Day 11 – Sunday March 1
A new month and Temptress is about to sail into new waters. Later today we will reach the eastern waypoint, turn twenty odd degrees to port and begin the six hundred mile leg through the Gulf of Aden to Djibouti. I spent the first part of the last watch of the night looking at the distance to go as it ticked slowly down to below one hundred.
The wind died not long after Kevin came on watch at 01:00 so we were motoring. Hopefully as yesterday and the day before it will return at sunrise. Seems we have a fuel starvation problem again but so far though the revs drop for a few seconds the engine keeps going. Another issue to investigate in port. Probably more gunk has worked its way around the tank baffles to the fuel pickup. And our mysterious thump when the engine is running is most likely related to the water trap repair but to investigate it needs the companionway stairs removing, again a task for in port.
Sunrise and it’s time to turn off the navigation, steaming and instrument lights, the latter being a two part task as the ‘instrument light’ switch at the chart table solely controls the compass light nowadays. The instrument light levels are controlled from any one of the instrument heads. The trolling line is set, today’s lure is a large red and white Rappalla style fish.
Hot cocoa is a welcome hand warmer at this time in the morning but after this morning’s cuppa there are only four Malaysian packs left. Odd of the crazy things about Malaysia is their passion for hot drink in single serving packs. Tea, coffee, Milo, hot chocolate are all packaged up this way often complete with powdered milk and sugar. So wasteful in terms of plastic packaging and occupying way too much storage space onboard we usually avoid them. In fact thanks to both the Kerala government’s plastic ban and our own assiduous removal of cardboard etc before departure, so far this passage we have generated just one bag of rubbish.
Excitement this morning, we spotted a sail on the horizon. According to the AIS it’s SY Speck and they are moving very slowly, should overhaul them in an hour or so. Tried VHF but no response. Also several ships around converging on the Gulf.
Eventually we overhauled Speck, they’d turned their radio off overnight. After a pleasant chat Kevin downloaded a forecast and relayed the essence of it to them. Speck basically has a couple of windless days ahead of them but once in the Gulf the winds should improve which raised a cheer. They are sailing at 1 knot as don’t carry enough fuel to motor any distance. Meanwhile Temptress carried on motoring, the sea glassy smooth.
Just after midday we heard our first communication from the coalition forces protecting the shipping lanes, first a Japanese aircraft calling a Chinese warship then a more general broadcast from the same aircraft. Sadly although in English the Japanese broadcaster spoke so fast we only caught the initial ‘ sécurité sécurité, all ships all ships’. A little while later they flew overhead then called us up. After saying if we need assistance, call on VHF16, they asked for our ‘ship name’ then wished us a good watch before heading off to buzz someone else. Fifty four miles to the waypoint.
It was a slow afternoon, an attempt was made to sail for a few hours during which we possibly covered as much as ten miles. Back to the engine. Lots of ships around us now. A pod of dolphins were rounding up what looked like porpoises until we realised they were huge tuna! We hooked one and slowly reeled it in, half an hour later it saw the stern, gave an enormous leap and dive and was gone taking our lure with it, it would have fed us for a month. The next one was brought in much more slowly but escaped our grasp too.
Being flat and steady gave the galley slave an opportunity to try something new, pizza! Paul Hollywood’s pizza dough recipe worked a treat, made two thirds of the quantity and it neatly fitted in a roasting tin; top tip, line the pan with baking parchment. Took a little longer than the suggested 8-10 minutes in the boat oven, more like half an hour but it was glorious with a crusty base – smoked chicken (thanks Sailors, Langkawi) and artichoke hearts with a little onion, grated cheddar and Parmesan. The tomato sauce was made by whizzing two garlic cloves, two tinned tomatoes and a spoonful of tomato purée, more than was needed. We stuffed our faces!
As it is the first of March Happy Birthday and Best Wishes for another year to family and friends with Birthdays this month, especially Ria, Anne, Martin and Ava. We are looking forward to seeing at least a few of you during our fleeting visit to the UK at the end of April. Officially it is for Steven and Laura’s Glasgow wedding but we also need to pick up the new boat registry certificate and a new bank card for the first mate as yesterday was the last valid day for the current one. Good job there are few shops up the Red Sea!
A mention for the UK Ships Registry who have been more than helpful in responding to our emails and ensuring Temptress has the vital paperwork for moving between countries. The current certificate expires early May. They even emailed us a copy of the new certificate once it in the post to Donaghadee. And, while I’m presenting bouquets to UK government departments, another must go to the Beacon Registry (aka the EPIRB database) in Falmouth who updated our emergency details promptly via a couple of emails on a Saturday, kindly sending a copy of the information they held for us to check and update!
Noonday Run: 127nm
Noon Distance to Suez: 2000nm approx