ARC 2015 - Day 15 -Dec 5th - Flocks of Flying Fish
Steve and Lynda Cooke
Sat 5 Dec 2015 19:11
Day 15 | Dec 5th
Flocks of flying fish
It was a rough night. Nina resembled nothing less than a cement mixer for those off watch. Rolling from side to side with changing pace and amplitude with occasional pitching back and forth. Normal activities like moving around became challenging and washing in the confined space of the heads frustratingly difficult. A tired crew should sleep well but this night sleep was hard to come by as we are thrown round the bunks.
On deck finding a comfortable place to sit is not normally a problem with several options to choose from for the watch. It's a different matter this night. Nina moves suddenly and violently around so first thoughts are for a secure hand hold or two and the need to hang on tight. After two hours this feels like torture and another two hours seems like a very long time indeed.
All this is the result of an unfortunate combination of seas and winds and is just another one of those aspects of the crossing which we have to deal with. The best tactic is to reef well and let Nina take care of us at her own pace which she does extremely well. She does not like to be rushed so careful setting of the sails is needed to achieve the right pace. At one handover the new watch is greeted with pelting rain from nowhere so all rush for 'oilies' (not in fact oilskins but the old names stick for modern wet weather gear) but ten minutes later the rain stops and the rest of the watch is dry. This is the first of the famous squalls we will have with increasing frequency in the later part of the crossing.
Early in the night we receive a VHF call from another yacht, Margansie some six miles off our starboard. She is a Rustler 42 which was at the Southampton Boat show in 2014. Steve and Peter were at the show and remember being asked to remove shoes before taking a tour. She is a splendid vessel being constructed with great skill in Falmouth, Cornwall. She is bound for Antigua with husband and wife owners for a season in the Caribbean. They are planning to continue to the pacific later on so Steve plans to keep an eye out for them during the World ARC. We sail together for a while as our paths cross, it's a welcome distraction on a difficult night. Frank, Mike and Chris wish them well as our tracks finally diverge. Both watches note that Margansie's crew have enjoyed a 2 ft Maui Maui on the trip which is contracted with our limited success on Nina ( you should have seen the one that got away)
With the daylight hours the seas settle and life becomes more normal quite quickly. Amazing what a bit of sunshine and some rest will achieve. In fact it becomes quite a pleasant day altogether enhanced when a beer is authorised in the afternoon. We decide it's time for a crew shot so Frank uses gaffer tape to strap his phone to the spray hood. Then we all gather round and watch the count down from 10 whilst Frank scrambles to take up his pre-assigned space.
During the day we notice that half a dozen flying fish have launched themselves onto the deck and stuck. At sea there are frequent flocks of flying fish demonstrating their mastery of the air. With stronger 25-30 k winds they can glide for considerable distances taking advantage of the ground effect. We are not sure why a fish wants to fly but its interesting to watch.
Over the next 24 hours we will exceed 2,000 miles since leaving port and break through the 1,000 miles to go to St Lucia. Both important milestones in our daily lives. Mark and Steve step up their efforts on the fishing front with two new lures Manuel and Pepe designed and built during the morning. Both are put to immediate use with the expectation of FITB (Fish In The Bucket) well before the 1,000 miles are up.