So there we were, listening to the dull drone of Test Match Special (Linda writing here). ‘Drone, drone, drone ‘he’s pushed it away to silly mid off who’s thrown it back for no runs’ yawn, yawn, yawn’ when David said ‘I know, lets send them an e-mail and let them know we are listening in.’ And so we did.
Blow me, half an hour later, as we were sitting in the cockpit for a pre-lunch beer to celebrate crossing the 1000 mile mark, we heard Jonathan Agnew say, ‘There’s this chap called John Andrews who says he’s listening to Test Match Special on a yacht in the Atlantic, coming into Falmouth from the Azores. He’s becalmed in no wind and is being entertained by dolphins.’ We were ridiculously ecstatic, particularly when this led on to quite a long thread about the Azores, where they were, who went there and so on; they almost forgot about commenting on the cricket themselves. Apparently people spend a lifetime trying to get a mention on TMS. Then Tuffers said ‘Well, I hope they’ve got a drink in their hands.’ ‘Yes!’ we shouted as one, punching the air with our cans of Carib beer. We felt a general sense of well being all afternoon and I completely forgave the fact that we were being subjected to 8 hours of TMS.
We were indeed becalmed. Our engine had gone on at 5 o’clock the previous evening. We were still motoring and continued to do so until the cruising chute went up at 8 o’clock this morning, a total of 39 hours. We were seeing lots of dolphins, and as evening drew in, and perhaps more pertinently, as we moved closer to the continental shelf, we were presented with an almost surreal scene. As far as we could see in every direction, there were literally hundreds of dolphins disporting themselves, flinging themselves bodily from the water, surging through the water and moving purposefully, (or porpoise-fully,as David insists) sometimes towards us, sometimes on some other mission. At one point, we must have had some 50 dolphins swimming around the boat, enjoying riding on the bow wave and diving under the boat. They were clearly feeding, because we could see groups of them corral much smaller fish which jumped out of the water, glittering silver in the sun, This display went on for over two hours, and really it was only at night fall that we were unable to see them any more. That night, as we passed a finger of the continental shelf, we found about 10 fishing boats positioned just on the edge of the shelf, so the dolphins had some competition for the fish.
We have now found the wind again, and although we cannot fly the cruising chute anymore, we are flying along at 7 knots with wind from the South West predicted to bring us right into Falmouth. We have revised our time of arrival to Tuesday morning.