FROM 2-14. Cape Town-Kerguelens


0045 UTC 21st
The front is through – softly – and we are 9 miles from Bligh's Cap. Vis about a mile in typical clag so we're aiming to miss it by about 2 miles to the north. Tiny patch of headsail, making about 4 knots in about 18kts breeze. Once safely past, we will gybe towards Cap D'Estaing and creep forwards until we can see it or the fog becomes too thick for safety. With a bit of luck, it will clear later as the sun comes up. I have checked our rudimentary digital chart against the paper one and it seems ok so we will ust it to get in close then transfer – the digital one doesn't have small detail like rocks. Pencil and plotter again – first time for years.

During the night – claggy, clammy black – but almost free of boat noises as we were hove to or bare poling – I could hear the birds – Grooarrrk from just beside the boat, answered Grooaarrk from a bit further away – deep, expressively modulated raspy squawks, easily audible from here at the nav table and clear and crisp outside. They were probably the White Chins which are black all over except for a tiny white patch so I couldn't see them even with a fairly powerful light. From the many conversations, I reckon there must have been 20 – 30 of them. So, Jill, that may be where they go at night! Nowhere.

Bligh's Cap is 83 metres high, now at 7.4 miles so just teasing our non-horizon. Too early to start peering for it out there in the clag. As long, that is, as it is where the paper chart says it is! There's a warning on the chart that says quite clearly that positions on the paper chart may not agree with WGS84, the GPS datum – so we can't relax too much.

The plan – we have set this up so that if all goes well we will be close to Baie de l'Oiseau at about 1300 local time, giving us the afternoon and evening in daylight to get in, have a look, pull in another grib and decide whether to shelter till the next one goes through or keep going to Port aux Francais. Cross 'em please and watch this space – don't stress if no update for a day or so – we will be busy! If we have iridium contact, I will try to ring someone somewhere who is in an appropriate timezone with a report.

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