Day 32: Half Way

For most of the day, there have been Dorado following us. They seem to do laps around Osiyeza. Surfing the waves like dolphins at the bow of a ship. Four in a row, sometimes. Now and then, one would leap out of the water for no apparent reason. It is quite remarkable to watch.
After thirty-two days aboard Osiyeza, I know every movement, every sound, and everything that she and the ocean are capable of doing.
Yet just before sunset, something unnerving happened. Osiyesa started to shake in a way that she had never done before. It was a series of short sharp shakes. Almost as if someone was wiggling the rudder left and right. It got my attention right away. At first, I thought there might be a problem with the rudder. Then the shaking happened again and again. I am standing looking back at the rudder and can see that there is nothing wrong with it.
I started to look into the water all around Osiyeza for something to explain what was going on.
My thoughts went to the infamous pod of Orcas on the South coast of Spain. They have developed a rather nasty habit and like to play with yacht rudders. Their playfulness has been a little over the top on several occasions. They take turns biting down on the rudder and shake it about. The poor crew of the yacht can only stand by, hang on and watch. There’s little they can do to stop them. The marine biologist is unsure if it’s playfulness or aggression, but many rudders have been damaged, and a yacht sank after its rudder was ripped out of the hull. Imagine climbing into a life raft knowing what the killer whales just did.
Anyway, I could not see anything to explain the shaking. My best guess would be something to do with the Dorados bashing the rudder to scrape sea lice off. It must have been quite large to make that much of an impact. Perhaps a Marlin chasing the smaller fish under Osiyeza?
The day started the same way as every other day. If I am not paddling, I like a cup of black coffee while watching the sun rise over the Eastern horizon. Most days now, it slips up behind the dark clouds hiding its true spender. Another overcast day but I am ok with that.
Today we crossed the halfway mark in distance. Thanks to the first two weeks of howling SE winds, I am a few days ahead of schedule. I was all ready to celebrate this milestone with another sip of Soet Wyn.
Last night I switched on the satellite communications and started typing some WhatsApp messages. A while later, I was surprised to see nothing was going through. I checked the unit’s lights, which only showed three green lights. The middle light should turn blue when it connects with the satellite. This was not happening. The unit would reset itself and do it all over sans the blue light.
Faaaak Houston, we have a problem!
Earlier in the day, I had opened the “grab bag” and taken the satellite phone out to charge it. It’s been in the bag for a month, so it’s best to charge it now and then.
Since it was still out, I sent an SMS to the shore team telling them of the latest problem. Albert responded to the message and even called for a quick chat.
They will chat with SMD Africa Marine tomorrow morning to see what they can suggest. I have a nagging feeling it’s the antenna. Water must have gotten in, and there is some corrosion. I suspect it’s the main terminal, but I will do my utmost to solve the issue.
I am super bummed that I may not have WhatsApp coms for the second half. I won’t be able to get any blogs posted. The charity drive will suffer because of it. All in all, it’s a great shame. I guess it’s back to old school. Calling ships up and asking for weather reports etc. Sort of be on my own.

Old school SMS

Coordinates: -19.30736° lat / -10.31184° long
To donate to Operation Smile and help me change 70 smiles, please click here.