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Date: 04 Feb 2015 12:56:00
Title: Enter the Tropics

19:54.7N 22:15.3W Noon position

Things are getting serious ... last night we ate the last of the meringues. On a positive note the wind has picked up and we are definitely 'bowling along' at over 6 knots. At this speed 'Genny' (the towed generator) is performing so well that we will arrive at the end of our passage with fully charged batteries.

There was some debate amongst the crew as to whether the Tropic of Cancer was at latitude 23.5 degrees or 20 degrees north. (Answers on a postcard please.) either way we are technically in the tropics now, though it is still only 18 degrees Celsius!

Atlantic spotted dolphins visited again and deigned to play with us even though we were only doing 4 knots at the time. Kath took 160 photos and we laughed with delight at their antics. They surfed the bow wave and surged around the boat effortlessly. Occasionally one would leap from the water and land on its side with a loud splash, more reminiscent of a salmon on a Welsh river than the bottle nose and common dolphins we see in our home waters.

Not long after we launched Genny a pod of small whales surfaced very close to the boat and seemed intent on inspecting the impeller. Not sure what species other than not pilot whales.

Every now and then a Madeiran storm petrel flies by. These are larger than the British storm petrel and less fluttery in their flight, and they don't do the walking on water thing.

Musings on distance
During the afternoon I was sat on the coach roof, my back against the mast, putting a 'whipping' on some rope ends to stop them fraying. Overhead billowing clouds and bright blue sky, and the vast, empty ocean all around.
In a jet plane you could complete this journey in a few hours; in a sailing boat it will take a week. Travelling this way restores a more human perspective in the world. It seems a larger, more inspiring place.
Then in my mind's eye I see images that remind me what precious and vulnerable place this world of ours is. A photo of our blue and white planet taken from space, the 'Earth' a precious and as far as we know unique world, alone in the vastness of space. The amazing photo taken by one of the Apollo moon mission astronauts, showing just how thin our atmosphere really is. And a turtle with its flipper caught in a broken plastic fish crate that had been thoughtlessly cast away.

Franco
Caramor at sea


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