Day17 - Things that go bump in the night

Tue 9 Dec 2008 12:39


I am not going to talk much about sailing today because there hasn’t been any for most of the last 24 hrs. We have been motoring with the wind direction (virtually no wind speed – around 5 kts) mainly on our nose. Who heard about the famed Trade Winds flowing the other way? Anyway we are assured some favourable Trade Winds when we reach 46 degrees W, say around midnight we hope (we always hope).


A different Diversion:


For the last week or so we have been seeing masses of Flying Fish. These are the most peculiar animals which look like fish (bit strange that isn’t it) but have tight folded little wings and they fly around in packs inches above the surface, occasionally dipping back in, before then disappearing from view under or over the water. They dart around with quick changes of direction and seem to utilise a hover type mechanism to fly with (OK, so I’m not an ornithologist, or fishologist, or whatever).


They are clearly too small and fast even for ‘Jock – The Photo’ to catch (remember his dolphin – but then in my view, and I would say this wouldn’t I, it was also the skilful cropping and editing that really brought them to life!). However much to our consternation one flew into the cockpit so I can bring you that. It was a nasty, smelly thing that didn’t look as if it was edible and, even if it was, we are not that desperate so I chucked it over!


Which of course is fine but, blow me down, I was re-visited.


One night, about 11 pm on my 9-12 watch, one of these loathsome contraptions flew up behind me on the helm and hit me with great force on my neck – quite a shock on a dark, peaceful night I can tell you (new moon had not risen yet). This monstrosity fortunately hit my life jacket round my neck rather than my exposed head and left its smelly scales on same so there was some nasty, stinky stuff to clear off. I searched around the cockpit to give it a piece of my mind but it must have fallen back into the sea. May the wretched creature rot…….


Other interesting sea life is the extent of phosphorescence from, presumably, plankton in the water. It is less pronounced further west, but there is a stream of phosphorus trailing behind the boat and where the Duogen is spinning in the water it is quite agitated and glows furiously!  Often alongside the boat, say 20 or 30 feet away, you suddenly see brief but bright flashes of light in the water. Clearly some irritation at our presence is being felt!




            The one that didn't hit me !                                                   Battle scars to the right - equivalent to the half-crown which stopped the bullet


Let's hope I can report better progress tomorrow................