Wednesday 1 April
Pinch, punch, first day of the month and all that. Happy Birthday Brian for later this week!
Here at Dolphin the wind changed direction at about 04:00, we know because the anchor alarm set for a fairly tight circle went off when Temptress swung around to face north. The mooring may have looked fine when the skipper dived on it yesterday but that doesn’t mean we are complacent. Now a couple of hours later it’s blowing moderately, enough to make the rigging sing, and the reef is offering great protection from the waves to the north.
Reviewing progress it feels satisfying; over a thousand miles up the Red Sea, just the final, hardest, third to cover in the coming weeks. Over three thousand miles from Cochin, almost five from Langkawi from where we sailed two and a half month ago on January 16. Our expat life in Singapore seems a distant dream yet it is not a quite year since we departed Changi Sailing Club at the end of April 2019. In that period we have sailed just 500 miles shy of ten thousand!
We read and snoozed all day, life is becoming extremely tedious. Visibility was very poor due to the dust but we could see and hear the waves breaking on the reef encircling us to the north. No one is motivated to do anything though Hugh and Jules did go for a dive on one of the big bommie mid afternoon. Late afternoon the three crews got together for a sundowner on Scotia. Alcohol supplies are running low, shortly sundowners will be tea, coffee or water, however Jules miraculously produced some cheese.
Before we left to go over to Scotia we dialled up on the sat phone to check email. Stupidly someone has sent a large (640k) email which after ten minutes of expensive sat phone time didn’t download. This logjam has effectively cut us off from essential weather downloads as well as using up our precious airtime. We tried calling our service provider in the UK; they are all working from home and we couldn’t reach them, have emailed to see if they can sort it from their end. It is so frustrating.
The forecast isn’t brilliant offering as it does a very short window of easing winds, but all three boats are leaving tomorrow. Temptress hopes to make it to Ghalib, it’s just over 100 miles but directly to windward, so possibly double that distance to sail. Depending on what we find when we get out there we may have to seek refuge along to coast somewhere. Dolphin Reef, where we are now, sits at the southern end of a chain of reefs stretching up the coast for some thirty miles. There are a few anchorages towards the top end but little in between. Beyond are a couple of other safe havens but we’d need to arrive in daylight which is unlikely from here. So it could be a rough overnight trip or may be a desperate hop to another reef anchorage before the weather closes in again.