Update day 8: dragons!
What a difference 24 hours can make at sea. Yesterday I was still flying along under spinnaker, instantly regretting moving back to the big spinnaker as gusts as strong as 30 knots threatened constantly to spin the boat out of control whereas today calm is the theme for the day. The constant stress of yesterday's excitable ride helped me slide to the west to avoid the wind shadows of the Cape Verde archipelago, the very trap that Fabrice on Newrest- Matmut is currently suffering in.
I am currently sliding along at 9 to 11knots of boatspeed, with similar wind strength, under a baking sun. Air temperature (measured at the top of the rig) is 28.6 degrees C, and the sea water is 27. The light winds mean that the foredeck is mostly free from waves and this allows me to keep the foredeck hatch open to allow a breeze to flow through the inside... the only small comfort that stops the interior becoming a pressure cooker!
If you haven't seen the moon lately let me tell you it's incredible out from out here. It's currently a "supermoon" and is the closest full moon has been to earth since 1948 and was a sight to behold last night with silver crests dancing every which way under a cloudless sky. The light reflected off the boat seemed to make me a target of flying fish throughout the night and when the sun came up the deck looked like the Tokyo fish market with scales and entrails everywhere! These kamakazi fish are no laughing matter as I have previously received one at full flight in the chest and it left a bruise that lasted over a week. Check out the photo from the biggest one I found and then imagine if you would like that whistling past your head.
On the other scale of creatures creatures found at sea, I have also included a photo of one of the many cargo ships that we are crossing in these parts. Ancient mariners would fill in unknown spaces on their rudimentary sea charts with pictures of fearsome dragons and sea monsters but even in their wildest dreams they could not have imagined being comfronted with thousands of tonnes of steel bearing down upon you at 20 knots. Thankfully we have a system called AIS (Automatic Identification System) that allows boats to talk with each other automatically and plot their position and calculate their risk of impact but inspite of the thousands of miles of ocean, they always light up my alarm system with a crossing of less than a mile. Thankfully the supermoon gives me a good opportunity to enjoy sleepless nights of ship hunting. The sailors of old didn't know how good they had it when their only fear was falling off the edge of the earth.