Whale Shark

Lars Alfredson
Fri 15 Jan 2016 08:21

pos 12:55.103N 123:34.478E

Hello again!

Well as we didn't have any more unfinshed business in Tabaco we hoisted the anchor at Noon and headed for Donsol and the Whalesharks. Oh, that reminds me, the immigration lady had told us they have them in the Tabaco Bay too. Sure!

Well, about two hours out of Tabaco I sit peacefully in my corner and look at the seafront to port and see the water moving like from a big fish. Lars, look ther's a big fish as I see something big and white like an oversize ricebag just under the surface. It's plastic says Lars and at the same time we see it's a Whaleshark and about five meters in front and two off the port bow. Lars jumps to the rail and I grab the only camera left and hope for the best. This world's biggest fish dives just befor the dinghy runs him over.

Well I got the picture, sort of. You can see the head, about two meters across, just under the water, but sadly we never saw the tail. Luckily, however, we didn't hit him.

After negociating an interesting pass between two islands, one baring the, in Finnish, intresting name of Rapu Rapu (double crayfish in Finnish) and naviagating between reefs that either were or were not on then charts, as were or were not lights and markers, we hit open water for a few hours.

On my first night watch I was supposed to wake up Lars when it was time to qybe, that was in about an hour. Well, I started looking for a lighthouse that was not there but found a ship on crossing course instead. Eventually a light appeared, not on the chart, but blinking anyway. Both were miles away and no bother.

The ship had turned and sailed on the same course as we, may be a knot or two faster, we were doing about 8. Suddenly both ship and nonexcistant light disappeared and I had a look through the old tube. Rain, and no light drizzle, but a tropical curtain of it. I dashed inside to close all hatches and having done it felt a sudden increase in both speed and boatangle. Up I go and getting hit by a carwash at turbo power from the corner of my eye I see 12,6 knots! Holy maccareel, this was some serious going. As I contemplated loosing the main a bit Lars comes up and asks me why I'm speeding!

The new aft light, about 10000 lumin or whatever turned itself on as the sensor took the rain for something bigger and what sees my left eye? The poor dinghy having the ride of its life bouncing left and right at breakneck speed. We had forgotten to take it out of the water. I kept my fingers crossed it wouldn't turn upside down (it survived, but was half filled with water and quite cross with us when we eventually pulled it in at anchorage)

Lars stayed up and we gybed in the rain, successfully, though the genoa ofcourse caught something so Lars had to get up front, as he wasn't wet enough. We shot ourselves in the pilothouse, but though everything possible was closed it rained in! As my two hours were full I went down for some shoteye and came back four hours later  (4 AM) finding Lars by the pilothouse door, with an umbrella, but still wet as rat!

Look he said and I looked, that is at a sea illuminated like 5th Avenue on the last shopping day befor X mas. There were litterally houndreds of fishing boats all over the place, including right on the nose. I shine a light on the main and they usually move, says Lars calmly and thats it. Off he goes and I start planning all kinds of manuvers, for about 30 seconds, because then I see a blinking light, about the same lux as a candle, moving straight across the bow. The guy passes at my be 20 meters and shines a super tortch in my eye. Thank you very much, and I will not duck for your pals.

Eventually I get used to these Kamikaze pilots and shine them back in the eye, or somwhere. If a bigger guy, that is six to eight of them on a 10 m outrigger with a ton of lights look too close I show them the sail, but we have no close encounters of any degree, until. One big guy is straight ahead and does not move, thouph I showed him we are bigger and moving under sail. Ok, a couple of hundred meters from him I move up 5 degrees and pass him on hand shaking distance, almost. The guys cheer and wave and I wave back and almost will them to trow a couple fishes to, or at, me. Sadly they didn't. I like fish, fresh and raw. Once more I ducked a boat, a small one with two  guys, probably both def and blind. I felt having done the right thing, and why should't I? Banging 35 tons of aluminium at ten knots in a matchbox isn't fair.

By the way, I tried to count the boats in the straight at one time, but gave up at 187 having done just about 180 degrees. Well the two hours flew away as you might imagine, so a woke Darryl up and hit the sack. He will take it from here.
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