Day 12- Monday 2 Mar
Temptress entered the Transit Corridor late Sunday at 23:30. With the new course south the boat is sailing on a port tack at three knots southwestwards. Ships are heading north on our port side, going south to starboard. We are attempting to stay in the couple of miles wide strip of no mans land between them. After so long on a starboard tack (since Langkawi), it seems odd to be heeled the other way. The current is such that Temptress was initially heading twenty degrees lower than her actual course over the ground, which in turn is an approximation of the bearing to the waypoint at the other end of the corridor.
The Gulf of Aden lies to north of the Horn of Africa (Somalia) with Yemen on its northern coast. It is 200nm wide for most of its 500nm length. We won’t see land until Temptress is off Djibouti in five to six days time. There is no point arriving there until next Sunday as they keep the Arabic weekend of Friday Saturday and we can only check in on a weekday.
At the end of the night watches (07:00) we reset things on the port side so the genoa could be poled out. The night had been a trying one; balancing enough pressure to fill the sails versus not sailing into the northbound lane on our port side. Now Temptress can sail dead downwind on a heading of 250. The eastern end of the Transit is 469 nm away, with another hundred to Djibouti. The shipping traffic is nothing like the English Channel or Singapore Straits but there are usually two or three in sight and a few more over the horizon visible only on the AIS.
More tuna jumping as we set the pole. Let’s hope our fishing efforts are rewarded today, though we are rewarding ourselves with a ribeye steak supper tonight! By late morning the wind faded completely and Temptress was motoring again. The forecast doesn’t hold out much hope of being able to sail for at least the next 48 hours either. We took the main down to stop it slapping, preventing any damage. The light winds and contrary current over the past day or so are reflected in the very low noon to noon run of 105nm, quite dispiriting.
This afternoon we had a visitor, a tiny bird with a teeny thin black beak, a black line through the eye, white line above, greeny olive back and fawn chest. Very pretty and not too shy, it hopped around from perch to perch before setting off across the sea.
Our steak supper was delicious. The skipper became the galley slave and produced an excellent meal which we washed down with a very nice glass of Indian sauv blanc. It’s great to have a treat once in a while. Meanwhile we keep on motoring, making slow progress against the one knot current. Ship wash rocks and rolls us from time to time otherwise the sea is flat. Grey clouds gathering but as this is not the rainy season I suspect Temptress won’t be getting a much needed wash down anytime soon. After supper a small hawk settled on a spreader close against the mast for a while.
Complexity are now more than a couple of days behind us, we remain in regular touch by SMS via the sat phones (its a free service as we both use Iridium). I plot their position on the iPad every report. Plus we share little things that happen in our floating worlds during the day. Didn’t get a Japanese fly past today, perhaps tomorrow. Human contact is much missed; I don’t think either of us miss Bookface etc. but we do wonder what’s happening in the world outside. World War III anywhere? Has Boris resigned? More importantly is everyone well at home?
Noonday Run: 105nm
Noon Distance to Suez: 1900nm approx