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Date: 26 Oct 2009 13:01:54
Title: Happy Birthday Selina!!!

 Noon Position: 23:49.32N 016:03.75W

Date & Time: 26 October 2009 125 UTC

Distance Run in last 24 hrs: 134 nautical miles

 

Happy Birthday Selina!!  Today is my daughter’s 30th birthday. Whilst I am enjoying every second of this amazing adventure, it is days like this in particular that I so wish that I was able to share all these experiences with my family. One becomes absorbed in the camaraderie of the crew, the rally community and the exciting adventure on which we are embarking, but there is always that small hollow feeling that something is missing. I can’t wait to reach land and mobile connectivity this afternoon and to wish Seli a happy birthday. Nor can I wait for Peter to come out to the Cape Verde islands in a few weeks to join me for the Atlantic crossing.

 

Meanwhile, back on Mina2 I picked up a couple of emails from the organisers with the positions of all the boats. At 8pm the night before last we were lying 3rd, having sailed through the fleet. By 7am yesterday morning, we were last (34th) the fleet having motored past us in the calm of the night. So back to the drawing board. We have had generally light winds from behind us, swinging round to the side of us. With boat speed ranging from about 5 knots up 8 knots. We have been able to pick off quite a number of boats over the last 24 hours, but most we can’t see so we don’t know where we stand in the fleet for the second of two races on this passage. You may know better than me! One of the boats we passé at close quarters last night were our friends David and Suzanne on “Suzie Too”, a Moody 49. Chatting to them on the VHF radio, David said that it was hardly surprising that we were going faster than them as I had three burly men and it was just the two of them. “Burly men!” I said, “All I’ve got as crew are a couple of broken-down old pensioners”. I had forgotten that both Lawrence and Tom were sitting in the cockpit listening to every word on the remote radio handset. Talk about a frosty reception when I climbed back up on deck!

 

This morning, as we approached the coast of Morocco, a fishing boat with three rather surly looking men on board approached us under motor. I have to confess to feeling a little nervous, not knowing what to expect, and hid the cameras and computer. First they offered us a large squid which we declined, and then asked for whisky and cigarettes. We said we had no whisky or cigarettes (Tom has drunk and smoked them all!) and after tossing them a couple of cans of Coca-Cola, they seemed satisfied and shot off – doubtless to try their luck on the following boats. Since then three other small fishing boats have approached us. None of them make me feel any the less nervous, but they have, so far, all gone on their way after a brief chat.

 

One of the reasons we didn’t want their squid was that we have, astonishingly, given my past appalling record, caught some fish. Talking to various allegedly successful rally compatriots, the first thing to do (read this well, Linda and John) is to chuck out the very expensive rod and tackle you have just bought. All you need is a stout line (150lb to 250 lb breaking strain), attach a length of bungee as a shock absorber to the deck end, a lure to the other end and after securing the deck end to the midships cleat, chuck the line and lure over the side. Here is the clever bit. You lift the line up to the guard rail and clip it there with a clothes peg. When you get a strike, you hear the snap of the line being pulled out of the clothes peg, and then you simply haul the catch in midships.

 

Having trolled and lost lures from my rod and tackle for months without any success at all, within minutes of dropping the simplified rig into the water we heard a snap, and pulled in a largish fish of unknown species (I’m sure someone will know when we get in).  It looked like the cross between a small tuna and a very large mackerel, so for the moment we are calling it a Macktuna. As I type, I can smell it sizzling in the pan. But that wasn’t all, we chucked the lure out a second time and in minutes we were hauling in our second fish. By the time the third fish came on board, we thought we had had enough both for lunch and the freezer, so called it a day.

 

We are due to arrive in Dakhla in a couple of hours and we have been told that Wi-Fi internet access should be available in the anchorage. If it is, I will try and send you a photo of the catch later. Meanwhile, a delicious lunch of freshly caught and fried fish awaits. Bon appetit!


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