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Date: 06 May 2016 13:54:04
Title: Azores Tudor Route

38:29:8N 056:10:0W
 
Friday 6th May 2016
 
WHALES!
Such excitement yesterday, I had just despatched my blog about wildlife on the Azores, when Denis says, “Whales!” Just a couple of metres off the side of WD was a huge Sperm whale. It was so big we still aren’t sure whether it was two. We were lucky to have missed it, one of us may have got hurt...I have even heard about whales attacking when they have been hit by a yacht. Sperm whales are dark grey and up to twenty four metres long, that is officially big! Twice our length.
 
With Reference to Blog item: Alien Invasion 3rd May 2016
Not Egg Sacks – Probably: “By-the-Wind-Sailor”
From WD’s own Ecological Consultant, Liz Bedford
 
I think maybe the things aren't egg sacks but a colonial hydrozoan called a by-the-wind sailor?
Description
Velella velella is a pelagic colonial hydroid. The float, which is an oval disc, is deep blue in colour and can be up to 10 cm in length. Short tentacles hang down into the water from the float. A thin semicircular fin is set diagonally along the float acting as a sail. This sail gives the animal both its scientific (i.e. from velum, a sail) and its common name, 'by-the-wind-sailor'. The direction of the sail along the float determines which way Velella velella will travel. If the sail runs north-west to south-east along the float it will drift left of the wind direction, if the sail runs south-west to north-east it will drift right of the wind direction. Velella velella feeds on pelagic organisms, including young fish, caught by stinging cells on its tentacles. The sea slug Fiona pinnata , sunfish and violet snail
prey upon Velella velella.

Identifying features
Deep blue oval float up to 10 cm in length, Semicircular sail set diagonally along float, Short tentacles hanging down from float, Left sailing and right sailing forms.
 
Thank you Liz, we will have a look at a photo when we can access the internet. From the description, it does sound like you are absolutely correct.
 
Weather
The wind keeps blowing and we are making some pleasing daily runs. Approx. thirty knots most of yesterday, three reefs in the main and we are playing the genoa. Unfortunately, this amount of wind brings a big sea and the spray frequently blows into the cockpit, not a great place for a convivial chat, consequently, off-watch down below.
 
Miles travelled in the last 24 hours: 171 miles
Miles to the Azores: 1419 miles

 

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