Pond weed and crew feed 14:58:20N 53:15:12W
Under 500 miles to go!!! Whoooooop!!!
Wind and sea has remained consistent with the last day or so. F5; most commonly 19 or 20kts recorded from the east or south-east pushing us along nicely at about 6 to 6.5kts.
Still bumpy on-board but we are managing fine. The forecast for tomorrow is for a little more wind so we are expecting we might have quite a lively final leg of the trip!
We have noticed an increase in the amount of weed in these waters. We have spotted occasional "clumps" of this orangey-coloured seaweed over the past week. Typically these have been no bigger than the size of a large dinnerplate. Today we are watching huge rafts of the stuff float past all around us; several metres in length and easily 3 or 4 feet wide. We have read about this somewhere; Jamie thinks it might be called "Sargossa" Weed but we haven't checked the spelling on that. Anyway always exciting to have something new to look at (I have just finished reading my 9th book of the trip and am procrastinating as to what to start next; I'm plugging the gap with freecell; suduko and arrow-words but that does still leave quite a lot of time for staring at weed)!
On the observation front; we have finally seen another sailboat! Jamie spotted it in the early hours of the morning and identified it by it's masthead light as a sailboat passing on a more northerly route than ours. By the time I came on watch it was far off our starboard beam. When the sun came up we could still see it through our binoculars and it appeared to be making way slowly under mainsail only with its headsail furled. We put out a number of radio calls incase there was a problem but we got no response and have to assume that it is a single-handed sailor getting some rest. There was no evidence the boat was in distress and by the time we could see it properly in the light of day they were several miles to windward of us. We decided to stand off but put a few more calls out on the VHF incase any help was required. So there it is; after over 2300 miles we finally see a sailing boat; perhaps there will be more as we approach land and various routes across the Atlantic start to converge.
We seem to have left the squalls behind for the time being at last. The clouds we are seeing today are much more consistent with the earlier part of the trip and less like the dense threatening clouds we have seen the last few days - long may that last. There was a tiny spot of rain when I came on watch at about half past 4am but nothing more after that and so far today has been sunny and dry.
Jamie has been doing far more than his share of galley work since the conditions got bumpy. Last night we had the ribs he had been slow roasting during the day with mac & cheese... OH. MY. WORD. it was delicious! Like utterly completely delicious. The sort of delicious where you finish and are instantly a bit sad because you just want to eat it all over again. Tonight is my turn to cook and I have prepared something from an old family recipe "Chicken thingy" - it's a sort of chicken mayonnaise dish with peanuts; sultanas and a variety of other things stirred through. The recipe originated from my beloved late Grandma's Church recipe book. I think the good ladies of Conisborough Women's Institute originally prescribed sliced banana (some were burned at the stake when they first suggested this in 1952), but we have, to date, never carried bananas on-board and tend to use whatever needs using up so tonight's "thingy" comprises; shredded cooked chicken, handful peanuts, handful sultanas, handful shredded red cabbage, half a dozen small chopped corn cobs, half an apple (diced), 2 tablespoons of light mayonnaise and seasoning. It's a dish I always associate with "first night of the holiday" when we used to go away in our caravan as kids. Mum would make the chicken thingy before we left and we'd have it with a tin of boiled potatoes! I still think tinned potatoes are the best pairing but we have loads of fresh potatoes still so that's what we will be having it with tonight.
While I "thingy'd" the chicken Meep jumped down from his hammock where he has spent most of the last 48hrs and climbed up on the worktop to investigate. He sat idly watching for 5 or 10 minutes and then got a little bit too interested in the chicken and I shooed him away. He sniffed around the offerings in his food dish and then settled at his water bowl for a good drink. I stood and marvelled at his dexterity. On a pitching boat where I was struggling to stay upright and keep everything on the worktop he planted his paws wide; crouched down low over his bowl and drank deeply while his little body just swayed back and forth. Such a simple act but it had an effortless elegance about it that showed he truly is an ocean-going kitty these days.
I suspect he will relish the opportunity to leave his hammock and run around like the rest of us will in a few days but for the time being it is nice to see he is so well adapted to life afloat.
At 2pm we calculated our daily run at just over 157nm. Another mile-munching 24 hours and another day closer to that sweeeeeet rum punch.