Sunday 16 September 2012

2nd Leg Day 25: Another Fish and The First Sea Grass

The wind came back today and we were able to sail for a few hours. Then the wind died away and now we are motoring again. It is interesting how one misses the sound of just the water swishing past the hull, without the drone of the motor. Add the vibration if the motor on your side is running. We have had so many days of doldrums and semi-doldrums that we have almost forgotten what it feels like to sail.

Incidentally, this adds to the frustration of the voyage. We are now just under 700 nautical miles from St Maarten. However, with the lack of wind it feels like it is getting further away. Even on the chart it does not look like we are making real progress. Perhaps it is just our impatience and the long hours of this leg of the voyage that is beginning to tell on us. Some form of psychological fatigue. Cabin fever, I suppose.

On the bright side we had a take on our fishing lure within about half an hour of putting it out. A good sign for the day. It was a small fish and came off the hook shortly after it was hooked. Later today, around lunch time, we hooked another fish. This time it was another sailfish, a different species than the first ones we caught. This fish was a bright blue colour. It is the first time that I have seen one of these. A beautiful fish with a vivid blue back, unlike the usual brownish hue. And, true to form, we have no photographs of the fish. This time we plead guilty on purpose. The fish fights back and is quite dangerous with its bill. So we kept clear and cut the line very promptly. No dilly-dallying to take pix when you have a large billfish flapping into the boat.

It was also a source of mirth, as on both occasions, Renier had just gone to bed for a nap when the fish took the lure., interrupting his efforts to get some sleep. Eventually he just gave it up an. Afte3r we released the second fish, we stopped fishing to give Renier a chance of some rest.

Today was also the first sightings of the floating sea grass of this area. It is a sure sign that we are approaching the Caribbean sea. Even if our guts do not feel the same. The water has returned to the deep blue colour of the deep ocean. This means that we are out of the water from the Amazon, which gives an olive green tint to the ocean. The green water also does not show any phosphorescence. For now we have the phosphorescence back. This, coupled with the moon, provides quite a show to look at during the long, lonely hours of night watch.

My days of sextant navigation in the open ocean are also drawing to a close. Soon we shall be within sight of land for long periods, necessitating the use of coastal navigation practices. I shall also not have a sea horizon to use for the sights. This time I have an apprentice, so we can share the work load for the coastal navigation. It will be interesting to do the navigation and check ourselves against the GPS. Hopefully we should be more precise than with the sextant.

Authored by Johan Zietsman
Last updated on 2012-12-12

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