Back in the trade winds

Tue 11 Mar 2014 20:23
01:05.755N 084:07.47W

Yay! We've finally got through the doldrums and hit the trade winds! Around the change from second to third watch, that's 1 a.m. last night, the winds shifted from the North right around to the South, with a bit of faffing about on the way. This means we're in the nice well behaved trade winds that are much more consistent and stronger. We're not having to gybe all the time to stay on track, we're going along at a respectable 5 knots in about 8 or 9 knots of wind and it's not suddenly dying or gusting up. Much more comfortable.

We're on port tack (the wind's coming from the port side) so we're heeled over a little to starboard. Imagine if someone came and tilted your house and it kept varying between 5 and 10 degree. Things would slide down the table when you put them down, it's uphill to cross the room, every step feels like one leg's longer than the other, door frames are at an angle so you bang knees and elbows, instinctively expecting door frames to be upright. But it's a good feeling, feels right in a sail boat. You can feel her progress even when you're below deck. You can sit on the foredeck with your legs dangling over the side and the splashes from the bow wave cooling your feet and feel her parting each wave as it runs towards you. And port tack's much better than starboard, which we were on for most of the Atlantic crossing, as the fridge, larder and our bunk are all on the starboard side. On Starboard tack every time you open the fridge the stuff all tries to leap out at you and you can feel the cold dropping onto your feet. In bed when off watch you have to use a lee cloth to stop yourself falling out of bed.

The sea's better too now. More the kind of sea we're used to. No more mill ponds with strange noisy patches and long long wave lengths to the swell - Phil counted 13 seconds between peaks. There's quick little wind swells running towards us with the longer cross swell keeping things interesting as the wavelengths interfere with each other. The water itself is crystal sapphire, cool and enticing in this equatorial sunshine. It's a wonderful indigo blue colour yet totally transparent both at the same time.

We had some different dolphin visitors - striped dolphins. They have a beautiful light stripe running from each eye to behind their dorsal fin. They behaved differently to the other dolphins that have visited us. They stayed for sometime, going 10 to 15 feet ahead of us instead of riding the bow wave. Also I couldn't hear them 'talking', no clicks or whistles. I liked them. They had a feeling of self containment about them. We also spotted a whale blowing, but he didn't surface nearby so we don't know which kind he was.


Day 6: granola, mango, orange and passion fruit with boat made yoghurt; Cheese and ham croissant; tuna (the last of our yellow fin caught on passage from San Blas) pasta with sun cooked beetroot and peas.

Day 7: Sun stewed guava with honey and yoghurt; ham and tomato omelette; chunky fish stew - the fish Phil caught in Las Perlas along with tomato and sun cooked courgette, christophene and potatoes, followed by banana custard.

(this is all starting to sound like a poncey restaurant menu but the food deserves 5 stars - ed.)

Tomorrow or the next day we will cross the equator - the champagne (well, fizzy wine) is chilling in the fridge already and we're not forgetting a suitable libation for King Neptune!

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