November 27th 2010: A milestone reached with unexpected guests

Enigma's Transatlantic Voyage
Manuel Ribeiro
Sat 27 Nov 2010 13:21

19:35.60N 22:16.60W




So in the previous blog entry, you were hinted that a certain milestone was within our reach. Now it has been accomplished; we are ¼ through our journey!


The Enigma crew have sailed about 700 miles, which is the equivalent of sailing straight from Lisbon to the Canaries. We are getting closer to reaching the point where we head west – straight across the ocean to our much awaited destination. As ARC weatherman, Chris Tibbs, hinted to everyone in the days leading up to the departure, “head south until the butter melts.” Well, at a steady 30º C, the butter is melting. We are in the tropical zone, crossed the Tropic of Cancer as of 0245 on Wednesday, and the Atlantic seems to have rewarded us as a result of our progress.


As we were motoring along, moving the clock back 1 hour to match the GMT+1 time zone, we were taken by surprise. The crew were tending to their usual activities (see previous blog entry) when all of a sudden, Pena took sight of the spectacle. “Dolphins!” he yelled. After running to the bow to see for ourselves, we were not disappointed. We saw dolphins, maybe a dozen of them, gliding effortlessly alongside our boat. Bobbing up and down from the surface, gracefully twisting and turning and some playfully swimming belly to belly with each other, it was as if they came to congratulate us on making it to their playground. One even jumped fully out of the water and twisted in mid-air, almost within arms reach of us! They stuck around for a good amount of time – over 5 minutes – then vanished as quickly as they had appeared.


Though the unexpected certainly came to greet us on our arrival, that which was expected did not. The tropical zone may be where the trade winds we depend on are supposed to become established, but we have not had much luck in the last few days. As a result, we have been under motor much more than we expected. So with all the diesel that we have pre-emptively consumed, it has become necessary for us to stop and refuel in Cape Verde. As Manuel Sr. has joked, Cape Verde is a necessity if we expect to celebrate Christmas on land!


To some of us, it came as a bit of a surprise, as we had already mentally prepared ourselves to not see land for another two and a half weeks. But this trip is also about expecting the unexpected, so we look forward to stopping at a place that is new to everyone on board -- and sample a local dish. We should be arriving there early on Sunday and look to leave the following morning.


On an aside, we were very glad to have come across our unexpected guests. Now, if they could just tell their Mahi Mahi and Tuna friends to come pay a visit and bite our bait, it would be much appreciated.  The pan is waiting!


Anyway, another day has become another surprise. Stay tuned for the next entry!


The Enigma Crew.

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