PINBALL WIZARD - DAY 17 - 10 Feb 2012

Nigel North
Fri 10 Feb 2012 20:57

Friday, 10 February 2012

DAY 17

Position at1900 our time : 16:17.90N 43:09.44W Course 280m, speed over the ground 6 knots, 978 miles to go.


Hello family and chums, yep you’ve got me again while the skipper concocts his latest dish whilst appearing to be drunk, riding a mono cycle ,,on a wire, in a gale. Pinball is rolling again. Same in the RN at sea, “hands to dinner”, “starboard 30”!

Last night was a wonderful spectacle, a huge moon bursting through light and dark clouds, sending rays of filtered light through onto the surface. Stars galore and just when you thought you had it all, a large squall engulfs your world and it all goes wild for a time. Having been forced to the south of our planned track by the wind and swell we made our first attempt to try and regain some ground last night. Nige made a good start but by the time my squalls were through with us we were back to square one.

As the moon set ahead of us so the sun rose behind us and it is difficult (for me) to explain how great a sight it is in this vast empty ocean.

Nige crawled out of his scratcher about 0830 and joined me in the cockpit and we watched the dawn show us the promise of a lovely day. Sunny, a warm 23c ish and pretty clear sky.

Nigel tries his new bread loaf with marmalade. “This is good” he says and I have to agree, it is. “Better than pasta for breakfast Alfie”, he says and I agree again remarking that I can never get the marmalade to stay in all the twizzly bits.

With the swell looking more favourable we again tried to regain our track slowly and this time it is working with little or no chance of being knocked senseless. We need to do it slowly in order to maximise distance travelled and minimise time lost whilst most importantly remaining safe. So far so good at the time of writing we have recovered approx 7 miles over the day, good work Pinball. We have also kept a plot of our progress on a chart (aircrewman see, don’t trust electro stuff all the time) and the two are complementing each other nicely. Also pilots like to see pictures so ‘he’ is happy as well.

Using a book called ‘Seabirds of the world’ I managed to identify a lone bird we saw yesterday several times and who was clearly interested in Pinball. Turns out it was something called a Red Billed Tropicbird, quite lovely and flew around us for several minutes without a wing beat in sight, amazing creature and quite handsome (or have we been at sea for too long). For those that care the latin name is Phaethon Aethereus (google it, other search engines are available).

An exciting afternoon followed the latin seabird lesson. A 1510 our time, the distance to go digits reached 1000, shortly followed by 999, Hoorah another milestone, literally. Nige made us celebrate by having tea with bread, goats cheese and pickles in the warm sunshine, sailing doesn’t get tougher than this (apologies to Gregg Wallace).

After some light dusting at 1555 as I was cleaning the galley deck ready for the next thing Nige dropped, spilled or let fall, I was summoned loudly onto deck. There, passing about 5-10 yards to port was a yellow, wait for it, Lifejacket! Quite empty and quite open (not been worn). The position and time was logged and we asked one of our readers to pass on the details to Falmouth Coastguard. I used to be a watch manager at Falmouth and I know they will be excited. Seriously they do great work locally and internationally and have a well deserved reputation (as long as they don’t ring us up at midnight).

Nige has now got his eye in with regards to flying fish spotting and is in raptures at their skills in flight.

Dinner will be served in a few minutes so we leave you with our thanks for your kind and welcome emails and blog comments.