FROM 1-14. Nearly to Falmouth

May 14, 2005 - 1600hrs UTC

1600hrs 14 May 2005 UTC 20’18”N 035’27”W Map Ref 218 5098nm (2298nm to Falmouth)

Would you believe that two experienced old farts can’t tell the difference between The Glenfiddich and Lambs Navy Rum?? We have two brown plastic bottles with decanted libations of each but the labels have disintegrated. So the smell test – I actually got it right that time, but when we then looked at and tasted our 20N Consultative Offering, we both thought we had got it wrong. It was only after serious investigation that we concluded we had the correct bottle. I bet very few people in a properly conducted blind test can really tell the difference between Dr Plonk and Mr Screech the Barber Surgeon anyway, so why should we worry. Just Consult to make sure.

So, yes, we crossed 20N and are now 70% of the way from Port Stanley – or 31 degrees to go. About 25k in the Falklands marathon – just downhill but with almost all the rest uphill till the last 5 k. Grind it out – we have lots of work to do.

The Chart puts us over the Cape Verde Basin – haven’t got depth contours on the laptop digital but probably just east of the Mid Atlantic Ridge. We are sailing through clumps of seaweed – small, about half a metre in diameter, like tangled spiky string, yellowish brown with perhaps a tinge of green. Lots of it, and there seems to be a different smell in the air, but that may just be the boot ferals having a clandestine outing. I remember reading about boats marooned in the Sargasso Sea surrounded by weed and windless but this is in the middle of the trades. Anyone know about it?

Wildlife – the hawklike bird finally deserted us close to St Peter & Paul rocks after perhaps three weeks of sporadic visits – perhaps it just goes up and down the coast following boats. Yesterday we saw a lovely white bird about half a metre span – very finely boned, almost transparent, sun shining through its wing feathers, the whole bird sharply carved and beautifully curved with two very long white tail feathers trailing behind but even those streamlined. It dived on a flying fish which it caught, swallowed, did a curiosity pass over us and was gone.  Today two similar birds but black and without the long tail feathers, flying around in the wave troughs. Also did not stay long.

We seem to be approaching the northern edge of the Trades – some higher clouds over the last two days and the wind lifting us occasionally to point directly at the Azores. Noice! And two days of 6+ knots. Noicer!

Have you had a look at the Falmouth webcam? Will it be worth ringing home when we get close – doubt if we will manage the purple kite but you never know. That would be really cool and classy.

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