02 October 2008

01-Oct-2008 Noon Position

Noon Position
Coast of Tunisia
Mediterranean Sea

  • 95 nm last 24 hours
  • 290 nm from Malta
  • 636 nm to Malaga, Spain
  • Winds NW 5-10 knots
  • seas NW 1-2 feet
Another fun packed 24 hours. The winds veered around right from the direction that we where hoping the they wouldn't, the nortwest. Most the afternoon the wind stayed light and we were able to easily motor along. But after sunset the winds piped us, slowing us down to 2 knots at times. We are also 10 miles north of Tunisia and could see all its different city lights along the shoreline as we passed.

As usual, at sunset dark scary clouds surrounded us, full of lightning. We could see big fat orange bolts zapping Tunisia on our port side. And again we got lucky and the worst of the storms passed just in front of us. Also, after sunset, the shipping lanes narrowed, putting us right in the middle of ships heading in all different directions. At one time we had 10 ships within 5 miles of us! Not sure why all this happens at night.

Upon sunrise all the clouds and ships disappeared. This morning has been a combination of sailing and motor sailing. As soon as the winds come off the bow enough we get the jib rolled out and start sailing along quit nice. Then we shut off the engine to enjoy the ride only to find out 15 minutes later that we are only going 1 knot. So then its back on with the engine, repeat, repeat...

Also this morning had a ship come down our starboard side at 1/8th of a mile away from us, We called him on the VHF when he was 4 miles away as it looked like he was coming right at us. We always like to call any ships we have doubts about just to make sure that they know we are ahead of them in case they have not seen us. He replied back that he had us on his radar and would maneuver to clear us. But 1/8th of a mile is not very clear!

Although we have been motoring for more the half of this trip so far, the main is always up. And when possible, the staysail and jib as well, in order to help us along. With this setup we just motor at low rpm's to maintain a speed of 4-5 knots to conserve fuel. Our daily 24-hour runs have been quite low. But that is due to lack of winds and slow sailing speeds when sailing is possible.

So far none of the weather forecasts have been correct. We are getting weather GRIB files every morning via sailmail. At the same time I send out this post, these reports show the winds coming from any direction than what is being predicted. I think we are just going to go without any more forecasts and just see what we end up with.

Big thanks to Dr. Bob Black in Indiana that gave us a small hand-held short wave radio receiver when we were back in the states. We love it!! We do have a SSB radio on Sandpiper and it is possible to listen to radio stations on it, but it is very difficult to scan the frequency's. This small receiver is great and we have been listening to BBC and Voice of America broadcasts every night. Thanks Dr. Bob!!

More in 24!!
Tom and Amy

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