Day 8 Position 16:15.10N 36:59.51W Flying fish Squadrons.....
Mon 2 Dec 2019 15:42
12.30pm Lunch of Pasta and Bocqueron, which are little marinated fish a bit like anchovies - but more oily than salty, was prepared by our new Mother - Tim.
Gwenhyfar sailed through squadrons of flying fish, a true sign that we were in the tropics! Flying fish are a bright metallic silver colour with big eyes and about 9 inches in length. They have oily and very smelly scales. Question: How do we know this? (Answer below.) They have a 8 inch wing span and as they jump out of a wave they flick their tail and rapidly rotate their lateral fins, which now become wings. After a few attempts they become air born and can fly up to 50 metres at an average height of 2 metres. This is their defence mechanism against their multiple predators, Dorade, Wahoo, and Baracudda who are chasing them from below. They panic as a shoal and scramble to take off.
Evening was a delicately cooked fish pie (irony here...?) - complete with creamy sauce, white fish, prawns, eggs and parsley. Finished off with a fruit salad and coffee and chocolates.
The wind looked to be strengthening so we changed down a gear and stowed the lime spinnaker and launched instead the furling Jib. We added the yellow funny sail (aka mizzen staysail) and Gwenhyfar instantly became nicely balanced and well powered in the 18-20 knot breeze.
First evening watch was Peter and David.
Then the action started!
Gwenhyfar has an underwater profile that is slim and fast. (Maybe a bit like a large cetacean to a flying fish?) Gwenhyfar has a low sleek profile and a sweet sheerline, making her look purposeful and fast, but to the flying fish we became a real and present danger! Consequently as Gwenhyfar powered though the starlit Ocean squadrons of nightime flying fish were mobilised.
Peter was on watch diligently looking out towards starboard and windward. It was pitch black out there. Then a shout of **** **** and we were a man down! Peter had received a 20 knot mighty wet smack in the face as a kamakazee flying fish came shooting over the low freeboard. Several other fellow flyers made a crash landing in the cockpit and further forward another determined group splattered into the deckhouse starboard windows. Peter went below to clean up his face, washing smelly scales out of his ears and nose before bravely resuming his watch. This time wisely concentrating to leeward and port!
Dawn saw us furl away the jib and shaking out the lime green heavy spinnaker with mainsail funny sail and mizzen and again accelerate away to the west in what became our fastest days sailing so far, an impressive 201 miles run.
Crew all happy and now pleased to be making good progress directly towards St Lucia
Answer: Peter had an unpleasant intimate contact with one!