St. Helena to French Guiana - Days 11 - 12


Day 11

Miles to go: 1,979

Milestone - under 2,000nm left

Sailboats don't always go exactly where you want them to go. We've been heading more N than NW as the wind has backed more easterly, so our daily mileage yesterday of 130 nm equalled under 100 nm to the good. The wind finally changed enough to warrant a jibe and once again we re-rigged the whisker pole to port. Re-rigging the pole every third or fourth day for long, long jibes is definitely not something to complain about.

The night was mild. The breeze was warm and steady and the star-studded sky was glorious. The moon is with us again. She's waxing now and every night she shines just a bit brighter and just a while longer with her sidekick, Venus, twinkling not far away. She'll be with us now for the rest of the passage.

Other than the celestial display, the  night was pretty unremarkable until around 0400. I alternate my watch activities between reading, playing a game or two on my iPad and singing my at-sea repertoire. Evidently, I was singing a siren's song (or possibly annoying the local marine life) because something suddenly leaped from the ocean's depths over the port rail, sailed across the cockpit and attacked me. Thwack!

I screamed. I eeked. I shrieked. Whatever it was, was in my lap, flailing and writhing, perilously close to my private parts. I nearly jumped out of my skin. I managed to bat it away and it landed on the cockpit settee beside me. I could hear it moving and thrashing violently. It was so  dark, I couldn't tell what I was fending off. I finally found the flashlight. A very large, silver-winged flying fish stared back at me...obviously just as traumatized by the ordeal as I was. Once my heart started beating again, I had to laugh out loud. The poor misguided fellow continued to flail as I, emitting involuntary yips, attempted to get a handhold on his slippery wing to toss him overboard. I advised him to stay still for a second, which he promptly did. Over the side he went, leaving scale residue and a strong fish stink behind. I was afraid I'd woken David with all the ruckus, but no worries. The captain was oblivious to my plight and snored peacefully below. I wisely chose to discontinue singing for the rest of my watch.

Last night it was the crash...tonight the thrash. Enough with night watch thrills.

Another flying fish landed just outside the cockpit during David's watch, and yet another was found on the foredeck on David's morning rounds,  bringing the total passage count to  a measly 7.

Day 12

Miles to go: 1,855 nm

The past couple of days and nights have been absolutely gorgeous, but last night and today have been grey and dreary with multiple showers. There was one squall during the night that caught my attention with heavy rain and gusts to 30 knots, but it was over in 15 minutes, leaving behind a wet cockpit and the same overcast sky. Having a break from the sun's intensity during the day isn't all that bad. Some cloud cover to minimize those UV rays is welcome. Even slathered up with sunscreen, we can sometimes feel ourselves sizzling. But grey skies all day and night? Luckily, the drab, colorless day was salvaged by a late afternoon rainbow.

The to-do list is growing. What a surprise, huh? I mentioned the wind speed indicator was on holiday. It works sometimes, but not reliably. The speed transducer for measuring through-the-water speed isn't working reliably either. There's the gimbal on the stove and the cable on the handheld autopilot control and the automatic bilge pump, and a new squeak/groan in the floorboards that's driving us crazy...all need attention, but nothing that can't wait till French Guiana. Making repairs in exotic places. That's what it's all about. Something to look forward to...and then, of course, there's baguettes, cafe au lait, wine, inland travel.

4 flying fish this morning for a passage total of 11.

Maybe more flying fish tomorrow? Days 13-14