Whales, mermaids and other curiosities

Summer 2022
John Andrews
Tue 31 May 2011 16:46

41:03.3N 039:53.7W


Day 17


What a frustrating day. We should never have got those guide books of the Azores out, it was just tempting fate. Mind you, we needed to update ourselves a bit. Chris and Fernande had been asking me questions about the Azores, and I had been answering with a certain confidence, but I then had to add the caveat that that was the situation in 1838.


We had a great morning with the cruising chute up, and made good progress, about 5 to  6 knots an hour. But then the wind died again and we were back down to force 1 and  2. It was only at about 0200 in the morning that the wind started picking up from the South West, as predicted, and since then we have been cracking along at 7 to 8 knots. We are now heading straight for Horta, and are likely to arrive either Thursday afternoon, or if the wind swings to the East, Friday morning.


A lot of “whales” were seen during the calm period. We’ve had to introduce a local rule that at least 2 people need to have seen these “dark shadows” before they can be counted towards the boat’s tally. I tried to insist that a dorsal fin should also be seen, but apparently sperm whales only have tiny dorsal fins, so that wasn’t deemed fair. People’s personal tallies are, of course, their own business. Talk then turned to mermaids, and 'things looking at us'. We need to get in soon!


There is a lot more shipping now, with about 8 ships being seen during the night. We are also in the loose company of another yacht. We think it is the yacht that has lost the use of its satellite phone, and he seems to be following roughly the same routing strategy as us. We could just see his light blinking on the horizon ahead of us over night, but he has continued South while we have now turned in a more easterly direction towards Horta.


The other yachts we are in touch with continue to motor towards Flores, the first of the islands you come to. They have been motoring for over 3 days now.and are due to arrive in Flores today.