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01 May - Out of the tropics

Date: Sunday 01 May 2005
Position @ 1200 Local (GMT-1): 36°13' North, 14°34.0' West
Next destination: Humberside, UK
ETA: 0400 Sunday 08 May 2005
Distance to go: 1366.0 nmiles
Total Distance sailed from UK: 25999.0 nmiles

Current weather: Partly cloudy, clear with thin haze
Wind: WSW, Force 6
Sea state: Moderate to rough following sea and moderate swell
Barometric pressure:1012.0 mmHg
Air temperature: 19.6°C
Sea temperature: 17.2°C

For the most up-to-date chart of the ships position, visit sailwx.info

This week on the 'Shack.... We continue our travels Northbound, slowly getting closer to the long awaited shores of the UK. The temperatures are noticeably getting colder as we head further North, with the sun still fairly hot during the day, but temperatures dropping significantly during the evening. As we proceeded North through the last few days in the tropics, everyone was making the most of the Sun by laying out on the deck. We passed through the Tropic of Cancer on Wednesday as we move out of the tropics approaching Europe and our destination.

Bow of the ship as we sail through the calm waters  of  the Tropical Atlantic.  A.Thornhill

Fin enjoying the Sunshine in the Hamoc.  A.Thornhill

It took us about 4 days to cross from the last point of land off the coast of Brazil, across the Atlantic Ocean to the Portuguese Islands of the Cape Verde's We passed approximately 10 Kms away from the nearest point on the Volcanic Island of Fogo on Tuesday early morning, as we entered the Island Chain. Next to be seen was the Northern Island of Sao Nicolau later that day. The atmosphere was very hazy over the land, making it difficult to make out settlements that far away from the Islands, but it was good to see them. The next set of Islands we were to encounter were the Spanish Canaries Islands on Friday around noon. First to pass was the Southern Island of Hierro. Once we were at the Northern end of the Island Gomera and even Mount Teide of Tenerife were visible through the Haze from the ship.

Cape Verdi Island Sao Nicolau as we pass by on Tuesday.  A.Thornhill

Sunset to the North of the Island La Palma in the Canaries.  Fin O'Sullivan

Island of Madeira as we pass by on Saturday.  A.Thornhill.

Later that Friday evening, as the Canary Islands disappeared to the South, all the lights came on in the town of Santa Cruz de la Palma, showing up the previously difficult to see populated areas of the Island. Bringing with it a beautiful sunset to finish off a fantastic week of scenery. Of course, it's not all play, and along with the usual painting rituals that have kept the crew and fids busy during the week, some of us Fids have been trying to work off some of the vast amounts of food that the chefs on board produce for us 3 times a day! Circuits sessions were a popular activity in the depths of the Antarctic winter, and they have been continued up through the tropics, trying to keep us in shape for when we get back to the UK.

Adam, Graham, Ed, Dougal and Rob about to enjoy circuit training on the deck.  Fin O'Sullivan

Circuits mid session, enjoying the tropical heat.  Fin O'Sullivan

Saturday soon rolled around again, and a week on from the activities of the crossing the line ceremony, the Island of Madeira passed us by on our Port side. Plenty of Yachts passed us by as well as a tall ship, giving us plenty to look at while another BBQ was underway. Mostly everyone massed down on the Aft deck once again for the usual Saturday night BBQ. Cyril our usual BBQ Chef spent too long on Friday cooking himself under the Midday sun of the Canaries, so was unable to spend much time up close to the fire. Rob our over-active GA stepped in and saved the day, burning the steaks up a treat.

A few drinks on the Heli deck, enjoying the sunset by the Canary Islands

Rob Cooking the food and himself at the BBQ.  Dougal Ranford

The last BBQ on the Aft deck for this trip back.  Fin O'Sullivan

During the BBQ we were joined by 2 Dolphins that swam around the ship several times, and must have followed us for several miles. This kept most of us Fids entertained for the duration, as most of us had never seen Dolphins outside of captivity before now. It was a lovely way to end a fantastic evening.

View dolphin movie here

So a week left now before we reach the shores of the Humber and we depart the ship to see all our friends and family, that some of us have not seen for the best part of 2 and a half years. Most of the crew are then staying on to do several months in the North Sea before the crew change. Apart from 2 of the crew members. Chris the Bosun and Ash the Chef. Ash is leaving the Shack and is off to work on the JCR from now on, taking his sizeable CD collection with him. I don't know why he just doesn't join the 21st Century and invest in an MP3 player.

All the crew also send their best wishes to Martin Brookes, the normal Bosun for this Crew, who very unfortunately broke his leg in rough seas on the way down South this season. He was then taken to Madeira while the ship continued its journey South. So, to Martin, as we passed Madeira on Saturday all the crew were thinking of you, and wish you the speediest of recoveries. This will be my last web diary as I depart the ship next Sunday in Grimsby, but the Catering Manager Dave Bailey will be continuing the job into the North Sea. I hope you all have enjoyed reading these diaries as we have traveled North, as much as I have enjoyed writing them. My regards to everybody out there, and to my friends and family that I will see so very soon. Adam.