she blows! she blows!

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Sat 16 Jan 2010 15:50
Position: 46 32.4 S 064 07.9 W
Course: Southwest Speed 65 knots
Wind: West, F4 moderate breeze
Weather: Overcast (thin stratus), cool.
Day´s Run: 113 nm

We enjoyed another pleasant 24 hours at sea, not a great day's run with light winds for much of yesterday afternoon but everything has its recompense. I went on deck in the evening for a look around and as I exited the companionway I heard a loud and very deep growl behind me, I was facing aft, turning around there ahead of Sylph's bows less than 100 meters away were two large whales. I quickly grabbed the video camera and calmly walked to the bow to try and capture the moment. The two large mammals slowly swam down either side of Sylph and had my heart racing as they came very close and I thought there was a chance that one of them might accidentally side swipe us as they went by. As they passed astern they turned and followed us for a while then slowly swam off to join their friends further astern. I watched intrigued by these leviathans of the deep, as they blew and sounded. I later hauled out my book on marine life and identified them as Southern Right Whales, their distinctive bifurcated blow, smooth finless backs and deep notched tail making them easy to recognise. The are called the Right Whale because they float when they are killed and therefore the whale of choice amongst 18th century whalers and also therefore almost hunted to extinction, presumably the northern herd suffered worse then the southern. These big guys are slow swimmers so the light winds and our slow speed gave them an opportunity to look us over.

Another encounter with some marine life occurred this morning when we snuck up on a sleeping seal, with one of its fins stuck in the air to capture a little warmth from the sun. He must have woken up when Sylph was only a few feet away when he quickly dived out of our way.

This is the furthest south Sylph's voyage has taken her so far. Many albatross and petrels soar around us. It seems the further we get away from man the more of everything else there is.

Now the wind is starting to freshen, might have to think about a reef shortly.

All is well.

Bob Cat:

I have heard suggested that BC could also stand for "Bloody Cat". I am not amused. But professional feline that I am I shall not allow this to ruffle my fur nor deter me from a good day's sleep . . . Zzzzzzz.