SV Accomplice Blog week 7 19/9/19 to 25/9/19
Thu 26 Sep 2019 08:32
As planned we slipped our berth at Cascais marina, filled the tanks with diesel and headed out to a misty sea lunchtime Monday. Mikey had flown in to Lisbon the day before and reacclimatised himself on Accomplice.
Previously Matthew and I had been exploring around Cascais....walking the coast lines in both directions and taking an inexpensive train ride into Lisbon. The weather had come and on occasions completely gone, one day was spent sheltering from heavy rain. We seem to be taking the inclement weather with us wherever we go and the passage so far to Gran Canaria has been no exception!
This passage to Gran Canaria is one which takes us down the Southern Portuguese coast off shore, across the congested shipping lanes which lead into and out of the Mediterranean and then a straight line into the blue yonder direct to the Canary Islands, perched off the coast of Western Sahara, north west Africa.
We are today 300 nautical miles (nm) into the passage of 715 nm. The forecast was for a windless first day then with winds being from the northerly quadrant in the region of F4 to F6. This is what you would normally expect. So far it has gone to plan in terms of wind but unfortunately we are experiencing a significant cross swell from the NW from heavy weather in the northern Atlantic which makes for a very uncomfortable time. We slide quite nicely down the waves building astern but then get unseated by the NW swell almost on the beam which makes us roll uncontrollably from side to side. Sleep is a challenge and only amounts to a few
snatched moments here and there. And for good measure we are passing through a cold front which luckily is benign but it is blocking out the sun! As I write this at dusk though the sky finally seems to be breaking up. At dusk yesterday evening we were waiting for a good soaking, but miraculously the black foreboding clouds passed in front or slipped behind us. Luck was with us.
We have been treated to many visitations from the marine life world. We have been accompanied daily by dolphins which really have been our only existence of other life now. We have not spotted another vessel for the last 24hours, just us in this vast expanse of cobalt blue sea. We have had the best display so far of dolphins, a school of maybe 10 playing athletically around the boat in crystal clear water. We passed several pilot whales yesterday who were on a mission going in the opposite direction. A flying fish was also spotted escaping from a bird and a shark’s fin seen, a first for all of us.
It is interesting to watch the dolphins in the blackness of the night, here there is plenty of phosphorescence so what you see is a stream of bright sparkles racing through the water.
And yes you will pleased to hear that Matthew landed his first sea life of his own on the deck......a good sized mahl-mahi or dorado, caught on the lure bought for a song in Cascais. Well done that man for his patience. The landing of the fish ceremony always provides some much needed entertainment. On this occasion upset fish arrives flapping on the end of the line, Matthew tries to control and subdue it, Mikey enters on the left with bucket in hand, too small, and mallet. In the mele that ensued Mikey, whilst swinging the mallet, loses his balance on the back of a rolling deck, treads on the fish’s head, fish hook dislodging from fish’s mouth and then impaling Mikey’s big toe. We have now very upset flapping fish and Mikey hopping around trying to release the hook from his toe, and me falling about laughing😂.
Anyway the end was inevitable for the fish in Matthew deft hands and we enjoyed a lovely oven baked Dorado for our tea that evening. Before the prize though I had to administer first aid to Mikey’s big toe, he’ll survive.....if our nurse Janet was here unfortunately in addition to antiseptic spray he would have probably been offered a suppository?
As I write this I am laying in my berth, bracing myself as the boat rolls from side to side as waves hit it from varying angles. The boat in darkness bar the red glow and dimmed light from the instrumentation at the chart table, the sun gone from the horizon. The generator is mumming away in the engine room, recharging the battery bank for tonight’s usage. The autopilot is making its own particular loud hysteric whirring noise in the locker behind my head as it moves the rudder continuously from side to side in these unsettled seas. Matthew is on deck on watch duty, Mikey is resting in the saloon before his watch at midnight until 3am and my own watch being from 3am until 6am. All of us though in reality are on continual watch throughout the night as required to change the sail configuration or deal with changing weather conditions. Part of our duty is to write up an hourly Ships log of position, speed, barometer pressure, current direction etc Being on watch also entails keeping a look out for shipping/fishing movements, monitoring instrumentation, our progress and trimming sails as required.
We are hoping the wind remains consistent for the next few days and the cross swell subsides a little, well a lot really! Oh and the sun comes out😎
We are planning to get into Las Palmas on Saturday if all goes well.
Andrew, Matthew and Mikey
26.9.19 At sea on Seine Abyssal Plainq