At sea. Clipper Round the World Race: Dolphins are a distraction sent by another boat Print E-mail
Thursday, 20 April 2006
Joff:


New York Clipper: Day 12 – 6.23am. I have just come off watch and should be straight to my bunk but I am too excited to sleep! For the last week the port watch have been taunting me with tales of wildlife sightings – oh did we tell you we saw an Albatross? Did we say we had a pod of Dolphins playing off the bow? Did we tell you we saw a whale?! I was beginning to feel shunned by Mother Nature and had visions of me sailing 15,000 miles back home without so much as a peek of a dolphin fin. I did think I saw an albatross yesterday but it turned out to be an oversized seagull!

3am this morning I came on watch to another tale – ‘Oh we had so many dolphins earlier they were wonderful!’ Tired and a little cranky I harrumphed off to take over the spinnaker trim and tried not to feel too disappointed. Lizzie and Tom were doing their handover and I zoned out concentrating on the trim. ‘Strawbs – Tom says there are still dolphins at the bow why don’t you go and see?’ said Lizzie. Humph – bet they will have gone by the time I get there – secretly thinking please still be there please still be there…. And they were – playing in the bow wave in the phosphorescence and the moon light. I have seen wild dolphins on many occasions but they never cease to amaze me. We as sailors are so privileged to see such beautiful creatures in their natural habitat. I guess it is possible to get quite blasé about such things if you see them often enough – however I don’t think that this will be the case with me!

Towards the end of the watch we were setting up for a gibe as the other watch came on deck and as if sensing that there was a potential audience to watch their morning antics, scores of Dolphins came from all directions jumping out of the water and playing in the bow wave. ‘ Strawbs, Dolphins are an evil distraction sent by other boats – now trim!’ said Joff - Concentration was pretty tough! I handed over at watch change and went forward to lie on the bow to watch them. Duncan and I think that we have identified them as Pacific White-sided Dolphins - described in the book as acrobatic, demonstrative and extremely inquisitive. The have a dark upper side and white underside with a grey streak on their sides. We really are blessed to be witness to such wonderful creatures! Strawbs out.

Addendum

Our staysail ripped across its full width on day 2 out of Qingdao. It was a very jagged tear and we did not have any sail repair cloth strong enough on board so we used an old sail bag as a bandage on the sail.

Everybody in the crew has participated in the marathon sewing circle, even the skipper! Each of the 2300 stitches was done by hand.

Duncan was the defacto leader of the circle as chief sail repair guy and was almost in tears of joy as his artwork was hoisted this afternoon with its new "go faster stripe".

We are all very happy to have the staysail back up on deck and not in the saloon anymore.

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Last Updated ( Thursday, 20 April 2006 )
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