World ARC - Day 38 39- 15th 16th Feb – Through th e tankers, from green to blue

Steve and Lynda Cooke
Tue 16 Feb 2016 16:41
00:41N 87:20W

World ARC - Day 38 39- 15th 16th Feb – Through the tankers, from green to blue

The first day
The Morning brought a continuing blow of 30 knots, that continued for nearly all day, as we headed south out of the Gulf of Panama, and starting down the coast of Colombia. We kept as much south in the course as possible with the wind on a Starboard tack. The GRIB files showed the wind would bend around away from the coast, and we could make a great course following it as if swept around towards Galapagos.  A huge lumpy sea was running, with the ocean swell starting and increasing as we got further from the coast. Three reefs in mainsail and poled out gib made for safe but uncomfortable sailing, as Nina rolled and pitched, but she held her head, and we made our best ever days sailing (over ground with some current thrown in) of over 200 miles. At this speed in these conditions, it means meals are grabbed rather than cooked, but Lynda had pre-cooked lots of lovely stuff, so the cooker's gimbals were put to the test, and we had a stir fry, a stew, and bacon eggs and tomatoes cooked twice because the first lot went on the floor.

Just when you think its safe to go into the water....... Whenever a fin is seen in the water, one assumes a dolphin is coming. It normally is the case, but as the fin got closer to our port beam, we could see it sometimes turning back in little circles, then continuing towards Nina. Very un-dolphin like. As it got closer, we saw the tail fin starting to stick out of the water as well. It was a shark. It came past the stern, and then turned back again, as if checking if anyone was swimming off the back! So much for the mid-ocean swim. Steve needs the Viking helmet again we had for the Atlantic ARC, but not for his head.
We also saw spotted dolphins, and then a huge graceful bird soared around the boat, with a wingspan of some 6 foot, It was an Albatross. "Wow, we aint in Kansas any more, Toto!"

The wind fell as the day progressed. The murky green of the gulf of Panama gradually changed to blue, then really blue in that way that only open ocean is. Night fell with Nina leaving a wake of phosphorescence, large swirls of blue lights foaming down the sides of the boat, as she continued to whoosh through the water.

Radio Net
The next day saw Nina taking responsibility for the Radio Net. The twice daily radio net had come in for a little criticism after the first couple of legs. "boring" "not a lot of use" "we just talk about the size of fish and how much wind there is" To be fair, a daily position check is pretty good for everyone to report in, especially as English is not the first language for a majority of the fleet.
After the morning check-in from Steve, Lynda took the evening session. It was a great success, and now forms the basis for a daily discussion on a much wider list of subjects, including how much cooking had been thrown on the floor, and weather people were happy with the weather, sea conditions, and course taken......
One interesting fish discussion did come from Peter on Meermowe however, who caught two sail fish during the day, brought them in to the boat, and then let them go again as they were too big to take on board, never mind put into the freezer.

Preparing for Neptune
Nina will cross the equator later today, some 70 miles North East of the Galapagos Islands. Lynda and Steve have never crossed the equator on a boat, even though we have lived in the southern hemisphere. We have to prepare for our crossing on Nina. We have started to prepare a list heinous offences for which we may have to pay penance for (I don't pee in the sea EVERY time I go in!), and prepare our fancy dress. It will only be Lynda and Steve, but we are determined to see the crossing done properly, and costumes are being prepared and tridents made. A bottle of bubbly will be offered to Neptune and all his helpers as well. Good job he only likes a small sample drop! We will take care of the rest for him.