Dolphin FrolicsReport Abuse
Monday 7 December – 18.00 GMT (15.00 boat time)
15.04N 57.25W – 213 nm to go – 8.3 knots
After another lovely day on Sunday, the feeling is building that the end is nigh. The end of the voyage, folks, not the end of the world!
As we sat round on deck for a supper of savoury Indonesian rice (nasi goring for the ones in the know) cooked by Marlies, we were entertained to an amazing display of a big pod of dolphins (or were they porpoises?) playing round the boat. There must have been a good twenty or so, rather small with a few bigger ones jumping around. Some were jumping a good 8 feet clear of the water! Wonderful and fantastic; The best yet, and for me the best ever.
We had hoped that this signalled the presence of fish willing to bite, but in spite of the combined expertise of both Barry and Boogie, we had no luck. Maybe the dolphins frightened them away.
Barring squalls, more of which later, the wind is a fair S Easterly trade of 15 – 20 kn. We are on port gybe with the headsail conventionally rigged or poled out to port depending on the wind and the course to get us to St Lucia. There has been some chatter amongst the lower ranks as to whether we were actually heading for Dominica, Martinique, or Barbados (or Bermuda??? No you really must be joking) but they just betray their lack of understanding of the finer points of ocean sailing.
Initially the night passed uneventfully and for safety the unused pole was brought in and secured to the foredeck. On the 0300 watch however, not to be outdone by White watch, Blue Watch did have some fun. We took the skipper’s advice and donned oily jackets as it looked a bit unsettled. Just as well. A dark cloud loomed astern and we rolled up a big chunk of headsail in preparation. We had missed by all of them thus far but we weren’t going to escape this one. First the rain, then a windshift of some 40 degrees, an increase in the wind, then back. It really began to chuck it down, and visibility went to a few metres. Gusting wind to 30 kn and we were charging down the waves. Keith was the lucky man on the helm, and stuck with it, doing a masterly job with Boogie standing by with much appreciated advice aplenty (follow the wind!). I must admit that Boogie’s second by second forecasts of what was about to happen and when, as the squall passed over us, were uncannily accurate, but did not detract from the excitement of our 24 tons being chucked about like a matchstick (well maybe a slight exaggeration).
Another big wind shift and a bit more rain as the tail end passed over and things calmed down a bit. Great for boat speed with 25 nm over 3 hours – best yet.
At about 0500, we were called by Amazing Grace, another ARC boat (Broadblue 415, about 42 foot) with 4 on board for a chat. They passed ahead of us from port to starboard within about 1.5 miles, flying two headsails.
At 1500 (1800 GMT) we are 15 04.6N 57 25.5W with just 213 nm to go.
Whoopee – can’t wait to see the family.
Best wishes to all Star Chaser watchers.
PS My shrewd detective work has unearthed who ate the last mini Bounty bar, but I’m not telling!