Reading: Peter Duck (Arthur Ransome)
Weather: NE 2-4 – variable. Sometimes sunny with occasional showers and still melting hot …
Thought for the day: How did a humpback whale get its name?
Evening meal: Lamb stew with beans, apricots, figs and prunes with mashed potato
Distance covered: At 1200 we had done 3,809 miles with a distance to arrival in Brazil of 342 miles
Wildlife headcount: A much better day – maybe closing the land is helping? Storm petrels, petrels and humpback whales ….
Not far to go now, but the weather is still teasing us. The engine went on for the first part of the night watch as the wind just died and so the engine was helping reduce the slatting of the sails. At the changeover at 6am we were just about to start taking the main down when a slight breeze came in, so we instead turned the engine off and managed to sail for a few hours. I was on the helm when suddenly about 400 metres off the starboard beam was the distinctive tail of a humpback whale diving. Unfortunately, that meant we didn’t see anything for a while – once they have dived they can stay under for quite a while! However, about twenty minutes later we saw another one blowing and arching its back in a similar place and then a further sighting to port of two whales jumping. A great sight ….
The rest of the watch was a case of shower dodging. In most cases simply threatening the shower with putting on rain gear was enough to get them to bypass us close by. In one case we could clearly see the line of the rain on the water about 200 metres away, total demarcation between rain and dry, but we stayed in the dry segment. Across the stern at one point we could see about seven showers ranged in a line across the sea, but again, we missed them. Our luck was in …. However, our luck with the wind wasn’t, so we did have to motor for around an hour and after lunch the engine went on again for the rest of the afternoon.
As a result of this flaky wind the time to arrival (TTA) has been teasing us all day as well, ranging from two days to four days as each wind change goes through. Still, we should be there within five days!