Saturday 11th March 2017
An uneventful day with a scattering of flying fish at dawn when Emily came on watch, and then no sign of sea life all day. The forecast is for a tongue of wind pushing over the peaks of Darien from the Caribbean towards the Galapagos. We've had two good days speeding along our course, with the current generally giving us a boost in the right direction.
However when I cam on watch at midnight, to see in the first three hours of Sunday, it was clear that our tongue was giving out. The heady days of 8 knots have gone for now, and we are creeping down towards 5.5 knots beyond which I will have to consider motoring. The forecasts, if right, indicate a complete lack of wind for our last two days, so the "iron donkey" will be used. There's a dated phrase, very much in keeping with the sea stories that I've been reading. I downloaded The Sea Story MegaPack onto the Kindle before departing and have been gripped by great adventures from the age when sail was being challenged by steam. Whatever the adventure, the writing of its time gives an insight into the lives of people who depended on the sea, whether as fishermen in Newfoundland or merchant seamen, whalers or sealing vessels. Hard lives and gripping stories, and for the last day I have barely stopped reading except to stand watch and eat. It makes our own journey seem luxu
rious, and yet at the same time we share the same exposure to calms, storms, currents, rocks and sea creatures.
Emily kindly did my supper duty tonight as I was feeling a bit seasick from too much reading! For lunch I'd made Lake Soup in the pressure cooker that Rosalind gave us, but thanks to Emily supper was superb, with Justin's fresh caught tuna marinaded in ginger, coated in black and white sesame seeds and seared in the pan. Served atop noodles with a mango, onion, red pepper and chill salsa it tasted great! Pudding was peaches and melted vanilla ice cream.
Our freezer has been driving me mad with its intermittent operation, and having spent the last few days holding a very respectable minus twelve, it has now stopped working unless the generator is running. Careful monitoring hour after hour show that voltage is not the issue, so I am baffled. Now we need to eat up the mince, chicken and ice cream that we bought I. Panama.
The last hour of the day was a sudden flurry of activity. A ship, the Dole Atlantic, steaming up from Ecuador to Costa Rica came within half a mile of our stern, and ten miles before that I spoke to the man on watch to confirm that they could see us on AIS. After days without contact, it was reassuring to see the ship going about its business, but a reminder that we are very alone out here. The other yacht that we saw astern on Friday has vanished, and we guess that we've left her 15-20 miles behind when the wind picked up..
After supper, in the dying pink of the day, the sea was suddenly leaping with dark dolphin shapes as forty or so came speeding to us from every direction in a great cavorting mob. They were almost 6 ft long and had a pale speckled band from their eyes down to the belly and then curving up over the tail. A great excitement as we crowded to the bows together to watch the games played beneath our forefoot!
Now that we are out of phone range and WhatsApp doesn't work I rather miss the contact with everyone. It would be great to get email from you at firstname.lastname@example.org. This satellite system works well for text emails, but please don't include large attachments like photos otherwise it can take many hours to download.