Busy weekend in the Southern Atlantic.
16 March 08. 1200 UTC Sat Phone Sched with Fedor - Busy Weekend in the South Atlantic.
“The Falkland Islands are 200 nautical miles astern. Passing through this part of the South Atlantic Ocean gave something new to my daily routine. The boat was surrounded by all sorts of marine life. The changes came as soon as were over Burdwood Bank south of the Falklands. It was unusual to read 50-80 meters under the keel after we had average 5,000 meters since the New Zealand shoals. The waters here are booming with life; plenty of albatrosses, I had around 15 of them following my yacht, polar dolphins, whales. The ocean has a strong smell of sea weed.
On Saturday morning my Active Echo Radar detector sounded with an alarm buzz which means the AER received a radar wave signal from another vessel. I found a vessel on my bow starboard side on a collision course. I transmitted over the radio my call sign and notified that I’m a solo sailor heading for Western Australia. The officer on watch recognized my accent and asked if I am Russian. Second question he asked was – “Are you Fedor Konyukhov…?” I was puzzled and ask him why? He responded “who else can be here Deep South on a sailing yacht and talks Russian?” We had a nice chat over the radio – the crew is from St. Petersburg. They are working on a ship that is re-supplying South GeorgiaIsland and the South Sandwich Islands for the coming winter. Now the ship is heading back to Montevideo. They told me they had very rough weather a few days ago which was no surprise to me. It was good to talk to your country mates when you are half way away from home.
On Saturday evening I heard Japanese speech on VHF channel 16. I checked the radar – 2, 4, 6, 12, 18 miles – nothing. The area is clear. Just in case I put over the air my standard radio call and suddenly I could see a clear mark on the radar three miles on my port side. I ran on deck – it is a Japanese fishing base over 100 meters in size. They responded to my radio call and changed heading. Five minutes later they disappeared from my radar screen as sudden as they appeared.
After you have not seen any vessels for weeks – two ships within 24 hours looks like we are in a heavy traffic situation.
We have a hectic weather pattern with the wind going in circles. Today I should experience head winds from SE. Regards Fedor”.