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Wearing ship and start heading Southbound

After yesterday’s colourful sunset, a full moon night followed, shining over our heads while steering following the E-ly wind. So far we still head on a Northerly direction keeping the wheel at 60º from the apparent wind. The wind is not steady and we constantly keep trying to adapt to its variations blowing from the E, ESE, SE, keeping a crew member next to us to help on this new way of steering where a determined course is not given but just to try to keep the sails full at the verge of flapping. Attempting to reduce our speed, not to sail too much further North, the Royals come down and Dekzwabber as well, the latter due to a problem with its sheet attachment. Like this another great sunrise welcome us to the new day, but the good weather doesn’t last long as soon dark clouds filled with moist and rain cover the sky for the rest of the journey. Wind blows over 25kn keep pulling our canvas at 6 to 7kn and before breakfast we take the option of reducing a bit more sail, taking down and furling the Outer Jib. The E-ly winds didn’t became more stable until about morning coffee time, then the moment had arrived to Wear ship and start heading south instead of north. Spanker, Desmond and Courses are taken off first, and when we are all about to start bracing and bringing the ship’s aft through the wind, as all had been instructed beforehand, the command from the wheelhouse come to strike Middle Staysails and Top Gallants. Some confused hands thinking that taking away this canvas was not in the instructions given for Wearing ship, quickly look for the lines and soon the sails are down. A squall carrying rain and stronger wind gusts had hit us while performing the operation, and we have to combine both tasks. Under reduced sail then, it didn’t take long to start steering Southwards on a 160º course, passing Staysails and braces to Starboard Tack. As soon as the ship has turned around, Top Gallants are hoisted again, Spanker and Desmond are set together with the Courses, and Middle Staysails furled. Suddenly the ship’s movements have changed considerably, now heeling to Starboardside adding the pitching and bit of rolling carrying our way over E-ly and SE-ly swells. From then on we continued with the helming keeping the apparent wind at all times 60º on our Port side. As the afternoon gives way to a rainy evening, the E-ly wind seem to have a tendency to increase, making for more heeling and occasionally taking water on deck above the Starboardside railing. Before dinner the watch is called on deck to clew up the Top Gallants and furl them. The night watches kept going gin the same fashion, the only difference being the slightly increasing seas and the winds with a moderate tendency to become more ENE-ly. Sailing following the wind, South and East and North just to turn around again Southwards, slowly but surely we are gaining some distance towards Cape Town since our departure from Tristan da Cunha. Leaving the islands behind, we now sail on the open oceanic waters of the South Atlantic. The depths of this area reach over 4000m, and Tristan archipelago represents a singularity, rising steeply over the abyssal oceanic plane up to 2060m above the sea level. The archipelago consists of three islands, Tristan itself, Inaccessible and Nightingale, having Gough as a neighbour further South. But those are not the only elevations above the flat sea floor in the area. Actually the oceanic zone we are sailing at the moment is characterised by the presence of several underwater ridges and seamounts. Here the deep sea bottom, extending far below us for more 3000 to 4000m, climb up steeply on several concrete spots scattered around. Some of those underwater tops are scarcely deeper than 100m. Tristan islands, Gough and St. Helena together with all their related seamounts in the vicinity of our position (Crawford, Mc Nish, R.S.A and Wurst amongst others) have been growing from long lived centres of
mantle materials upwelling and breaking through the Oceanic crust. The plume of mantle material is fixed in relation with the overlaying drifting tectonic plates and present different epochs of activity,
giving us characteristically conical shaped islands and seamounts of different ages. Over 10.000 of them have been mapped around the world’s oceans, representing important marine ecosystems. Nevertheless only a few of those have been properly studied. Their interactions with the deep currents and the upwellings they originate, produce an aggregation effect of marine life around their productive areas. Fact that has caught the attention for commercial fisheries.

Geschreven door:
Jordi Plana Morales | Guide

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