White Ocean Racing

Reports 20 November

20 November - Blog 6 - African Visitors?.

If I thought it was hot before I was mistaken, now it is really hot! I made the mistake of slowing the boat right down to do a sail change, and as soon as you stop the cooling breeze coming over the deck then it really hits you, it is roasting and the sun is very powerful. It makes it difficult to sleep except for at night, and it takes your appetite away too.

I have had some strange visitors in the past 24 hours - first a small fly with disproportionally large wings, then a moth at the lights at the chart table, a sabre toothed giant fruit fly that went for a swim before it could bite me, and then the daddy of them all, a giant black cricket who was as fat as my thumb and as long as my index finger, not counting his antennea and three pronged forked tail. He was lovely, and sat on my finger for a moment, until I decided he had better take his chances and fly off to wherever it was he had come from. I launched him - and he didn't fly. I felt terrible, either he was flightless and got here by some other means, or he had a real short term memory problem and just forgot to flap. I couldn't keep him really, I don't think I'd have had enough food on board! What's so strange about a few insects I hear you ask; well nothing, except we are 700 miles downwind of Africa and 400 miles from the Cape Verdes!

I have serviced the last of the winches today, and had a chat to Arno from the race organisation, who is helping me to get my films back to them through the Fleet 77 satellite phone. It's not as simple as all that - the compression and editing software has to be sorted out, and then you have to make sure that it goes to the correct place with ftp's etc - I sound like a techie, when in fact I didn't know what an ftp was until a couple of weeks ago! ( I'm still not sure I know now entirely!) I am getting there with a bit of help though, not bad for a bloke who is generally lost if he can't oil or put coal in a peice of machinery to make it work.

The boat is going along quite nicely, and the jobs list is coming getting smaller too. I have to go up the rig tomorrow, I need to make sure evrything is OK before we go into the south. With everything being new up there it is possible that there could be all sorts of problems, mainly where things rub together and chafe through, but we shall see tomorrow..... I hate going up the rig at sea, you have too wear loads of clothes to stop you bashing yourself to bits!

I did give myself a haircut too, and then washed it! I felt much better to not be like a mop, and a lot cooler too! I remembered each of my kids has cut their hair at one time or another as all kids do, and I wasn't quite sure that I shouldn't be telling myself off for doing it too! It doesn't look that bad though I don't think; no patches of scalp showing through that I can feel (I can't see anything, my mirror is pretty poor!) Still, who cares, nobody has to look at it, and it's got a while to grow back!

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