Flying fish, squid and dolphins

We’re making good progress as you can see on the tracker. We had our lovely pink kukri cruising chute  up during the day yesterday, and then set up the goosewinged main and headsail to take us throught the  night. Lots more downwind sailing is in store for us. It’s quite a strange feeling looking on the  charts and seeing that the closest bit of land is the Western Sahara. We’re very much out of our home waters here!

The wind picked up a bit last night, and we have a bit of a swell following us. That’s  very good for our progress, and the 10 knot dance is becoming a regular sight as we surf down waves.  Unfortunately it is not so good for those sleeping as the boat is rolling a lot. There were some bleary  faces emerging from the cabins this morning.

To create some entertainment during this trip, we will be experiencing an excelerated year in 22 days –  what we call an Atlantic year. Clare has made a calender where each day of a normal year is 1.5 hours  on our Atlantic calender. That means that we will be able to celebrate christmas, birthdays, easter,  april fools day and many other moments during our atlantic voyage. We started the year at 9 pm  yesterday with a new years celebration that included a sing song of “Auld Lang Syne” and a celebratory  glass of peach juice. Right now it is the 10th January on our accelerated Atlantic year.

Nature watch has been pretty exciting since we left the Canaries. As we sailed along the island, we saw  hundreds of flying fish. They are really quite stunning, with blue and red shades on their bodies and  wings. They leap out of the crest of one wave and glide along close to the water’s surface until they  plop back into the water. We saw some individuals making distances of at least 100m.  To continue  propelling themselves, the fish flick their tails down onto the small wave crests to lift themselves  higher again.

Later in the day we also saw a pod of Risso’s dolphins, then not long after that we had  some very acrobatic Atlantic Spotted Dolphins jumping and body slapping the surface. There are several  schools of thought on why whales and dolphins body slap. One reason may be to stun fish underneath the surface when hunting.

Other thoughts are that they remove parasites or that they are showing off to  potential mates or just playing. Today we found a gift from the sea on our foredeck in the shape of a  squid – not sure how that ended up there! I documented it in photos together with my morning face which  I’ll post onto the blog when we’re next in port. We plan to hook it onto our fishing line and see if we  have better luck at catching anything. First we have to find another hook though as something bit it  off during the night!

Colette

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