We are now only 80 miles off the coast of Brazil and approximately 350 miles from Rio (although there is a bit of sticky out land in the way so which we’ll probably have to go round). There are definitely signs of life out in the big wide ocean, we saw four ships through the night and the VHF radio has just started talking for the first time in two weeks, apparently there is better fishing over here (we’re not sure where here (or there) is though).
Following on from our Halloween party, there were definitely things that went bump in the night as we crossed over the continental shelf going from 3500m of water down to 60m. We’ve got three reefs in the main and half of the headsail rolled away and are still consistently sailing at 8/9kts (in the right direction as well). Oilskins have been a regular feature on deck since yesterday evening because there are some sneaky waves out there that seem to jump onto the deck. Their current trick is to land on only one person at a time leaving everyone else on watch laughing at the miss-fortune of their shipmate. Fortunately the water is warm although salt water cornflakes are not recommended! Despite this Elinca is happily ploughing through the confused seas in 25kts of wind (thanks to StormGeo for the heads up).
We are in the middle of the most complex navigation since leaving the Cape Verde Islands. We successfully sailed through a gap of 60NM between two seamounts. At some point over the next day, we will have to sail between the Pampo Oilfield and the land (a gap of only 30NM!). Several of us have been using the sextant to fix our positions with varying degrees of success, my personal best was only 8NM from our actual position but we’ve all had “fixes” that were several hundred miles out. Fortunately we are not relying on these as our only method of navigation.
I’ve craftily written this blog post very slowly, as the chart area is warm and dry and my watch mates look soggy on deck.