After 36 hours on para anchor on the morning of day 4, I peered carefully from the cabin door at 0500 hrs to see a wild sea beginning to calm. Even though the wind was still southerly I decided to try rowing and hauled in the para anchor. From 0530 – 0700 I made just under a mile in a SW direction, working like hell to try and keep the boat lined up. I also noted that when I stopped rowing she wanted to drift NE at 1.5 knots. That’s strange, what happened to this massive EAC – East Australian current) which is meant to give me a free ride south? I called Clouds (weather man) at 0800 and his conclusion is that I had slipped off it – maybe into a hole where it split?
I kept rowing and noticed the best direction I could make was 1 knot WNW. This would take me closer to coastline and the shipping lanes, but hopefully back into stronger southerly current. I was currently in 4000m water depth but the edge of continental shelf at 200m depth is meant to have strong EAC currents. This point was 14nm away to my west.
I rowed for 9 hours that day until darkness, in search of the EAC. I made it back onto the shelf with blistered hands and a sore back at 1900hrs, but there was no current pushing me south, Instead I was being pushed now north west.
That night I deployed the para anchor and watched our position get pulled closer into the shipping lanes and the coastline. I was exhausted but could not sleep as I kept watch on the vessel traffic passing close by. At 0330hrs I was less than 2nm from the busy shipping lanes and was seriously concerned. The wind and current combined to push me further into danger and were too strong to row against. In a twist of fate in the space of five minutes the wind swung to the north west – I shot onto deck in the darkness and pulled in the para anchor to see if I could make progress back out to sea and safety. Sure enough the little donkey turned and ran with the wind and over the next three hours we moved back out the exact way I had rowed so hard the day before to get into. When daylight broke this morning I was at least feeling safer from the shipping traffic but frustrated I am stuck in an invisible current system with adverse winds holding me and now pushing me back to the position I was in on day two.
Today is bad wind all day and then tomorrow it will improve with a swing to the north for 48 hours. So I am trying to get some rest today in anticipation for a big push to break through this spot and make it to just below Sydney where I can hopefully turn east and head home.
I am focussing hard on making the best decisions I can hour by hour, day after day. Being alone out here is a massive test of my character and ability and I pray I will have the strength and fortune to break trough this difficult patch in the next three days. The stress of being close to the shipping channels and the shore in a highly unmaneurable craft all alone is considerable.