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Day 154 Tues-Wed 5-6 March 2019 Cyclone Haleh forces us to head W - back again - how many times??

Tuesday evening Had a call from Chek TV News in Victoria, B.C., who wanted a quick 'live' update - they'd realised I was very close to my halfway mark. Nice to make the contact and great to have the Aurora satellite wifi terminal onboard to make it possible - many thanks to Luis Soltero of Global Marine Networks!

Wednesday 2am Had been waiting for the wind to back from N to SW as a small front came over. We were finally headed N, after gently curling around from E, despite several adjustments to Fred - time to gybe around.

Slight drizzle and light wind still... Didn't take long to gybe in the pich black darkness but had to adjust Fred several times to get close to required course.

7am Grey and rainy. Reduced genoa down to 3rd reef mark and changed course to head more to NW. Weather models are no longer in good agreement - European model has TC Haleh continuing longer at SSW (towards us) before turning more SE - so we're keeping well away for time being, until its movements are clearer. We're in a High pressure area which is just now moving E - giving SE wind which allows us to head W or NW.

Hope the models get back into agreement on which way and when Haleh is going to be headed soon...

Back to my bunk for some more sleep - have been up now for nearly two hours.

Midday Slept for longer than expected. Pressure has climbed right up - now at 1025.7hPa from 1018 yesterday morning and 1021 yesterday evening.

Still grey cloud layer - raining again, still heading NW, at around 2.5kt under well-furled genoa and SE wind still at 15-20kt.... No change!

Managed, after trying several different stations, to send a Position report via Cape Town but couldn't download any incoming mail. Radio emailing has been very difficult last few days. Used the N-S line (Earth's magnetic field helps radio connections!) to find a Russian station (Moscow!) almost due N of our position two nights ago. Was amazed to get a fair connection, despite the distance, and sent a Position report and got a couple of incoming emails but have a lot of email replies waiting still for a decent connection. Cape Town keeps being unable to connect well enough now and Treeton, in W.AustralIa, is just a bit too far away, although improving quickly as we move E (as and when that happens...!).

2:30pm Rain had stopped for a while and sun was trying hard to peek through - but no longer - raining again.

Checked weather situation again - heading W, hoping to get clear of High pressure ridge. Don't want to head further N not further S - so "Head West!" it is...! Was I supposed to be heading EAST??? (Will I ever get back??!)

Sending for updated weather files - forever checking weather info - most of day... constant preoccupation!

Quite a noticeable SE swell building up - at about 3m/10ft or more - quite close - period only 5-6 secs, with frequent whitecaps, showing a Force 4-5 wind (around 15-20kt).

Took a hammer to Fred to bang in a couple of axle ends that are protruding a little more than they should. Couldn't check a third - access in present rough conditions too difficult from stern. Fourth one looks fine.

6pm Light fading... raining again... Still headed W in SE wind. Busy with emails - hoping to get a connection sometime soon....

8pm Had an excellent connection to Cape Town Winlink station - all outstanding emails dealt with - I'm totally up to date - amazing!!

Pressure is even higher: 1027hPa, wind is less, so speed is down.

1900GMT (=2200LT) - end of Day 154. We made 31 n.ml. DMG, over the 24 hr period, measured in a straight line between the two 1900 GMT positions.

Total distance covered from Victoria, B.C., to end of Day 154 (by daily DMGs): 13,944 n.ml.

Distances (at 1900GMT): Cape Leeuwin LH (SW Australia): 3042 n.ml. to ENE; Melbourne (VIC, Aus): 4168 n.ml. to E; SE Cape of Tasmania LH: 4073 n.ml. to ESE; Cape Agulhas LH (S.Africa): 1489 n.ml. to WNW; Kerguelen Isl: 971 n.ml. SE; St Paul Isl: 1243 n.ml. E; Halfway point (55 18'E): 215 n.ml.

Position & weather report, for 1900 GMT, posted to www.Winlink.org and www.Shiptrak.org (using my US callsign KC2IOV):

TIME: 2019/03/06 19:00GMT LATITUDE: 39-10.19S LONGITUDE: 050-46.21E COURSE: 266T SPEED: 3.7kt

WIND_SPEED: 15kt WIND_DIR: SE SWELL_DIR: SE SWELL_HT: 3.0m CLOUDS: 100%

BARO: 1027.1hPa TREND: 0 AIR_TEMP: 19.0C SEA_TEMP: 22.0C

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