Fishy Friday! 17:30:24N 30:11:30W
Well shortly after I finished yesterday's blog and just before Jamie went below-decks to post it and download our emails he set his trolling reel. An hour or so later we had a fish! We think it was a small "mahi mahi" - luckily not a big one and we managed to land it easily and Jamie had it gutted and filleted ready for dinner within half an hour. It was a perfect size to share between the three of us with Jamie and I enjoying a fillet each; pan-fried with boiled potatoes, carrots and peas an Meep enjoyed the tail fresh and "sashimi" style!
We were delighted to have caught something on our first attempt with the "new" trolling reel and even more so having found it discarded and restored it to its full working order.
We have taken a few pictures these last days but we daren't try to upload them just yet while we are trying to manage our data so we might end up posting them once we arrive but there is one of the fish and Meep enjoying his share of it amongst them I promise!
Well that really lifted our spirits and despite the excitement of the fish meaning we didn't get around to making the "mocktails" we talked about we did have a couple of zero alcohol beers and listen to some music so it felt like a Friday night party!
Conditions continued to ease through the night and despite still being quite bumpy we enjoyed wind speeds of F4 occasionally F5 and made way under the twin headsail arrangement we had set earlier in the day with a single reef in the headsail and our little staysail set.
The cloud that had been around all day continued into the night sitting heavily above the horizon but scattered overhead so that we could still see a decent spread of stars and the small sliver of moon shone brightly through illuminating our way for the first time properly on this passage. It was most definately a warmer night and we are certainly feeling the difference at last of heading into the tropics. We still wrapped up but we didn't need so many layers as previous nights. It did, however, spit with rain a little on and off through the evening but nothing worth trying to utilise in any way!
As we sat down for dinner I watched some lightening way off to the east/north-east of us which flashed several times over the next hour or two but thankfully never reached us. We also had out first visitor who arrived shortly after dinner and in the dark was impossible to identify but it must have been a bird. It's shape and the way that it moved was ever so "bat-like" by I can't believe it could have been a bat out here 800-odd miles from land so it must have been a bird. It swooped towards the cockpit a few times and then disappeared into the rigging but I couldn't spot it after that so it obviously decided not to stay and hitch a ride!
We had a relatively comfortable night still bumping along but with the winds having eased it wasn't quite so hair-raising as the last few nights.
Today has been much calmer and the winds are now blowing F3-F4 but what is really wonderful is that the sea state has flattened off considerably and we are no longer crashing around so much! It's been so nice to be able to move around on-board without being thrown about constantly. Of course there is still motion but it is way more comfortable than the last few days. I have been able to clean and tidy up properly for the first time in days and have relinquished the galley back from Jamie who has been doing much of the heavy-lifting on that front while things have been so unsteady. I cannot describe in words the pure joy at just making a cup of tea or cooking a simple meal without feeling like you are doing it inside a washing machine on spin cycle!!! I have been in my element sweeping the floors; cleaning the galley, emptying bins and clearing them into the anchor locker and cooking meals again. Jamie has been tending the sails and by midday we were flying our spinnaker and making up for some lost miles after having slowed down somewhat in the lighter airs.
At 2pm we calculated our daily run at just shy of 123nm so our slowest day yet but the most comfortable for sure! I think we will improve on that if we continue to use our lightweight sails during the day and if conditions stay as forecated for the next few days.
It has been hot and sunny today too which has been nice and more importantly has got some charge into our solar panels which is handy after a couple of cloudy days. We are making the most of it and charging up all essentials... laptop, torches and of course the Gameboy which has become a valued commodity during night watches when Jamie has become (re)addicted to Super Mario and I am still obsessed with Freecell.
We spotted a fishing boat in the distance today; the first boat we have seen since a container ship about 4 days ago.. other than that and a few flying fish; a couple of seabirds and whoever our friend was last night we have seen nothing other than sea to report for some time!
So this is now the end of our first full week in the Atlantic. I have to say it has gone surprisingly quickly. We have; for the most part, loved it. We have found the motion these last few days tough but it was what we expected so it didn't come as a shock. I continue to take Stugeron every 8 hours to ensure I don't get sea sick and I have to say it is amazing stuff.
We have been very lucky that our satelite communication systems are working well and we are able to receive regular emails from our families which we absolutely love reading. My sister has been especially attentive sending a daily round up of news including a segment called "stuff from Facebook" and "targeted ads I have been served online" Jamie and I are currently gripped in anticipation to hear whether she caves in to the targeted advertising and signs up to Shepreth Wildlife Park's "Guinea Pig Monthly" magazine or not!!! It's funny that we both relish being cut off from the world during this time but we do love to hear snippets of what is going on back home and of course news of how everyone is. I am seriously thinking of coming off all social media and leaving Claire as "head of communications" on a long-term basis. She is doing an excellent job!
We have been very lucky that alongside the emails and weather updates we have also been able to receive texts via the Garmin phone that our friend kindly gave us before we left. This has meant we have been able to receive short messages from home between longer updates on email. It has also meant we have been able to receive weather updates from friends watching the conditions over this part of the Atlantic without needing to download the full weather maps every single day which is amazing.
So everything is working out very well at the moment. We are, perhaps, approximately a third of the way through our trip if things continue like this; maybe a little less than that depending on what the weather does next. But we are very happy and if we have a couple more days like today we have a comfortable weekend ahead. We feel very privileged to be doing this and I feel extremely lucky to be sailing with my amazing little crew. Meep is coping so well with everything and seems to be as happy and settled as we are since conditions have eased. Jamie has been doing a fantastic job of keeping us all safe, sane and moving in the right direction and I couldn't be more grateful to my darling captain for that... and Hamble Warrior continues to be utterly fabulous in every way. She is performing in every sense how we expected her to and doing a fine job of keeping us all safe. Our little ship of dreams.