Fw: Nature Watch

Summer 2022
John Andrews
Tue 5 Jul 2011 17:48
I am told that Sunday's blog didn't get posted so here it is - I have left the position out in case it makes it look as if we've done a zig zag.

Day 7


We have fallen firmly into the windless hole! We kept the cruising chute up for as long as we could, but at 5.00 yesterday afternoon, we had to give up and put the engine on. The yacht we had been competing with (oops – sailing in company with) gradually overhauled us and then beetled off over the horizon, obviously under engine, so we felt that we could honourably resort to the iron sail.


We have motoring ever since, and latest weather reports show that we are likely to be motoring for at least another 24 hours. Good winds are predicted after that, so a Tuesday arrival is still on the cards


We are now in range of Radio 4 Long Wave so (as Linda puts it) we can ‘listen to the bloody cricket from Lords’.  She also asked me to underline and put in bold those last words in order to reinforce her disapproval.


Motoring is not only noisy, but also pretty boring for those on watch, although there are now quite a few ships to keep an eye on! The flat seas, however, mean that it is much easier to spot wild life. We were treated to an extraordinary spectacle yesterday afternoon. At about a mile away, David spotted two huge dolphins jumping vertically from the sea. This was followed by other dolphins leaping bodily from the water and huge turbulence as dozens of others started surging through the water, tumbling over each other, apparently in a comlete panic. This commotion continued for some time, and the more we watched, the more we realised that we weren’t looking at dolphins, but at very big tuna. It was a large shoal that was obviously being chased by something extremely ferocious. We must have watched for about 15 minutes while the fish carried on in their panic, dozens of them suddenly leaping as one from the water. Goodness knows what carnage was taking place beneath the oily surface.


This morning on the dawn watch we were treated to a good dolphin visitation. They stayed for over 15 minutes, swimming around the boat, clearly visible in the calm water. Amongst them was a mother with a very small baby which swam glued to its mother’s side, following her every move.  About an hour later we saw some large fins, only about 100 metres away. As we were under motor, we were able to move closer to try and identify them. There were about four or five very large dolphins, just lazily coming to the surface, rolling their backs and sinking slowly before making their next roll. We think that they are Risso’s dolphins, but David has managed to get some excellent photographs, so hopefully we will be able to make a positive identification when we get back. We have also seen a different kind of shearwater this morning, much smaller and black and white rather than brown and white, possibly a Manx Shearwater.


In addition to sea life, we have also seen a semi-submerged bucket, a garden chair, assorted plastic and expanded polystyrene buoys and innumerable bits of random, floating, plastic debris – not a bad haul for a very narrow trail through the ocean.


Our diet is becoming increasingly tuna based. We are thinking of writing a book entitled ‘100 ways of cooking a tuna’. David is even e-mailing for recipes. We have not tired of it yet, but there is quite a lot left in the freezer!