APPROACHING THE CAPE VERDE ISLANDS
Monday, 30 January 2012
Well that clouding over on Saturday was the portent of a change that had us getting rid of one of the headsails and removing the pole from the other as the wind gradually veered to the east and increased in strength. Breaking out the mainsail again, that too had to be double reefed before the day was out. And by 0500 on Sunday the wind was a steady force 7 gusting 8 (35kts), so a third reef was put in which calmed everything down beautifully whilst we were averaging 5.5 knots with 6.5kts not uncommon, and PW was fair scooting along. This meant we made 133 miles on Saturday. Better! We needed a bit of a rest after a hard nights sailing, so there was a fair bit of dozing going on.
But by Sunday afternoon the sun had returned and Alfie was back to spotting birds - this one small and black. I thought ocean going birds were supposed to be big? The sea state was still a bit lively, and we did have a few really steep waves come up from behind but PW rode them beautifully, and we think that we must have been in shallower water at the time which can cause such waves as a few hours later conditions were benign - giving me the opportunity to renew my hobby of cleaning out the heads pump which….well, you don’t want to know. (lucky readers, I was forced to watch).
Last night was much easier. We had both headsails up and the mainsail as the wind was just off the stern and it worked, if a little unconventional. Taking over at 0200, I could see a vessel dead ahead at about 10 miles but it was quite hard to work out as the half moon had set by then. But his light gradually cleared to the west and ceased to be a problem. This was the first vessel we’d seen for some time: it’s a big old ocean. Otherwise an uneventful night.
But this morning, in blazing sunshine and shirt off up on the bow, I witnessed a most incredible sight. A pod of dolphins (Rosie likes dolphin stories) had been playing around PW as they do, then all disappeared, and I continued with changing the sail plan back to twin headsails as the wind had backed round to behind us again. Then from behind I heard the most amazing sound, like distant gunfire but going on and on and really loud. Looking round I could see a line of dolphins - estimated to be at least a hundred - in perfect line abreast stretching out to a distance of about 400m all simultaneously leaping out of the water, with this line of splashes charging away astern into the distance, and the sound I could hear was their repeated impacts on water. It was a truly awesome sight. I want to be a dolphin!
Today has been textbook. Steady trade winds from the NE blowing us gently SW towards Cape Verde - now only 350 miles distant - and a warm sun to enjoy. The sea temperature is a pleasant 21 degrees, the sky full of fluffy cumulus, so a good time to do some domestics. Alfie has been testing the washing machine - net dragged behind - and his underwear, socks and dish cloths, now adorns the cockpit. I’ve been back on my favourite hobby of course.. But we are most pleased with PW’s progress, and having found out where it is on the chartplotter, can now tell you that we covered 140 miles yesterday, and still with over 3 hours to go have covered 103 so far today - not bad for just a gentle wind. I’ve just been summoned on deck by the crew who assures me he has just seen a MOTH trying to land on the pushpit rail. Drinking is discouraged here…
Could someone just let us know by email if this blog is working ok, and whether our positions are being marked? Gracias..