FROM 2-1. Sydney-Equator

Tropical storms 101 0730.09 16313.14

We’re down to 2 hour night watches – not really survival mode but an acknowledgement that 3 hours of concentration at night is too hard to sustain. Hallucination, green monkeys, out of focus compass readings sending the remaining neuron into a dozy spin.

Filtered moonlight. Vague silhouetted shapes of cloud. Lightning all around, actual flashes or the glow as it plays around inside a big black fuzzy ball. In the flashes, the shape and form of the cloud is clear and often conducive to some serious foreboding. So, you sit there and watch the one in front getting – first of all – just thicker and darker. Then you can make out the filligree proscenium that defines the leading edge and suddenly your brain snaps into focus as you realise that the long – horizon to horizon – curved soft grey line is the squall line and it’s curving towards you. Rather exclusively so. No lightning, but you hear the first, musical roll of thunder – a gentle Gene Krupa riff mixed with a bass steel drum – and then the rain and wind hit as you go underneath the now very hard curve. 25 knots and horizontal rain. The wind has backed 60 – 90 degrees over the last few minutes. And whammy – the roar starts, the boat leaps ahead – headsail only and about a third rolled in – 7 knots and surge and dinos flashing past in glittering cascades. And the lightning – flat flickering blasts of yellow green inestimably bright light followed about 5 seconds later by a much more positively heroic riff from Mr.K and his accompanist. Never thought I’d hear the music in thunder but you bet it’s there. The drum roll at the gallows, perhaps, but with its own beauty…Lightning in the S Atlantic was more purple mauve than this – anyone know why?

And gradually it folds – the wind abates, the rain just drenches instead of sandblasting, and your back to the same old 2 – 3 knots generally north, dropping to nowt too often for comfort. And no airgen in the light stuff. Too early to speculate but I think we may find making enough water in the light stuff could be a problem especially if we run short of diesel.

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