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Beautiful Sail

9 March 2007, 150nm from Sri Lanka

Repairs underday: soldering new connectors for the VHF antenna
Repairs underway - Soldering new
connectors onto the AIS VHF antenna cable.

Dear Friends and Family,

Forgive our sending out so many newsletters but this is just too beautiful not to share.  We've been having an absolutely delightful sail west from Thailand towards southern Sri Lanka, following the trail of the almost-full moon by night (with both the North Star and the Southern Cross in the sky).  Then the sun rises behind us in all its pink and gold splendor, and in the afternoon we literally sail down a golden pathway into the sunset.  The wind has blown from the NE quadrant continuously, giving us a very comfortable passage.  We've even had a bit of help from the SSW flowing current.

Jon lands a big barracuda in the Indian Ocean
Jon lands a big barracuda

The breeze moved behind us into the ESE last night so this morning we put up our colorful spinnaker and we've been reaching across the trade winds all day.  What a wonderful feeling...  The sun is warm and bright (about 84F or 29C) making the deep blue ocean sparkle and lighting up our red, yellow, orange and black spinnaker in front of us.  The wind has been blowing at 10-15 knots all day, cooling the air and wafting us along at 5-8 knots but keeping the ocean fairly smooth - perfect sailing conditions.  An artistic array of small puffy clouds play in the sky to keep us amused while our new AIS system keeps track of all the big ships in the crowded shipping lanes 6-10 miles south of us.

Fishing in the Indonesia/Malaysia/Thailand waters was completely fruitless (way too many fishermen) so it took us a while to dig out our fishing lines, but yesterday we finally put both out.  Late that afternoon Amanda came up from below, glanced aft, and cried out "Fish ON!"  We landed a nice 41" (1.04m) Great Barracuda, our first real fish since the Queensland coast, almost 9 months and over 4,000 nautical miles ago!  Even a slender fish that big yields about 9 lbs or 4 kg of boneless fillets, enough to feed all 4 of us 4 good meals.  Last night when it was so fresh Sue served it lightly pan-fried in butter and garlic with fresh coleslaw and chips.  Tonight, Amanda's preparing it in her custom-made Indonesian coconut-curry with green pepper, onion and bok-choy over rice.

At local noon today (GMT +6:30) we were at 601'N 8304'E or about 175nm east of our Galle, Sri Lanka destination.  Unfortunately, the wind has gone light this afternoon so it looks like we're going to arrive in the dark.  But the mouth of the bay is wide, we have good detailed charts, and there's an anchorage just inside the eastern headland.  While we don't like making new landfalls in the dark, we're certainly equipped for it with radar, GPS and a good electronic navigation system, so we shouldn't have a problem.

Fair winds and calm seas -- Jon, Sue, Chris and Amanda Hacking

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