I got another sun-shot when the sun half showed through the ragged stormy sky. I had to grab the chance, and though I only poked my nose out of the hatch, both the sextant and I got a thorough sea bath again. The seas were very rough, about 12 feet, with a gale south-west by west. 16 June. How that anchor light maddened me! Once it went out while hanging quietly on a hook in the cabin without being touched.
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The battery charging on this day got the acid level up to 1143.
I was still getting my story through every day, and wondered if I could keep it going. Later, I had to stop charging, because the exhaust flames were blowing through the asbestos wrapping round the short exhaust pipe at the forward end of the motor. I could see the red hot gases flowing quickly, like a river. The pipe had been burnt away.
During the day the wind dropped to a zephyr, and in a short while veered through 225 degrees from north right round through east and south to south-west. Taking the opportunity to shave, I spotted that the barometer had dropped a millibar in the ten minutes while I was shaving. I went on deck at once, and changed the big genoa to the tiny spitfire jib. The genoa was already being overpowered. After midnight the ship was thrown about so badly that I had to change to a leeward berth for fear that I should be thrown right across the cabin into the pilot berth at the far side while asleep. (Apart from the effect of this on me, all the eggs were stowed in that berth! ) As soon as I had settled into the new berth, Gipsy Moth tacked herself, and came up aback, headed north-east. All my oilies and boots had to go on, and I jibbed her round. The anchor light went out, of course, and I could not get it out on the stay again alight until three attempts had failed. What a job in a gale! Nine hours later Gipsy Moth was becalmed again. What a life!
Pidge seemed to like chopped up bread to eat better than anything else now. I had tried him with both cheese and sugar, but he turned them down. He had two red bands on his tough, scaly legs, and I passed his number to London. It turned out that he was a French aristocrat coming from a long-distance racing family and that he was racing from the Channel Islands to Preston, Lancashire, when he came down on Gipsy Moth. Perhaps the very old blood in his veins made his manners so peculiar! He never finished more than two-thirds of any dishful I gave him, and rejected any piece which was a fraction bigger than his maximum. I never understood this – if a pigeon can swallow a whole acorn, why can he not eat a piece of bread a fifth of the size?
Fog came, reducing visibility to half a mile. I was amazed at how little fog I had met so far; in 1960 I was in fog for more than a third of the voyage. My course to clear the icebergs was 247° True.