We maintain a 'round the clock watch system, and use a marine "Energetically
Generated Gismo for Timing In Minutes Each Rotation" (also known as "EGG
TIMER") to remind whoever's on watch to periodically scan the horizon for
traffic. When we get back to the real world, I'm sure we'll all still have
the urge to spring to our feet every fifteen minutes and do a quick 360
degree sweep for oil tankers.
This hasn't been that much shipping over the last few days- normally only
one or two a day. Yesterday we came close enough to an LPG tanker to make
me wonder if the "No Smoking" sign prominently painted on the superstructure
of all of these types of ships, was actually referring to us to. They can
still creep up on you in 15 minutes.
The Arabian Gulf and Gulf of Oman are of course different stories.
Just before Ras Al Hadd a huge oil tanker was right up our chuff for about
an hour. When he closed to two miles, I called him on VHF; the watch
officer sounded surprised that I was concerned about his overtaking
intentions, and asked "are you safe?"! I'd have felt a lot safer with a bit
more water between the two of us. He passed less than a mile to our
starboard; that sound like a long way, but it's quite daunting when you're
not even sure if these guys can see us.
The sailing is quite patchy, usually only with enough breeze for a few hours
at a time. Otherwise, we motor or motor sail at low revs to conserve fuel.
We are counting down the latitudes and the miles to go.
We are using more of our dried stores now. Laith made Bernard's tea with
powdered milk this morning. It was judged a success, as Bernard couldn't
tell the difference from the udder milk.