Blog Entry 6 - The ones that got away
04° 38.2 N 084° 25.0 W. The ones that got away
Heading into the blue - well it’s more like a green soup, this ocean is an incredible surface layer of fish and jellies which we can see below the hull as we skim along. No wonder this ocean is full o’ big fish. Not that we can catch them, tho' we did have the world’s biggest marlin/sailfish/whale/unseen-record-breaking-giant take our bait and head off at super high speed towards, roughly, Nicaragua. The monster successfully stretched out the whole 500 odd metres of line and then broke the reel. This happened when we were at the opposite end of the boat trying to rig the spinnaker. As we heard the reel spin we bellowed a joint cry of “FFFIIISSSHHHH” we scampered across the decks to the rear only to find that the fixed reel handle spinning in an un-controllable finger chopping fashion, like a runaway scythe. Eventually the danger stopped with a jerk as the line reached its bowline end. Now that the reel handle was properly disengaged from the winding mechanism we were obliged to haul in the line using an improvised reel (ok, before you think of an impressive Apollo 13 style improvisation it was a piece of 4” by 1” timber). Believe me, now we know why they invented reels. Of course, when we finally got to the hook the world’s-biggest-record-breaking-monster-fish was nowhere to be seen.
Yesterday, we flew the spinnaker. It’s hard to describe how joyful it is to have such a colourful sail out front and with it’s rainbow reflection in the water. We were joined by a couple of dolphins to complete this happy event. At night we can sometimes hear the dolphins but cannot always see them – they exhale as they arch with a small explosive breath of expelled air. It can make you jump if you don’t recognise the sound.
We’ve had little moon light at night and our eyes adjust to the brightness of the stars – it’s surprising what you can see in the dark. Our watches, are overseen by Orion - the warrior. The familiar points of his formation have accompanied us throughout our travels. Some of the other stars and planets are so bright you cannot look directly at them. The milky way – unimpeded by ambient light pollution is something to behold. To aid vision when checking the fine details of sails or rigging or to make hourly written log entries we use red head torches – this preserves the night vision that white light will otherwise impair.
We’ve settled into a comfortable routine of four hours on four hours off. This suits us both as off-watch we can get a decent rest and on-watches are not overly long. We throw in a couple of dog watches (half watches of 2 hours) mid-day to ensure we don’t always do the same hours every night. (If you’ve never done it, you probably need to draw a timeline to work out what I mean). Daylight hours we are both awake and surprisingly busy. Yesterday, we used our water maker to top up the water tanks. We also performed the daily rigging check and and of course entered into the endless round of fixing stuff. We are always tending to the yacht’s fine-tuning of her direction and sails. We monitor the horizon, radio and screens for other traffic but in the last 5 days we’ve only seen two distant ships. During mealtimes we listen to the occasional podcast and at that stage, when the sun goes down, we often look forward to dry land when we can have a beer.
So we’re well, and happy, and we’re now in a tidy routine. It’s a comfortable and romantic method of travel, and we feel very lucky. We look forward to getting into those southern hemisphere trade winds.