We've been at sea for 8 days now and couldn't believe it yesterday when it had been a week already. The time has passed very quickly for both of us. The first couple of days were sunny and blue skies, and no wind so we had to do a bit of motoring. Then, we had a mackerel sky at night, followed by big, black storm cells all round us. I took so many photos of the big banks of clouds as they really were very impressive. So then we had a few days with these big black clouds all round, some contained rain, most of the big squalls passed us by on either side (thank you Lord), but none of them contained any wind. Therefore, we were still doing more motoring than we liked. We were starting to get a bit worried about our fuel consumption, so decide that one day...no motoring. We averaged about 3kts, sometimes we were doing just 1kt. Phil even managed to do a pirouette at one stage before a slight breeze came back in. Fortunately, a couple of days ago we had a mackerel sky in the morning, the wind came in and we've
done no motoring since. We were not even making 100nm a day in a 24hr period. Today, we're back on target with 143nm in 24hrs. (however as I write the wind is not as strong this evening and we're back to 4.5kts). We are conscious that a low was meant to be forming in about the middle of our journey, so we really want to be ahead of that and to squeeze in between the low and the azores high that is sitting about on the azores. Will have to see how we end up. We're doing the radio sched with Boomerang and Swallow. Swallow weren't on at the beginning as Elliot and Vicky were both seasick, but with the calmer conditions, they piped up one morning and have been on every since. They are about 100nm ahead of us and Boomerang about 270nm behind us at this stage.
There is another yacht really close to us doing very strange things. Darren asked if we saw many other boats and at that stage we hadn't. Then, the very next morning, a yacht appeared off our port stern. He stayed there for a while, not catching us (Phil put out
the staysail as soon as he got up on watch) I'd seen it on AIS at about 4am, but when Phil went to check later, it was not showing up. It's called Sunrise. Anyway, throughout the morning, Sunrise started to head across behind us over on to our stbd side. We called on VHF a couple of times but got no response. It kept heading away from us out to stb. That night, it came back. Phil saw it on his watch out on our Stb side. Then, during my watch it passed in front of us and went all the way off to our pt side. It just keeps going out of sight. Not sure where it is tonight or if it will pop up again at some stage. Strange that it isn't answering VHF.
Speaking of strange...a couple of strange things;
I was on watch one afternoon, just up reading in the cockpit and I head what sounded like a very distant explosion. A very loud, deep explosion, followed by a rumbling, followed by 2 more explosions. Now, there were some storm cells around, but none that looked big enough to cause thunder, and it didn't
sound like the normal thunder anyway. It was not too loud as it came from very far away, but still loud enough that Phil heard it with his earplugs in off watch. He thought it was the sails doing something. We have put it down to thunder as that's is the only 'sensible' explanation....but I'm not so sure.
Then, later that night, I saw and heard a jet plane flying overhead. Now, I've seen a couple, but out here, all you see is a faint light blinking up with the stars. This one was way low – low enough that I could make out the plane from it's own lights and hear it as it flew past. So, now we're wondering why a plane would be flying so low way out here??? Ahh the things that happen in the middle of nowhere!!!!!
Well today we cracked the half way point. Hmm, at sea for 10 days and only cracked it today....gonna be a long trip this one!! Sailed all day today but motoring again now as there isn't any wind again!! Used the pretty sail (multi-purpose sail MPS, - almost like a spinnaker)
today and we are still not the best of friends, getting closer, but still a ways to go. She does have a purpose though and is very helpful in the light winds!! Only had a few minor incidents this time. Something broke at the top of the sail after we'd had it up for about 15mins. And it floated down into the sea - it was still attached by either end at the bottom of the triangle (that's the shape of the sail) but the rest was in the water. Lucky there were only light winds. Got it in, stuffed it down front hatch, and then Phil wants to fix it and...........fly it again!!!!! So we did. This time worked better....until a squall and it got too windy. Got it down. Squall passed.................and Phil wanted to fly it again...so we did!!! Blasted sail!!! But, it did enable us to sail all day until 5pm when the wind died completely. Apparently we're going to use it again tomorrow. LOL...
Went through a 'school'?? of jellyfish today - large Portuguese man of war ones, huge bubbles floating on the water. Heaps too, kept seeing them for at least 1/2hr until dinner
time!! All good on board. I was astounded as I thought they lived in rivers near land and then just floated out with the tide. These guys are out here....in the middle of nowhere!!!! What purpose they have, if not to sting people??? . All good on board.
Happy Birthday Bronnie. I made a cheesecake today in honour of Bronni's birthday and now Phil and I will be enjoying it for the next 3 nights. YAY. Tonight just on sunset (I had already gone to bed) we had dolphins around the boat. Phil saw them jumping out and playing around, I only saw one at the end. They were smaller than we've seen before. However, when I was on watch at 2100, I could hear them singing out to each other and occasionally heard the splash of them up the bow, there is hardly any moon though so I couldn't see them at all.
We've been making slow and steady progress lately, at least we've been able to sail. Now however, we are being pushing north due to the wind direction. We'll head this way for a
couple of days, then will have to motor through the middle of the high, and then the stronger winds come in. Hopefully they won't be too strong. Hasn't been much to write about in the diary lately, still lots of jellyfish, and today heaps of jet-streams. Not sure if it's just that we can see them all now that the sky is clear of clouds, or if it's colder so more obvious, or just heaps more jets on the weekend, but we were surprised at the amount all flying in the same direction!
Arrived 1130 after 20 days at sea. The last 2 1/2 days were rough and windy with squalls, but according to Phil 'not too bad'. It wasn't the worst we've sailed in, but not the most pleasant either. Had heaps of dolphins around the boat also for the last 3 days or so. Massive pods, jumping and playing round the boat. Looking forward to exploring Horta now.
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