Tuesday, 1 March 2011, 100nm from Chennai
Jon chats to Vamp on VHF, off the Indian coast
Dear Friends and Family,
It always seems that the last few days of a passage are the nicest. Maybe it's just our bodies getting used to Ocelot's motion and us getting back into the rhythm. Whatever - today has been just gorgeous. Yesterday was hazy and overcast with enough wind that we were getting big waves slapping Ocelot's sides and sometimes splashing up into the cockpit. After a couple of these we deployed not only our dodger (which only protects us from the front) but also one of our side shade-awnings to protect us. We usually don't sail with them, just put them up in port, but it worked very well at keeping the cockpit dry.
But as night progressed more and more stars came out to say Hi and watch over us. There's hardly any moon but when it rose (at 3:38) it had Venus right next to it. The Big Dipper wheeled slowly in the sky to our north, and eventually the skis cleared enough that the North Star and the Southern Cross both appeared as well, low on the horizon.
At 5:30 we started getting the first loom of dawn - the sky behind us getting less dark and then cycling through deep blue to gradually lighter blues. There were no clouds to light up so the sky just kept getting brighter, banishing the stars and welcoming the new day with an orange orb clearing the horizon just after 6.
We were greeted by fishermen off the Tamil Nadu coast,
The day itself has been delightful, with gentle breezes off our starboard quarter. The winds dropped from yesterday's 18‑22 to a more sedate 13‑15 knots and came around more behind us, making for a much more comfortable ride. We took down all our awnings and gradually shook all 3 reefs out of the main and jib, letting Ocelot splash along happily. We even tossed the fishing lines back in, figuring that we can give away any fish we might catch (our fridge and freezer are quite stuffed with fish from earlier in the trip). The sky's been cloudless, the seas a deep blue with occasional flecks of whitecaps, and life is good.
At noon today we were at 12°50'N 82°17'E, or 615nm from the Andamans with 117nm still to go to Chennai. The GPS is currently predicting a 9:30am arrival, but the winds have been dropping all day and we're expecting that to continue tonight, so it will probably be a bit later. Vamp is still 20nm behind us but catching up slowly. According to Out of the Bag, the port of Chennai is a bit grubby from oily water and the huge coal terminal, but the people are extremely pleasant and helpful, so we're looking forward to our arrival.
Fair winds and calm seas -- Jon and Sue Hacking
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