The locals in St Helena advised there was an unusual 2.2 metre swell picking up from the north on Friday, which would make the anchorage uncomfortable and landing on the dockside rather difficult, if not impossible.
An in-depth look at our large scale weather charts, thanks to a fellow cruiser’s Starlink high-speed internet, showed the swell was generated from a massive storm off the east coast of Canada and pushing across the Atlantic towards England (sofa sailors back home, brace, brace, brace)!
We had planned to leave on Friday anyhow and when we noticed the swell begin to increase, we were glad to be away by 9am and casting off the lines from the mooring buoy.
While routine engine checks had been carried out before we left, a problem with the starboard engine was noticed five minutes after departure. Further investigation showed an issue with the impeller (which plays an important part in bringing sea water in to cool the engine). While we hoped to sail not motor, it still needed to be fixed. Thankfully replacing the faulty one wasn’t an issue, but just a hot and sweaty job for Ian and Ferg bent upside down in the engine bay, trying to find all the little bits that had broken off and gone into the cooling system – all this while we were slowly floating around at sea.
The wind was being fickle, so we went through a series of sail changes using the mainsail, Code G and finally the parasail – the latter went up and down several times into the evening as the wind changed direction and speed.
We were just in the middle of our 5pm mocktails when we noticed we were being chased by a double rainbow. While we joked this could result in two pots of gold landing on the boat, we realised it was more likely to bring us a free boat wash with some significant rain. And it did!
If that wasn’t enough excitement, all three fishing lines then went berserk and we landed another brace of Mahi Mahi. Plans for pre-prepared chilli went out of the window and within two hours the fish had been barbequed (in the rain), and were on the table.
Overnight, we’ve had dramas with four squawking birds wanting a lift on the solar panels, a few more rain bursts and also the gas alarm going off due to water in the gas locker. As dawn breaks on our second day, we’re hoping it’s going to be a much quieter one, although I suspect it’s still going to be wet!
Total miles sailed in 24 hours: 131
Total miles to go to Fernando de Noronha: 1598
Date: Friday 3rd March 2023
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