FROM 1-19. Senegal and Pete's Birthday

Sep 05, 2005 – 1100hrs UTC

1100hrs 05 Sep 2005 UTC 22’36”N 024’53”W Ref 331

The S. Atlantic high is likely to be centred somewhere close to 23S 015W with a soft ridge extending west towards the S. American coast. Winds round a southern hemisphere high are anticlockwise so going to the west of the centre looks the better bet, and this is supported by the existence of the Benguela Current flowing NW up the African coast. The critical decision is how far west? Cutting the corner is a good idea as long as we have enough wind to keep moving or fuel to drive through the holes and the horse latitudes to the south of the high. We may have to stay close to S. America all the way down to 40S. We will have to wait until we get much closer and then assess the status of the ridge and the local winds. If I’m still able to keep sailmail running (by no means certain) then the grib will give us enough to go on. Rhumb line distances around westabout are very close to my Daily Bull DTG. Watch this space.

Flying fish everywhere – one tiny one and one almost worth eating on deck this morning. I wonder what they can see when they are out of the water – they seem to be able to direct their flight around wave tops and along the troughs, but this may just be a feel for the updrafts – and they mostly miss us during the day, only arriving on board at night. Do they have specially adapted eyes? Humans can only see blurry outlines under water because of the different refractive index – is it the same in reverse for fish? And what about at night?

Heavy, humid and sweaty. Not pleasant. No major breakdowns so far – apart from this intensely frustrating problem with the USB-Serial port gizmo which is irritatingly and unpredictably unstable and a nightmare to bring back up when it crashes. Takes several goes sometimes, and at least an hour of tense frustration. And I never know if it will work whenever I try to transmit. Not sure whether it loses power somehow (it is powered by the laptop through the USB cable) or is attacked by HF energy and gets switched off by the laptop trying to turn it into a serial mouse even though I’ve deleted the serial and HID mice. But I desperately and sincerely wish it wouldn’t. I hope Microsoft have a fix by the time we get back. I have reset the AIS port from 38400 baud to 4800 and disconnected all the AIS stuff in case that was affecting it, but doesn’t seem to have fixed it. spbf.

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