I was none too keen on the idea of going over the side to scrub barnacles off Brocade’s bottom, but my little bit of underwater photography a couple of days ago had shown that the barnacle situation was getting serious, and I was concerned that my underwater hitchhikers might be causing extra drag and slowing me down. And obviously with a high-speed, hell-for-leather expedition like this (???!!!) every second counts. So it was time to overcome my abhorrence of strange leech-like fish attaching themselves to my nether regions and brave the waters once again.
I put on a pair of lycra shorts to protect myself from any particularly personal assaults, and took the plunge. I could feel some fish tickling around my legs, but it wasn’t too bad at first. Then I saw the first of the little remoras, wiggling away as hung on to the side of the boat. I don’t know what it is about these small grey fish, but I just find them absolutely repulsive. There is something about their wiggliness, as well as their tendency to suction onto me, that gives me a bad attack of the heebie-jeebies every time I see them. I squealed girlishly, shuddered, and pressed on with my de-barnacling chores, working as quickly as I could.
I was shocked by the condition of the outside of the boat. I’ve never seen it like this before. I’m used to the gooseneck barnacles, but not the amount of green growth, presumably algae of some sort, that is flourishing on Brocade’s once-lovely silver paintwork. She looks like she’s been at sea for about 3 decades rather than 3 months. This is going to take some serious cleaning up when I get to Island X.
Barnacles duly removed, I put my foot on the grab line and pulled myself up onto the deck using the oars as handrails. Something came with me. It was a 3-inch remora, attached to my right calf. Yeeeuch. The silly creature hung on until I was all the way back on board and it had no way to return to its natural element. I have to confess to a very petty revenge – I left him until he was almost at his last gasp before I returned him to the ocean. But I suspect I’ll have no more luck training remoras not to cling than I did training boobies not to poop….
[photo: Barnacles – and not the sort to be found in yacht clubs around the world, propping up the bar with G&T’s from 11am onwards….]
After a couple of days of good southerly progress, today the wind moved from the East into the Southeast, slowing me down. It was a very light wind, so I was still able to make some southerly progress, but not as much. I generally row at right angles to the wind, so if the wind is from the East then I can point due South, but if it is Southeast then I have to point Southwest – so today my course has been more West than South. But that’s fine too. The forecast is for the wind to shift back to the East early tomorrow – so it would be nice if that turns out to be right.
Twitter panic – sorry for any consternation caused by a random Tweet that was generated by my Dopplr account, saying I was returning to San Francisco today. I don’t really use Dopplr any more, but must have set up some general dates on my account many moons ago, in which I thought that Stage 2 might be ending around now. Please be assured, I am NOT returning to San Francisco today. The row goes on!
Thanks, as ever, for a lovely batch of comments. I am now reaching terminal discomfort in my cabin after responding to various TeamRoz emails and writing this blog (try sitting with a hot laptop on your knee in a rolling cabin in sweltering equatorial heat after a long day’s rowing) so will cut this short – but just wanted to let you know that Mum is now back online and emailing me the comments on a daily basis. Thanks to Nicole for standing in while Mum was e-ncommunicado – and thanks to Mum for yesterday’s blog. Yes, we did have to airdrop Mum and a hairdresser out in mid-Pacific just to get that photo done…!
A quick thank you to Doug for the hike report – and for the (financial) carrot. Yum!
Position at 2245 HST: 01 25.599N, 178 39.425W Wind: 0-10 knots, SE Seas: gentle swell, 3-5ft, SE Weather: clear, hot and sunny, with a band of small cumulus clouds passing over during the afternoon
Weather forecast, courtesy of weatherguy.com
As of Thursday morning 13 Aug 2009. According to measured data, there have been Eerly winds up to 7-12kts over your position and some rainshower activity to your north. SEerly winds 10kt is south of your position to the equator. The SEerlies eventually shift to Eerly 10-15kts by today. A further shift to the north will keep the winds north of east until late on the 15th. Then shifting to SEerly for a brief period before returning to Eerly by the end of the forecast period. The widespread clouds mentioned in last report have cleared to partly cloudy skies with minimal convection.
Forecast sky conditions: Partly to mostly cloudy. Scattered moderate rainshowers. Ocean currents should be light SSWerlies (flowing towards the NNE) at about 0.1 to 0.2 kts in your area to about 00 30S. To the north of you beginning at about 3 30N there is a band of Eerly flowing current of about 0.5 to 0.7kts. South of the equator along your longitude there is a band of Werly flowing current of about 1.0kt.
Forecast (low confidence) Date/Time HST Wind kts Seas (ft) est 13/1200-14/1800 E 5-15 2-4 14/1800-15/1500 E-ENE 5-15 2-4 15/1500-15/1800 ENE-E 5-15 2-4 15/1800-17/0600 E-SE-E 5-15 2-4 17/0600-18/0000 E 5-10 2-3
Next Update: Monday, 16 August