Friday 15 August – Whales

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Mon 18 Aug 2014 20:47

Noon Position: 55 17.6 N 158 21.1 W
Course: East Speed: 4.5 knots
Wind: East sou' east F4 moderate breeze
Sea: slight Swell: south, 1.5 meter
Weather: overcast, light drizzle, cool
Day's run: 79 nm.

After spending a week in Sand Point, a stop that I had initially planned on being three days, we at last managed to break free of the town's mysterious allure yesterday morning, and Sylph has once more turned her bows east. Thirty knot winds from the south east are forecast for today, so while the wind remains of moderate strength I am keeping Sylph close hauled to make as much ground to windward as we can, then, when the wind does pick up, we should be in a good position to be able to bear away onto a beam reach and enjoy a somewhat more comfortable ride. According to the forecast we should be experiencing twenty five to thirty knot winds by now. I am of course hoping that the low will not be as intense as the forecasters have predicted, but I suspect it is just that we have managed to stay a little ahead of the approaching low and that it will only be a matter of time before I will need to be putting in the second reef.

Once the low has passed the winds are forecast to shift into the west, for Saturday and Sunday, so that should make for a speedy passage to Kodiak, which is why I have decided to press on into the strong winds rather than seek shelter.

Yesterday evening, while transiting Gorman Strait, twelve miles to the east of Sand Point, I was treated to a display of numerous hump back whales swimming about Sylph, some coming within meters of us. I do not recall seeing so many humpbacks in one spot before and wonder what the attraction was to this particular location, presumably food. A number of them swam in pairs and they would occasionally arch their backs and lift their tails high in the air as they sounded the depths in unison, but more often they would simply subside smoothly beneath the calm grey sea, leaving only a slight swirl of disturbed water to mark where their massive bulk had been only moments before.

All is well.