Day 25- 30

Carlile Adventures
Mark Carlile
Wed 1 Nov 2006 11:31
I caught my first fish on the small fishing rod. The fish was 50cm long (1 and 3/4ft). It was dusk. A rain shower was passing over when I noticed that the fishing rod was bent. All the line was out. The drag on the line wasn't set too tight. With all of the line out it took me an hour to haul the fish in. The boat was still going fast at a little over 6 knots. I was surprised this rod had caught anything. There was a small silver lure on the line with no sinker. It must have been very near the surface. The fish having been dragged for a long time was exhausted by the time I saw it near the stern. I hauled the fish over the guard rails and into the cockpit. The fish was green and gold. Slim with a white belly. It had tiny teeth. I managed to get a fillet and fry it on the stove. The rest had to go overboard. It tasted very similar to tropical reef fish.

The trade winds pushed me along well for the first few days of the past week. My longest day of 134 miles in 24 hours. At times the boat would travel at 8 knots. The North East trade winds have carried many a sailor across the Atlantic Ocean. The sailing was fast even if there was a North West swell making it a little rocky. My thoughts were already starting to think about the doldrums (a massive area of calm) and the equator. At this rate I would be there in two weeks.

But alas, it was not to last. The trade winds disappeared after the third day. Slowing on the 4th day I did 67 miles. I had a Calm Sunday. It was a nothing day. I went nowhere. The sea did not move. The boat did not rock. There were no sounds of water rushing passed the boat. The air was completely still. I had blue skies and a temperature of 28 degrees. There was a very small current pushing me ever so slowly south. I moved just 8 miles in 12 hours. The sails flapped gently in a fan like motion. I ended up making 29 miles in 24 hours.

It was quiet. Too quiet.

I heard dolphins play around the boat There were eight in number. I have seen a few of them each day since and they play for about an hour nearby.

I tried reading books. This helped to pass the time. I could do nothing but wait for favourable winds. The forecasts said it was going to last a few days. They have been right. The best way to pass the time has been to put on music. With no neighbours for at least 300miles, I thought I was probably far enough away to play some loud music. And that is what I did. The volume was at the top of the scale. I sat on deck in the shade listening for quite some time.

On Monday morning, I could just see a ship off starboard. It was too far away to make any features on it. It then disappeared out of sight over the horizon. On Monday afternoon I saw the shape again come into view. I am entering the vicinity of the occasional pirate. I dare not to call the ship on radio. It then disappeared again over the horizon. I have read stories of pirates waiting at the edge of the horizon before making a move closer at night. The night was warm and still. I decided to continue with no lights and leave the radars on (they always are on). I saw no sign of the ship or its lights. Was it moving in the dark? After a number of hours on watch, scanning the horizon with binoculars, I curled up and went to sleep in the cockpit. It was slightly cooler outside than inside. I also knew that if the wind started again, then I would certainly wake up to take advantage of it. 90 minutes later, the wind came lightly. I woke and Ingrid moved silently at 2.5knots under the cover of darkness. In the morning there was no sign of the mystery ship. The risk of piracy will be with me for another 3 weeks. I will keep myself occupied so as not to dwell on this very small possibility.

The wind is now still light and progress slow. The forecasts have a favourable change due tonight. The next few days appear to be getting faster again. The week has been a tale of two halves - fast and slow. I have still managed to do 693 miles for the week with my boat speed averaging over 4 knots. I am happy with this progress.

That's a very good day from Ingrid off West Africa.

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