A Sad Story N38 28 W 33 27

Gryphon II
Chris and Lorraine Marchant
Sun 14 Jun 2015 07:00

We are currently in touch by email with a Swedish boat Miss My, which we have gradually been catching across the watery wastes. They are a family of five and are returning from their own circumnavigation. Their big news 2 days ago was coming upon an abandoned yacht. The yacht had no mast and its lifelines were broken. Miss My went as close as they dared but there was no sign of life so they went on their way.

We thought originally that it might have been one of a group of 5 yachts with 3 that had to be abandoned and 1 that sank in terrible weather out here about 5 weeks ago. However, none of them match the description of this yacht which was called Jane and was a Sun Odyssey 37 according to Olof on Miss My. Very unsettling, I'm not sure what we would have done if we had come across it. It would be tempting to take it in tow but at that point we were over 300 miles from the Azores! I think I would have tried to board it myself if the weather was calm enough and possibly salvage any personal possessions or equipment the owners may have had to leave behind and try to restore it to them...also check that there was not an injured person lying below. I would also have been tempted to scuttle the boat as it is a real danger to other yachts. At night it would be impossible to see and would cause a lot of damage if hit at 5 or 6 knots.

Our only similar scare was coming across an object that we first thought was the up-turned hull of a boat but turned out to be the huge carcass of a whale already becoming rather smelly and covered in sea birds. Happily we have seen 2 other whales on this passage one a humpback and yesterday a fin whale which sauntered past within 15 metres. We were also visited by a pod of athletic pantropical spotted dolphins that played around the boat. One individual did an enormous leap from the water which would easily have cleared our bimini, reaching over 12 ft high. Whilst in mid air it did some impressive body wriggles. Clearly a young male show off!

So there must be some fish out there but the dolphin have left none for us. The fishing line goes out daily but without success. We continue to see the Portuguese Men of War with their translucent air bladders helping them to sail the oceans They look like sea-through Cornish pasties with iridescent colours outlining the pie crust. Very pretty but deadly.

The wind filled in this morning after some days of very light or no winds. We had to motor a lot yesterday but are now sailing fast with a following wind just like the Trades except that it is a good deal cooler. We hope to arrive Monday early morning. The Azores comprise of 9 islands, we're hoping to visit 5 of them but aim to make our first landfall in Flores which looks as if may be a bit crowded as in the last 2 days we have been overtaken by 3 other bigger yachts, 2 French and 1 Canadian; the little marina at Flores can take only 12 yachts. In Horta on the island of Faial, where we plan to go next, we have learnt there are yachts rafted up 4 deep so no comfy marina berth for us by the looks of it.