COG (course over ground) is 10 degrees or so west leaving us just on course to St Helena, sometimes a bit better and often a bit under. It's just another element that seems to be working a bit against us this passage.

We have had a couple of good talks aboard and we are now all looking forward to landfall. It has been agreed that while we are disappointed that we didn't reach the goal of arrival before the test, we are still all happier that we tried and came up short than not having tried at all. Spirits are rebounding and we are making plans for hanging out together on a mooring for Easter weekend.

We did not fish yesterday. We decided it was a bit sporty with the higher winds, higher speeds and running close hauled. The line is back in the water today.

We saw 2 whales!!! Ronan spotted the fins close to the boat while he was on watch. We don't know what kind they were. Both whales were relatively small and dark colored with hooked dorsal fins. They were staying on or near the surface and not blowing much into the air. Whatever species they were, it was exciting for all of us to get a quick look at them.

Still no birds. The number of flying fishes remains low but occasionally we are seeing groupings - which are called a glide when flying above the water (and a school when in the water). Also, we learned that a group of penguins is called a waddle on land and a raft in the water. (We wonder if they are called a pod when porpoising above the water? Or a glide as well? And if they are standing on an iceberg, and the iceberg is floating north, and there are orcas in the water, are they a waddle on an iceberg life raft or a raft that should waddle??? Queue "Fox in Socks".)

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