It started with the pilot whales reappearing
and following behind the boat for about half an hour. They were
mostly off the starboard quarter varying between 20m and 1/4 mile
away. Usually they appeared through the face of a wave, but we
only saw the top of the head, blow hole and fin. How many? We
had four appearing through a wave together and certainly there were eight.
They were often quite spread out, making us think there were 20 or
Photographs were tricky, Helgur may have got some,
but I failed to, in spite of waiting with the shutter half pressed for a
while. We needed Adam, chief whale photographer.
We had three reefs down and a small amount of jib
and were doing 5 to 6 knots on a broad reach. We tried both speeding
up by rolling the jib right out to give 7 knots to see if they would play in our
stern wave. At first they dropped back, as if they were happy at that
speed, but then they caught up again. We then tried rolling the jib away
completely which dropped us to 4 knots, they caught up and surfaced close a
couple of times, but pulled away again.
Finally they were a little way ahead when they
suddenly stopped and circled. It seemed they had found a school of fish
and disappeared in the waves there.
Half an hour later the diligent iceberg watch was
rewarded with the blowing of a couple of big whales. It may have been a
pair blowing about 6 times each and although the blows, proper water sprays were
under 1/4 mile away, we never saw the whales in the rolling waves. Fin or
blue whales? They felt that sort of size.
Just to round it off a couple of porpoises crossed
our bow. They were gone too quickly to call anyone else but they surfaced
4 or 5 times.
We have deliberately slowed down to stay out of the
iceberg area until four am tomorrow, when it gets light. At the current
speed, with 3 reefs and no jib (4 knots) we will arrive at 10pm
tonight and heave to for six hours. The final decision will be after
today's ice information. There should be
plenty of daylight time to get the eighty miles into harbour.