The shark kept circling back under my stern to wiggle its back against my hull.
It was about 5-6 feet long and had my red antifouling paint on its back.
Shark and my intentions
December 12, 2011 - Day 64 7.4363S,9.3143W
I wrote about a wayward Noddy Tern last time and mentioned my perceived range of these birds. Over the last week, more have perched overnight on my boat to get a rest, and I passed 350 nm east of Ascension Island on Saturday morning. I sometimes find 2-3 birds when I wake up. When so far away that they cannot return to land, they prefer my boat to bobbing around among the waves.
A grey shark visited today which had to be about 5-6 feet long. It kept getting under my boat to rub its back, rolled side to side as it did. There were a half dozen striped fish attached to its torso hitching a free ride, perhaps the shark wanted them off. Each time it rubbed, there was the sound of sandpaper which is the texture of their skin, one of the reasons for why they are efficient swimmers. Of course it left with some of my red antifouling paint on its back.
I had decided to remain on a 305°T course based on the currents and prevailing winds indicated on the pilot charts for the south Atlantic. Yet over the last few weeks, the currents did not materialize and the wind effect dominated; I had only one of the vectors out of two for which I had designed my route. After annoying SW-SSW swells and moderate SSE winds every afternoon lasting past midnight, I was beginning to fear this could be the pattern which could trap me toward the bulge of Africa. The cross seas not only slowed me down but were pushing me directly north whenever I stopped rowing. This made for unnecessary worry and overtime on the oars. Otherwise what I do can be a great deal of fun, trust me!
Finally yesterday and today, I began to receive ESE winds and the cross swells disappeared. The seas became orderly and the boat became more willing for some westing. My goal is to cross the equator around 25W longitude, but not east of 20W which is still at 305°T from here. So I will fight and put in the necessary overtime whenever the boat tracks on a steeper course. Between 5S latitude and the equator I expect to find 0.8-1.0 knot westerly currents, so my job to stay on my intended track will become even easier soon.
In January, the trade winds blow easterly between 20W and 40W in the band between the equator and 5N latitude. There is a 0.8-1.2 knot westerly current between the equator and 4N latitude, north of which is a counter current that I intend to avoid until (6N,50W) near Cabo Orange at the border of Brazil with French Guyana. While approaching that point, I should experience average Force 5 NE winds (17-21 knots).
West of 40W, my winds will become NNE then NE blowing toward the Amazon River mouth. I intend to ride the southern edge of the counter current where the body of water under me will tend to turn clockwise to first flow north before joining that current. So again, I am counting on two vectors to act on my boat which should spit me at their west end. As I row toward Trinidad, my job will be to correctly position the boat at the most advantageous location to best use the winds, swells and currents at a given time of the year. We shall see if my theory works...
NOTE: Winds blow from a direction, swells arrive from a direction and currents flow to a direction, meaning westerly currents flow west, counter current flows east, easterly winds blow from the east, SSE swells arrive from that direction.
---- oOo ----
The tax year will conclude at the end of December. Any contributions by those residing in the United States to help the 501(c)(3) nonprofit Around-n-Over can be claimed as tax-deductions.
Please remember to pass on the word for our fundraising efforts to build additional classrooms at the Mateves Secondary School in Arusha, Tanzania. Around-n-Over has already transferred 6,000 USD toward this cause. The team will later report on the foundations laid, walls built...
This fundraising effort will continue through December 2011. All unrestricted donations that we receive through the rest of the year will be applied to this cause. More information is available on our Projects and Score Card pages. Your friends can contribute using the Support Us link in the left margin.
Funds that you provide will help us erect the total number of classrooms sooner. We will provide an accounting of all funds received and applied, effective the end of 2011, though this accounting may have to wait until after my landfall.