On the Ocean

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Tue 3 Jun 2008 16:53
Date: June 3, 2008 Time: 12.30 pm
Position: 38 53.9 N 074 32.1 W
Course: East North East Speed: 4 knots
Wind: East South East, light
Weather: Clear skies, sunny and warm

It was a long tiring night last night. I had made steady progress during
the day but in the early evening there was very little wind, the tide had
turned so for a while we were actually going backwards. I thought about
anchoring to get some rest and made my way towards a shallow bank but here
found nothing but crab pots one of which fouled my wind vane rudder causing
Sylph to suddenly veer off course, fortunately we were going slowly in the
light airs so no damage done and the crab pot buoy quickly cleared itself.
No swimming yet.
By about 10 pm a nice land breeze had kicked in and we started to pick up
speed, making for a great sail in the cool clear night with the canopy of
stars above. One moment gave me a scare when I saw the lights of an
aircraft seeming near but I couldn't hear a thing, I mistook it for a light
beacon very close by that had snuck up on me. I peered at this thing for
quite a while, I had never seen an aircraft going that slow so close and so
quiet. I could only put it down to a military aircraft incorporating
stealth technology. Eventually it flew close overhead and its military
silhouette became very clear, it sure made heaps of noise close up, a
strange whining noise, very Star Wars looking.
After midnight the now ebbing tide started to make its presence felt, with
my speed picking up some more. Previously in my transit around Cape May at
the mouth of the Delaware Bay I have cut in close to the Cape and used a
narrow small boat channel, but now feeling very tired indeed after only a
few hours sleep the night before and having to stay alert for many hours I
decided to follow the more easily negotiated shipping channel. It meant a
few extra miles but insignificant compared to the distance to go, and I had
no desire to commence this voyage with an ignominious grounding. So I
stayed close to the big ships, but clear of their marked channel in the
shallow water where they could not follow.
By 4 am I had cleared the mouth of the Bay, the wind was going light but the
wind vane was still keeping course, all was well. An hour later I figured
we were sufficiently clear of the densest area of converging ships so that I
could afford a longer nap. I have this wonderful device rather grandly
called a "Watch Commander", it actually is little more than a glorified egg
timer. You set the time interval you want to be called at and when this
time has elapsed an alarm goes off, if you don't hit the reset button within
60 seconds a very loud piercing alarm goes off that would wake the dead.
Well I was having a nice little dream, reading a book would you believe when
all of a sudden the book starts beeping at me. I know there is a button on
it I have to press, I am thumping at the book, eventually I turn it over and
find the button, I press it and press it but the alarm doesn't stop. Then I
am awoken by the shrill piercing screech of the Watch Commander. I jumped
up with a rush and hit the reset button. The "Watch Commader" follows you
in your dreams!
Now I have had a few hours shut eye and feeling much rested, I have set a
waypoint into the GPS for Cape Race, the south eastern corner of
Newfoundland, it bears 057 degrees, 1057 nautical miles.

Bob Cat:

Well I never! Now my bunk (I believe that is the right word for it, it
certainly isn't a queen size bed but then, my needs are modest), as I was
saying my bunk definitely started to take up a funny angle last night.
Unheard of - I thought I was dreaming myself. After a while I decided I had
best go upstairs to see if the world had not all of a sudden decided to
topple over a little, such things can happen I hear. So I went out onto the
outdoor patio, it was dark and cool, very pleasant actually but the patio
was definitely leaning over as well. I decided to investigate further,
skipper Bob was close by fiddling with something, always fiddling - fiddle,
fiddle, diddle. Will you humans never learn to sleep! I peer over the
patio railing and what a shock, the rest of the world had turned to water
and it was rushing past madly, hissing at me in a most feline way. I stared
and stared not believing my eyes, I looked at skipper Bob, "What have you
done?" Then a noise above me attracted my attention, I am startled beyond
comprehension, I literally jump back half a pace, above me there is this
huge white thing stretching away to the stars. Where on earth did that come
from? I just cannot believe this, I return my gaze to the hissing water,
incredulous. This is impossible! But sure enough the hissing water still
rushes gurgling by. Another noise above, I look up again, once more
startled by what I see. Some things really do take some getting used to. I
look at skipper Bob who is looking closely at me, and so he might. Well
there is nothing else for it, leaning bunks are a sight more tolerable then
this. Maybe when I wake up again it will have all gone away.
Back to my leaning dreams, and by the way, is there a mouse smell in the