400 miles still to go
Boat speed: 8.3 knots
Course: 48 degrees
Distance to Fremantle SW Australia: approx 388 nm
Currently Kingfisher2 has just under 400 miles to go to reach Fremantle although predicting the estimated time of arrival is proving slightly more difficult. In Germany weather router, Meeno Schrader gave his predictions: "The guys should, hopefully, reach Cape Leeuwin (tip of SW Australia) by midday tomorrow (Friday) but the final 120 miles to Fremantle will be a bit more tricky as a stronger than expected sea breeze (local breeze) may cancel out the south-easterly gradiant propelling Kingfisher2 towards the coast of Australia, leading to variable wind speed and the possibility of really light winds during daylight hours but refreshing from the east at night. I am hoping, though, that there will be a good enough easterly breeze under the shore for the last 100 or so miles to get them to Fremantle in the early hours (GMT) of Saturday morning."
Having ensured that their jury rig is as efficient as possible, the Kingfisher2 crew have busied themselves constructing various games, such as chess, backgammon and cards: "We have kept ourselves busy but nonetheless times goes slowly and everyone is keen to reach Fremantle to be able to get on with their lives," said Ellen.
It's funny how things can change so much over the period of a few weeks. Just over 10 days ago the water temperature was at no more than 7degC, but now it's at 18. Then the sky was filled with albatross, petrels and life, and now - though the sky has changed from that endless grey to a striking blue there is much less around us.
Though most would not imagine it, there is far more visible sea life in the cooler, even freezing waters of the Southern Ocean than in the warmer more temperate oceans as we edge closer to the equator. Now, for most, there is more time to take in those changes around us. There is more time to see the water change, as now sailing at 8 rather than 18 knots things happen more slowly. These 2000 miles could have been covered in 4 days at the speeds we were sailing in the south, now we've been at it for almost two weeks. It's a longer process, but still fairly remarkable when you stop and think that two weeks ago we had a mast towering over 40 meters above the boat. Now all we have is our old boom as our mast... That towering a mere 12 meters above us.
The black nights are now gently lit by the stars and the new moon, which rose last night as the most perfect crescent just after sunset. It was a tiny slither, deep red in colour looking almost like a ghost ships spinnaker as it slowly appeared above the horizon. The nights out here are dark without the moon, and it's been a long while since we've seen it. As we entered the South it was as bright and glorious as it ever gets, but like most things in nature it did not last forever, and diminished in size night after night.
But seeing our friend the moon again was not the first time our night was touched by something we rarely get the chance to see. A couple of hours after sunset the sky to the south begun to glow. The colour was a cross between a bright shimmering white and a flame yellow. The light shot what looked like thousands of kilometers up in to the sky, but not in a static way; as this light was moving, almost dancing the most gentle dance as it rose up to the atmosphere. We had been looking at the Aurora Australis, and incredible phenomenon created by the earths magnetic field. The power of nature out here knows no bounds - we are so lucky to live on an earth so full of treasure."