Update from 23rd June

Rick, Helen, Sue, John
Thu 23 Jun 2011 15:28
Hello from 47:47.1N 14:17.5W. 
We had a bit of a Shrek event last night.  Have I yet touched on the subject of The Shrek our (alleged) Volvo (alleged) engine?  No?  well, quite frankly, I’m not quite sure where to start.  But leaving for now the history, lets turn to last night:  After five days of solid progress under canvass alone (i.e The Shrek has been left sulking unwanted, unused, blissfully silent down in the Black Lagoon) we sailed into a bit of a ‘hole’ in the wind.  It was a lovely night, the sea full of phosphorescence so we were trailing what looked like a stream of countless diamonds in our wake.  Every breaking wave glowed as if lit up from inside.  Our wash veed out behind us in two distinct glittering lines.  The sea was gently moving and we were making 5 – 6 knots over it with the boat very gently and comfortably rolling across it. It was entirely magical.
OK, enough scene setting.  My watch was the 2100 – 0000 so at 0345 I was having a rather exquisite little dream (the details of which I will not disclose) when it all went quiet.  (One gets accustomed, and takes comfort, from the feel of the ship gently heeling to the breeze, the sound of water rushing by, the prop-shaft turning – being forced round by the water on the prop.  All at once we’re coasting to a halt and doing a horrible, unpredictable, lurching sort of roll.  The prop-shaft is silent and on deck the sails are banging and slatting.  Time at last for The Shrek.  Torn cruelly from my dream I climb out of my bunk and carry out a quick pre-start engine check – oil, fan-belt tension, coolant, etc.  Check the filters.  Then we fire up the beast.  Almost instantly there’s a horrible squealing and smell of burning fan-belt.  Close down.  Get into engineer’s costume (my most oiliest t-shirt and shorts), arrange tools and dive head down into the Black Lagoon.  Last time I did this was Flores and there I seemed to have finally developed a technique which worked.  Of course, The Shrek, having been caught napping that one time wasn’t having any of it and we fight each other and swear (well, I did the swearing) for about an hour.  Finally  God said, ‘OK,  Johnny, one. The Shrek, nil’.  Hurrah! and the new belt is on, tensioned and we fire her up.  And with that we steamed off into Thursday’s dawn.
Yesterday we had a close-up-and-personal with a couple of big whales.  They surfaced about 30 yards from the boat, both blowing huge ‘blows’.    I guess they were about the same length as DDL, maybe a little longer.  Anyway they gave us the once over, sounded, surfaced for another look and then sounded for good.  We felt sad that they had gone (our bit of sea’s feel empty now) but wished them god speed.
The GPS is now giving us The Lizard late on Sunday (26th) which should get us into the Tamar sometime on Monday morning.  We’ll see.  We’re still using The Shrek so anything’s possible.
Love The Crew