02:29.564'N 85:11.200'W Becalmed

Hamble Warrior
Jamie Hickman
Tue 28 Mar 2023 23:51

Day 7
28th March 

It has been a day of mixed fortunes but mostly pretty frustrating.

After posting yesterday's blog saying we hadn't seen any more dolphins we were treated to a full display at sunset last night. Several large dolphins to port, starboard and off our stern. They were in a very excitable mood and we were treated to the full acrobatic show for several minutes as they hurled themselves out of the water in some state of mackerel-induced excitement before swimming off again.

Shortly after this the birds that we had noted circling around us and eyeing us up decided they wanted to try and perch on the top of our masthead. Unfortunately this is where our small wind gauge sits and in the absence of our electronic wind instruments working we do really need it to stay put so having several pounds of seabird sat on it isn't ideal. I grabbed the little whistles that we keep for drawing attention in emergencies and I started blasting away like an angry PE teacher until they took the hint and flew off.

We had a fairly calm night again although there was a bit of lightening in the distance which meant we took the precaution of shoving all our electronics in the oven just to be on the safe side. For any non-sailors that might think this is some kind of weird seafarers superstition, the oven acts as a metal "Farraday cage" supposedly protecting electronics from damage should the boat get struck by lightening. In all honesty I don't think the lightening was the sort we would need to worry about; it was a long way off and appeared to be moving cloud-to-cloud rather than looking for a lovely long mast to fire down but it doesn't do any harm to be careful.

We left the Spinnaker flying all night on this occasion as we seemed to be making good miles with it and kept a much more vigilant watch on it through the night. This morning we were very positive that we would exceed our last couple of daily runs... but alas that wasn't to be.

We had a few disappointments on-board first thing; the loss of two more of our eggs and one of our pineapples already going bad... No beating around the bush now, the stores we bought in the market in Panama are bloody crap. We checked and turned all the fresh stores and cleaned carefully where the pineapple had shed it's juice and then repacked all the crates.

The next loss was just as miserable. Jamie was trolling a line from his fishing rod; rather than using his big trolling reel bolted to the back of the boat (because that needed greasing and servicing). Anyway he got something sizeable on the end of it which I saw in the distance leap out of the water; either a very large Tuna or a Wahoo. Anyway as he battled to reel it in it took the brand new lure Jamie was using and broke free. 2 eggs a pineapple and a new fishing lure... doing well today aren't we?!

Midday we thought things might be looking up as we had some decent rain. We dropped the Spinnaker and filled a few of our cans using the new rain collector Jamie made which is a simple canvas cover which we can pull out over the cockpit to provide shade during the day. It has a small valve in the centre of it and when it rains we simply attach a hose to the valve and as the rain gathers and pools on the canvas cover it runs down the hosepipe into whatever we want to collect it in. We managed to collect 4 litres of good useable water from a brief rain shower. We also had a good wash ourselves and of course Hamble Warrior looked much cleaner for a good dousing too!

We hoped that once the rain cleared we would get some slightly stronger winds and even started talking about how we would probably smash the last 2 days runs... sadly not. The wind never really returned after the rain and we spent a frustrating afternoon becalmed for most of the time or desperately trying to set sail in practically zero wind. In the end our 5pm to 5pm daily run came out at just 
66.4nm and would have been considerably less had we not kept our spinnaker up overnight.

With so many miles ahead of us we are determined to be patient and don't really see that turning the engine on is an option; it does feel like the doldrums have come to meet us. However we will need to be patient and wait it out.

We have spent much of the afternoon bobbing with just the main sail up; drifting on flat calm waters with no wind.

Around 3pm Jamie went and joined Meep below for an afternoon nap and I was joined above decks by a seabird that I identified from my (new to me - thank you for delivering it Lindy!) book as a Red-footed Booby. This friendly bird had a blue face, red feet and a lot to say for themselves. She settled herself on the pulpit at the bow of the boat and sat belching and chatting away. I cautiously approached to see if I could get a photo and she didn't seem at all bothered by my presence. A little while later she was joined by her mate and before I knew it there were 5, then 6 and eventually 7 Red-footed Boobies all lined up on the pulpit. Because we had furled the headsail they spread themselves along the rail and it seemed every time one made a little space another would appear. Needless to say they were all as fearless as the first and I took several photos of them and could pretty much have stroked them they were so bold.

Unfortunately, even when we unfurled the headsail and tried to get sailing again they remained sitting in the same spot and I was so concerned they would get their wings trapped when we tacked I went ahead to sho them away but they just looked at me like I was a mad woman.

Soon Meep who had by now appeared in the cockpit was alerted to the commotion on the bow and of course then he was straining at his little leash to go and investigate. I shooed them away flapping a towel and giving short blasts on my PE teacher whistle but they would return once I turned my back. As I sit writing this we have 2 that appear to have taken up residence! (Addendum- These birds have now become a pain in the arse… Meep can no longer be left to relax in the cockpit on his long tether because obviously he wants to go and see what the hell is going on…)

I hope that I might be able to attach a photo to this upload but if not I will share them when we get to Polynesia.... if I remember bearing in mind that might be a while at this rate!!

So I am signing off today's blog as we are currently becalmed and floating in windless seas; we have dropped our sails as there is no point in leaving them flapping about and chaffing and wearing if we aren't going anywhere. We will have to be patient. Make ourselves a nice dinner and use this as an excuse to get a lot of sleep tonight... I think it will be like this for a couple of days now but hopefully if the forecast is to be believed by Thursday we should be moving again.

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