Onwards and onwards, dear reader. There are about
480 miles left on the clock, so we're approaching the halfway stage of this
passage. We've completely fluffed it as far as obtaining a boost from the Gulf
Stream is concerned. The confirmation of this (other than the nagging contrary
current) is the fact that a stream of large container vessels heading south have
passed close by us. We're like a cyclist pottering down the hard shoulder of the
motorway on the wrong side. It's not as bad as that sounds - they're not coming
dangerously close, and from afar, we look like a tanker as well with our beefed
up radar reflector.
Anyway, the wind fell around midnight, as forecast.
Graham was on watch and spent an hour struggling to keep the sails filled. This
was a good time for the skipper who was able to sleep all the better in the
fo'c'sle without the steep heeling of the boat. And oddly, when we inevitably
donked up at 1am, the regularity of the engine's hum did nothing to keep us
awake, but acted almost as a soporific. I awoke only once, with my heart
pounding, when we slammed into a rogue wave which sent shock waves through my
berth. First Mate Biffle is slowly taking to her new berth on the 'uphill' side
of the main cabin, held in by a lee cloth. Despite complaints of sore backs and
the like, she is usually to be seen snuggled up with legs sticking out in all
directions, fast asleep.
Still no fish. One of the hazards of fishing here
seems to be the omnipresence of drifting sargasso weed, which tangles with the
hooks every few minutes and puts the fish off biting. We finish our supplies of
fresh meat tonight with a spagbol, so hopes are high for some beast of the sea
to keep us going... otherwise it's frankfurters and tinned beef curry for
It's blazingly hot in the direct sun, though much
cooler at night as we leave the tropics far behind. We'll be motoring through
the middle of a high pressure system for the next two days, before the wind
rediscovers us just south of Cape Hatteras. In the meantime, there's a feeling
of nostalgia for the Caribbean, where we've spent the last four months. It's a
feeling of having lost something we never realised we had - the carefree and
easy life in the islands where almost anything can be arranged and the lush
scenery was a daily surprise.
We've taken to serving cocktails at about 6pm. Dom
will be disappointed to hear that pina coladas are not on the menu, but a
simpler Summer Song version of the same drink has been developed. It's a mixture
of rum, pineapple juice and a smattering of coconut paste. Notionally developed
as long ago as Grenada (December) as a blenderless pina colada, this drink is
called a Gumbay Smash in Nassau, so that is the name we've adopted.