June 5 - Waterspouts and fishy smells.
I am starting to loose track of the days out here, it is very warm now we're
in the Gulf Stream proper, where we are getting for once, a good push in the
right direction, i.e. homeward, of around 0.9 of a knot. We have just been
under quite a big cloud with loads of rain coming out of it that heralded a
new breeze coming in after what has been a light and shifty yesterday
afternoon and night. As the cloud moved away to the North West, Sam called
me and said "Is that what I think it is, or is it just rain?" - I looked and
announced it was rain, but then realised that it wasn't rain at all, it was
a mini tornado or waterspout thing; we watched as it grew more defined and
stronger by the minute. A dark grey curved column reached down from the base
of the cloud nearly down to the water, where you could see the spiralling
column of spray in the vortex as it rose up into the flat grey base of the
cloud. It must have gone on for 20 minutes or so with the cloud seeming to
grow infront of our eyes, then it began to pour with rain under it, and
shortly afterwards the tornado ground to a halt and the trunk disappeared. I
have seen waterspouts in Lyme Bay but never sailed near them, it just shows
what large forces are at work in the weather.
There are two things that remain constant here whatever the day is - we have porridge for breakfast and I keep taking the pills for my finger every six hours. I don't know when it says "Take one pill four times daily" that it actually means quite as regularly as 0600, 1200, 1800 and 0000 BST, but it helps me to remember to do it! The finger is back to normal size now and quite happy, and I am quite happy it is still there too!
Things have been mixed on the wildlife front. Before we dropped off the continental shelf of the US there were lots of whales. We saw some quite closely albeit briefly, as they sank before our eyes leaving multiple eddies that were early the size of the boat as they went down. There were many in the distance that Sam located by smell in the first instance - when you are downwind of them breathing at the surface there is what you might call a bit of a "fishy odour", and even at a couple of miles you can see the spouts of vaporous exhaled breath going many feet into the air. After leaving the Continental Shelf all was quiet - Sam spent a lot of time looking for the elusive Mr Whale to no avail, but he did however see a flying fish at very close quarters, it flew infront of the boat from one side to the other, obviously trying to put the boat between himself an whatever was trying to turn it into supper!
My Dad e-mailed to say that we are now ranked 22nd in the IMOCA rankings, which is the rating for the Open 60 Class Association - not bad I feel up against some of the big campaigns. It will be good to see how we figure after the Vendee which is my prime focus now that the Artemis Transat is competed.
Meanwhile, it is very hot typing down here, next to my as yet unworn oilskins - it will blow soon he weather man assures me - just as well or I'll be going soft!