ARC 2007 Day 8 update

Simon Ridley
Mon 3 Dec 2007 11:41
21:12.33N 34:27.10W

Dear Reader (I know there's more than one of you out there but it feels more personal this way),

It has been a while since we wrote with happenings aboard the good ship Gertha. Last night saw us cross the second "time zone" and saw us reach 1000 miles since we left Las Palmas last Sunday. It is amazing really that we are still talking to one another and even occasionally being civil to each other, and still sharing the cooking duties in an equitable manner! Seriously though, all seems ok on crew morale front.

So what have we seen and experienced these last few days? Worth another mention are the cloud formations which are really unlike anything you see on land. All around a 360 degree panorama are a fantastic show of fluffy, woolly, mysterious, spooky figures and animals. Gerald Scarfe-like caricatures are drawn miles high in the sky, a carnival of animals follow each other holding tails, huge Cathedral-like structures complete with intricate windows and doors. These are best viewed just after sunrise or just before sunset, as the back-lighting effect makes them even more dramatic. At night, the moon and stars are often obscured by fast moving, black, low clouds, which are menacing like some dark creature out of Hary Potter. So you get the picture, we spend on average about 3 hours a day cloud-watching.

The weather has been remarkably good except for some squally showers in the night hours, with bright sunshine and good winds, but the seas are very un-predictable and can be very lumpy with waves crossing other waves producing an uncomfortable motion onboard. The sea temperature today is 25 degrees C, no idea what the air temp is but it's hot in the sun.

Yesterday we started seeing flying fish for the first time. They look like a cross between large dragonflies and small helicopters, as they skid along just above the surface of the water.

Oops had to leave you - it's now Monday around midday your time - I've updated the position above to reflect 9.00 this morning.

Had first flying fish attack - one on deck this morning. Was just wondering how to cook said morsel when Steph suggested we use it for live bait. I threaded it with trace and bunged a hook on, but within minutes it had come loose. So mch for that idea.

On fishing front we have now eaten Boris, Cedric, and Delilah, all of which were Spanish Mackerel of a reasonable size (2-3lb caught weight), and all caught using squid lure at about 7pm. Sadly my last squid lure was bitten off the line by a monster yesterday afternoon, and my "big boy" lure to which I added another two hooks was lost in similar fashion trying to pull in a tuna from 200 metres out whilst sailing along at 8-9 knots! Hardly surprising when you consider the drag of a fish that big at those speeds. My fishing days are temporarily suspended as I only have light stuff left, suitable for much lower speeds. If we carry on sailing like this, we just simply won't be fishing any more! However if we are becalmed, I'll have another go.

Weather report this morning suggests we might miss the area of calm we were warned about yesterday, so its all hands on deck to trim the big white clothy things and try to coax another knot or two out of her. News yesterday from position reports that Scorpione, the largest yacht in the fleet at over 100 feet (29 M and several squillion $$$ worth) whose skipper and crew we got friendly with, is only 80 miles ahead of us!!!! Ha ha, I told them we'd beat 'em (in a jokey kind of way!).

Ok need to go now as its a scorcher today and have to tan rapidly before we get there.

I see we have had emails from a few of you - replies have been sent, but notably absent are Billy and Charlie! Are you keeping up with Daddy's voyage boys?

Love to all, more tomorrow,


aka Roger the Cabin Boy
Team Gertha