Onward to the East

14 Feb

February 12, 2019/Day 131

Noon Position: 47 34S  167 18E

Course(t)/Speed(kts): –

Miles since departure: 17,952

Avg. Miles/Day: 137


I put on the anchor light after dinner and went to bed. On an ever relaxing sea, Mo rolled with the slow grace of a cruise ship. The bunk was still; all around was quiet. Quiet. Such unaccustomed  luxury, quiet.

In the night, our drift went to the west, a safe direction, and never more than a knot. Each time I checked, the answer was the same. Sleep well.

On deck at dawn, I found we’d been overtaken by fog. The sea was like glass and the albatrosses were down, white lumps on a gray expanse, randomly distributed as if they’d fallen from the sky when the wind died and hadn’t moved since. Two or three paddled over to Mo, a hint that scraps would be welcome, but offal being in short supply aboard, no scraps were offered. This ruffled no feathers.

After coffee, I started the engine. The alternator engaged immediately. I shut the engine down and started it again. Again, the alternator came to life. Am I chasing a ghost?

In the afternoon, a light breeze. I rigged sail and we began to make way ENE. While underway, I tested Wattsy. He produced power. I took all his connections apart and cleaned them; then tested again. Same. He works at somewhat below his normal output. But he works.

Correspondence with my friends Gerd and Dustin has not yielded the one and true fix for either problem. Current thinking is that it’s a connection issue and/or that I have (how can this be?) gotten salt water on the alternator. Another friend, Matt, writes to inform me that Invercargill is no Hobart, and that if it is refreshment I seek, it might be best to keep exploring.

Because neither unit is actually dead; because more trouble shooting can be done underway; because I’m unlikely to find the fix in Invercargill; because I’m on a schedule; because we now have a light northerly; and mostly because I want to, I’m pushing on to Cape Horn…

Like being anchored in a very large bay, these last two days of calm. To the southwest, I could see a low hump, The Snares; to the northeast, another low hump, Stewart Island. I felt enclosed around–how else could one explain such flat water?

But a quick glance at the chart shows we are at sea. We have never stopped being at sea…

This article was syndicated from The Figure 8 Voyage


  1. Brian Beckenbaugh

    Probably not an option by now, but the town of Oban on Stewart Island is a very very fine place indeed. Plenty of refreshment to be had at the South Seas Hotel. Safe journey!

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