It is getting warmer as we travel south, and suddenly the seas seem to be more obviously alive. Sudden swarms of flying fish burst from the waves tails driving them forward to then glide off for a hundred yards to safety. Their bodies are an iridescent blue underneath and silver on top, and they hold transparent fairy wings that are held stiffly out sideways. Sometimes the bigger fish touch their tails into the water and give a powerful thrash that propels them back into the air.
We had two dolphin visits, the first of which was a group of 8-10 Atlantic spotted Dolphins which had new tricks to show. The waves had built up to impressive size so that we could see the Dolphins swimming just under the wave surface as it rolled towards us. Some of the group were leaping from high waves with a half twist to land with a loud smack in the water. Others had the trick of leaping out and tail smacking to make a loud slap. To my surprise I saw a small light brown shark amongst them, the first on this trip.
We tried to get video of the Dolphins, but as soon as I had the GoPro on a pole they shot off.
However it proved useful later when trying to investigate an annoying vibration in the rear cabin. Eventually we tracked it to the port rudder, and lowered the camera down to get a look at it. There we found a clump of reeds trapped between rudder and hull, tapping furiously as the water rushed past.
I have just come on watch at midnight and Mark reported seeing a blue light in the water earlier. The spotlight showed no reflections from liferaft or life jacket and it was consistent with an oceanographic buoy.
While we had supper the sun set and suddenly there was a shower of flying fish, one of which landed in the cockpit. It was about 9 inches long and I had difficulty grabbing it to get it back to the sea. Later Stuart was on watch and was pelted with fish, many of which are still on deck.
We are sailing a little to the east of our direct course, as this is dead downwind and uncomfortable to sail. With a steady Trade wind of 25 knots, gusting 30, we are making between 6.5-9 knots through the water. The Canaries current, which is meant to push us along has been ahead for much of the time, although now it is flowing across our track towards Africa. Our ETA at Sal is about midnight on 13th December, so there will be some tricky navigation getting into Palmeira amongst the wrecks and rocks.
The plan is to then complete port formalities, and put Stuart ashore as he flies home from there. With luck we will be able to meet up with Anne, Becky, Kyle, Elwin, Ion and Niall.