Halfway between two continents and speeding along: 496nm in three days!

Wed 8 Jan 2014 13:57
17:19.5N 38.11.8W

After much anticipation, we passed the halfway point on our journey about a day and a half ago! There were no celebrations as such as the feeling is firstly mixed and secondly there are still about 1,300nm to go! Little of note has occurred on Carpe Diem since our last update, except that flying fish are now a regular daily occurrence. At first we thought where there are fish, there must be predators, but it eventually dawned on us that in their eyes we are probably the predators and we have yet to see much else in the way of wildlife. We have seen a couple of birds in the last few days (unfortunately all our ornithology literature only covers northern European species) and we have asked ourselves what on earth those creatures are doing this far away from land. Then again, they might well be asking themselves the same question about us!

Speaking of land, we are also equidistant now - Africa, the northern coast of South America and the Caribbean are all 1,200nm distant. It's a humbling thought. Even the Cape Verde Islands are 800 miles behind us. Several forecasts we received in recent days made us take note. Predictions for a punchy low pressure system which was building around the Canary Islands and due to head SW from there (i.e. broadly in our direction) failed to threaten us as the front died almost as quickly as it established itself. Nonetheless, the general forecast for an increase in wind from the steady force 4 of recent days to a force 6 have come to pass. This has brought with an impressive swell, although we seem to be experiencing a long gentle transatlantic swell almost from the north (with waves a hundred or so meters long and perhaps 4 meters high) and the more recently-created steeper swell from the same direction as our wind is coming from (perhaps 3 meters high, but quite steep and only 20 odd meters long). None of this though is giving the boat, or us, much to worry about.

One of the updates we received from friends gave us the position of one of the Atlantic rowing crews. Although this fix was a few days old, it seems that we are not very far from them, although distance is relative when surrounded by an ocean of 1,000,000 or so square miles! We are keeping a particularly beady eye out for them. When I relayed their position to the rest of the crew on Carpe Diem, we laughed at the thought that the first boat we may see (having not seen anything for over 8 days now) could be a rowing boat!

Finally, a new exercise craze has taken hold. Perch on the top of the cockpit facing outwards and place your feet flat on the side deck. Bring your hands together as you would for praying, close your eyes and balance yourself with your core. Strangely exhausting and difficult even after 10 days at sea!

So, with a water temperature of 26C, a steady breeze on our backs, 1/4 of our first salami still with us (bought from the excellent fine food distributors Samways in Hampshire - shameless plug in the hope for a small discount on my next order) and plenty of water and beer left, we continue to head westwards at incredibly speeds (currently 8.5 knots).

Until soon,


PS. If anyone would like to drop us a line, please do so via plambeck {CHANGE TO AT} mailasail {DOT} com, but please, please, please only send a text email remembering to remove any signature images or similar. I am told that geography lessons at Wherwell Primary School are tracking our progress and - if you read this - the crew is very impressed and sends you our best wishes!