I was warned about the doldrums. The tropical conversion zone where the wind goes to die. I don’t think anyone who spoke to me about the doldrums referred to them fondly, so I was surprised by how happy I was to be greeted by absolutely zero wind this morning. For me, the doldrums will give me some much-needed rest and I was thrilled to be here.
First up I got to work on sorting out both the boat and myself.
I cleaned everything inside and out (including scrubbing the toilet), did my washing, aired the bedding and opened all the windows to give the boat a good freshening up too.
I also did various small repairs. Nothing major, but things that with more wear and tear could turn into major breakages down the track. My plan for tomorrow (if it’s this calm) is to pull the sails down and get out the sewing kit as there are a few more areas that need patching (not to mention my tear) along with a long list of repairs.
I’ve been sailing constantly for four weeks now, so even small amounts of friction over such a long period can run through a line, a sheet or a halyard, which is why regular inspections are so crucial. If picked up early, the friction point can easily be moved and there’s no issue. It’s all about having a keen eye and picking things up early before they become problems. In the hotel business we call it preventive maintenance. Out here its more akin to survival.
I also did a detailed inventory on my remaining fuel and further analysis on fuel consumption given the forecast for light airs the coming week.
Thankfully things are still in good shape:
– 200L in tank (full)
– 7.25 Jerry Cans = 145L
– 1 x reserve can = 20L
– Total 365L which gives me a good 4 days motoring through the doldrums if needed with enough (100L) to get me to Cairns (both power generation and motoring into the marina) not including the reserve
It’s remarkable how flat the seas are today. They’re so flat that when you’re looking forwards it feels like the boat is stationary as there’s no discernible movement. No passing waves. No benchmark to show you’re going past anything. Its only when you look back and see the wake you realise you’re not stopped. For a moment your brain has a little “wobble” while it tries to compute what it’s seeing. It’s all a little disorienting to be honest but also kind of fascinating how dependent we are on known “cues” for computing what’s going on around us, without which the brain struggles to know what’s happening.
With the seas so flat the horizon is even closer, probably less than 3Nm as there are no waves or anything at all in the distance to hint at a further point. It almost feels like the ocean is folding in on itself. I try and recall the formula for measuring the distance of the horizon and am fairly sure it’s the square root of your height (in feet) times 1.2m but I’m not sure if/how that accounts for a completely flat sea.
Another interesting result of zero waves or ripples on the water meant the reflections of the sky and the clouds were like artwork. The main body of art in the sky still while the copy on the oil like water, shape shifting with the swell but still an almost perfect facsimile. I try to capture it on film as its unlike anything I’ve seen before, so hopefully it comes out – keep an eye out for my doco once I land in Cairns and get a chance to edit all this footage I’m getting too.
My nightly routine now is to star gaze for hours before falling asleep on deck as the boat and seas are so calm. I realise how much I’ll miss this when I’m back on land and commit to spending as much time gazing into the night sky as I can in the days (or nights) ahead.
Thanks Wilso!! Yes, Gill and Hazza were thrilled. Nice how involved they’ve been with the whole journey
Thank you sir! Another 16deg south to go
Many thanks Eileen. I promise I’ll make it up to Neptune and Ahyoka when my fridge is a little less bare.
Thanks Ashit!! Big shout out to Living group 7B
Thank you JoAnne. That’s very sweet of you to say that.
Ahyoka is a Beneteau Oceanis 43’ built in 2008. She’s definitely not a blue water boat, hence why I’ve had all the gear failure issues but hey, all things considered she’s doing just fine.
Thanks dear Aisha.
Thanks Dougie. As I watch the night sky out here I often I think about the time we hiked around the entire coast of Stuart Island, which has equally epic star gazing. Such a great memory.
@Innes & Sue Garden
Thanks so much Uncle Innes. I hope there wasn’t any hazing for your both when you crossed 😉
Give Sue a big hug from me and thrilled you’re both following along.
I’m so happy you’re following my journey Uncle Fergus! I can’t believe the last time I saw you was at Monikie, all those years ago. They’re still some of my fondest memories.
Thanks brother!! Thrilled you’re able to join me on this adventure.