Aliens Spotted in the South Atlantic

Mina2 in the Caribbean - Where's The Ice Gone?
Tim Barker
Mon 26 Mar 2012 03:26

Aliens Spotted in the South Atlantic

Position 46:13S 061:04W

Date Time: 26 March 2359 local


We’ve continued to make good, if uncomfortable, progress, our noon to noon run being 160 miles. We still have strong 35 to 40 knot winds from astern. We had been running directly before the wind, goose-winged, but as the seas began to build the rolling of the boat from one side to the other was doing our heads in. Everything was crashing around, including ourselves. So since early this morning we have been sailing marginally more comfortably with the wind 25 degrees off our port quarter, even if we’re not going in precisely the right direction.


Just looking back on some of the highlights of the passage (which I didn’t have the time or stamina to go into in last night’s blog), our first incident occurred within seconds of casting our lines off in Ushuaia.


Lawrence’s camera had been playing up, i.e. refusing to work. Not allowing him to take a photo of the yacht club as we left, with a cry of “Bloody digital camera” he flung it high in the air and into the water. The rest of us stood there, mouths agape. The thought flashing through my mind was that if he dealt with every bit of slightly malfunctioning equipment on the boat in the same way, then Mina2 would be completely empty by the time we got to Buenos Aires. The thought flashing through Andrew’s practical Swiss mind was that the foolish man hadn’t taken out the SD card before he lobbed it into the drink.


Talking of boat malfunctions, we have enjoyed a couple of little excitements. This morning a part of the reefing system for the mainsail broke, and jammed in a block. It took the combined efforts of three of us teetering around on the coachroof, with Andrew sitting astride the boom like a bucking bronco to free it. We have been able to cobble together a repair that will more than suffice for the rest of the passage.


Then when we were taking down the spinnaker pole today, it came adrift from the mast, missed Lawrence’s head by a whisker, bounced on the deck and vaulted overboard. Luckily it was still attached to the boat by a flimsy bit of rope (the uphaul), so instead of floating away and sinking, it was smashing itself against the hull (we were speeding along at 8 knots at the time). It was recovered quickly by Andrew and me, but both these incidents made us wonder at the bravery, skill and strength of those who sail the oceans single-handed and have to deal with these sorts of situations all on their own.


And talking of single-handed sailors, on our first night out we passed a large trawler who called us up on the radio to find out who we were. They had been asked to look out for a Swedish yacht called Seastar with a single-handed sailor who was overdue at his destination. I hope and pray he is safe.


On a happier note, on our second day out, we celebrated Tom’s 65th birthday. He opened his card and present from Robyn, his partner, which was a set of CD’s of 60’s hits which everyone has been singing along to ever since. Andrew cooked brownies in lieu of a birthday cake which, due to the vagaries of our hopeless oven, came out wedge shaped – soft and squidgy one end, and like a biscuit at the other end, catering for every taste. It may have looked like a cowpat but it tasted very much better. Tom’s happy returns were toasted and we enjoyed the usual endless renditions of Happy Birthday.


The following day, Friday, we were given a terrific flying display by virtually every species of seabird we might expect to see in this area. There were hundreds of them, from the magnificent Wandering Albatross to the tiny Wilson’s Storm Petrel, all wheeling around the boat for hours. Fabulous.


Last night, about 140 miles north of the Falkland Islands we saw what we thought might have been the lights of a few fishing boats over the horizon. But as time passed, they didn’t appear, but the domes of light grew brighter and brighter. From the hours that it took to pass them way over on our starboard side, it was clear that they were a) absolutely massive and b) probably about 20 miles away. We assume that they were alien space ships, but they may just have been oil exploration platforms.


And today we were treated to a display of acrobatics by a group of Peale’s Dolphins. Andrew has got some terrific photos of a couple completely clear of the water, which you’ll see when we get into Buenos Aires.