Crossing the Indian Ocean - Days 7-9

IO days 7-9
Indian Ocean Crossing - Update 3
Geraldton, Western Australia to Cocos Keeling

Day 7 Begin:  566nm    Miles to go:  433nm

Day 7...already a week at sea. We've shut down the freezer now and are just maintaining the fridge. The freezer's a power hog especially as we climb into the lower latitudes. Even with our solar panels and wind generator, we still have to run the engine a couple of hours each day to keep the batteries charged. All those electronics certainly do suck down the power.

All of our fresh chicken and turkey mince have been eaten now and we're relying on our canned provisions and David to catch fish for dinners. No luck yet in the fishing department, but we are trolling two lines. No chance of us starving ...plenty of food in the larder. We also try to have at least one or two meatless dinners a week Half Way Alfredo, for instance.

The fishing lines get lots of attention from the passing birds. After a couple of fly-overs, they're smart enough to  figure out it's nothing they're interested in. Not all birds are this smart. Boobies are pretty dumb (hence their name) and we've had to unhook many of them along the way...sometimes more than once. They're not fast learners.

The moon rises later and later now. This morning, a lemon wedge of a moon rose just before 0300. Soon her cycle will be complete and we'll sail moonless for a few nights.

Today's on-deck count:     Squid -  2    Flying fish - 0

Day 8 Begin: 433    Miles to go: 316nm A circle of dark clouds surrounded us this morning and, for the first time in a week, it rained. We witnessed a good tropical downpour for all of 20 minutes, just enough to rinse the squid ink off the deck, and then it cleared and the day turned beautiful once more. We're becoming quite spoiled with this weather.

No luck fishing although it appears the big wad of plastic debris caught on the end of the line might have accounted for some of the problem. Once cleared, we got one solid hit which even left bite marks on the lure, but no fish for supper.

What a contrast to a week ago! We're barefoot and in t-shirts now and...sweating.  We've definitely found the warm. Do not in any way  construe this as a complaint.

The winds were light today and dead downwind which had us tacking to maintain a reasonable course. It's reflected in our low mileage today. Fresher winds from the SSE are forecast for tomorrow. We're nearing the Cocos now and, like horses getting close to the barn, we're keen on getting there.

Only one flying fish in the scuppers this morning ...slow night.

Day 9 Begin: 316 nm  Miles to go: 207nm

As we move further west on our route, the sun rises and sets later. We're sailing into a new time zone: GMT +6-1/2 hours - a 1-1/2 hour difference from Western Australia. The time of day makes little difference to us at sea and since the change is minimal, we'll wait until we arrive in the Cocos to collect our extra hour and a half.

Neptune is teasing us big time these last two days with light, fickle winds. As we get closer to the Cocos and excited about our arrival, he's been holding back the southeast trade winds and sending 3 knot breezes from the ENE and E in their place. We had thought to make landfall in two days, but two slow days in a row might necessitate an extra day at sea. Much depends on the winds over the next two days. So much for plans.

The nights have been as sweet and beautiful as only tropical nights can be. Other than a few errant sprinkles, the sky has been clear and star-studded ...absolutely mesmerizing. Warm breezes play on your face and though we're not moving very fast, it's so very pleasant. The wisp of a crescent moon waits till nearly dawn to rise, allowing the stars to have the night sky to themselves for a change and they take advantage of this monthly opportunity. What a show!

David loaded a new app on the iPad before we left called StarMap 3D. It uses GPS to figure out where we are and the current time and  displays the constellations, stars and planets in the night sky. A compass heading provides the orientation and there's an artificial horizon. We hold the tablet up to the sky and compare it to the real thing ...voila ...all the heavens on display. We're still playing with it to learn more about the southern skies.

Deck count: 3 flying fish; 1 squid or least parts of one and lots of ink