It is now 18 days since we left Las Palmas and if
this breeze continues we are only 5 days from Antigua. It is 36 days since we
sailed out of La Rocelle in France and, if you take off the week we had Spain,
Portugal and the Canary Islands, I think we are making pretty good progress.
The estimate I used in Albany to calculate the
length of time for the voyage was based upon maintaining 6 knots. To date
we have maintained an average speed of 5.6 knots and if we did not lose the use
of our mainsail a week ago this may well have been closer to my 6 knot guess.
Originally I had planned to be in the Caribbean
around the 16th May. If not for the weather off Spain and the breakage off
Portugal we may have only been a couple of days behind this schedule. The boat
will require some repairs in the Caribbean so this may further affect our
We have become preoccupied with watching the
weather. Changes in the weather bring changes in wind direction and strength. We
find we are constantly looking back to the horizon to see if nature has anything
interesting to throw at us today. It is close to lunchtime now and we are still
seeing rain squalls all around us and if the need arises we change
course slightly to allow them to pass by.
Our pathetic attempts at fishing brought us an
unexpected catch last night. Towards dusk a large seabird flew around our port
side in a wide arc and flew straight into the fishing line we have trailing the
boat, He wrapped his left wing in the line and plunged into the ocean. I was on
deck at the time, thankfully, so lept for the fishing rod. By this time the poor
bird was being dragged along with us at around 6 knots and taking on water. I
had no choice but to reel him in from around 15 metres back. After a minute or
so he was one the rear of the port hull with me and he was not happy.
Daniel ran to get a towel which we placed over over his head to calm him down. I
then grabbed his head, body and right wing whilst Daniel untied the
left wing. After about three loops it was off and we were able
to remove the towel. Amazingly the bird just sat there and looked at us. He
looked as though he was surprised to be free and waiting for our permission
to leave. After a few seconds he tested out the wing and was off. A few misfires
later and he was again soaring over the ocean. The outcome could have been far
worse and we were all happy to see him go.
The bird appeared to me to be a Northern
Spotted Altlantic Boobie, fairly common in these parts [trust me, as if I would
make this up]. He [or she] was a light brown colour and looked and acted like a
seagull on steroids. The beak looked like it was
sharp enough and large enough to trim a hedge. There was no way I was getting my
fingers near it.
Hi to all at Professionals. [Athur Johnston
Snowball, Albany's leading Real Estate agency. I will be back soon Ron &
We made another 132NM in the 24 hours to 8AM and
are still sailing well with just the geneker. We are closing in on 600NM to