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Shepherd Moon - Hallucinations

I was on watch this morning when a large splash on the horizon caught my eye. At first I assumed it was a breaking wave, although on a calm morning with just a gentle swell that would be surprising. I kept watching in the direction of the splash and then I saw it. A large whale leapt half way out of the water and then came crashing down, making an almighty splash. I had been down below five minutes before to wakeup Vanessa and Jacob with a rather tuneful rendition of "Morning has broken" and they were in the process of getting up, or at least opening an eye. I called down the companionway that there was a breaching whale on the horizon. Five times the whale entertained my with its leaps and splashes, but by the time the crew emerged on deck, bleary eyed, all that could be seen was a faint puff of spray as it took a breath before diving deep below the ocean surface. Needless to say neither Jacob nor Vanessa believe it was there. They think it was a ruse on my part to get them out of bed, or worse still, the hallucinations of a man whose been on watch too long.

We've made good progress over the past 24 hours and are no longer the tail-end-Charlie. Over night we were consistently sailing at over six knots under gennaker, but this morning the wind has dropped and according to the forecast, we are likely to spend much of the day in an area of light winds. We have swapped the gennaker for the Blue Water Runner, which involved clearing the decks of flying fish. Jacob managed to rescue one in the middle of the night, but this morning there were three large ones and two teeny, tiny ones. It's so sad to think of them ending their fishy lives mid-leap.

The other entertainment over the past 24-hours has been a fly cull. We seem to have acquired a sizable swarm of flies during our stay in Mindelo. Vanessa has been chasing round the cabin with a can of fly spray, but I'm not sure that is very sporting. Instead I adopt a more traditional method. Armed with just a tatty tea towel I stalk around the cabin, with the silence of the chase only punctuated by an occasional thwack as the tea towel smacks into the varnished mahogany a few microseconds after the fly has exited stage left. My first sortie resulted in three dead flies. These "trophies" were lined up on a piece of kitchen paper and photographed! (You really do struggle to find entertainment in the middle of the ocean). I did suggest we added an extra column in the log to keep a tally of the fly cull but I was overruled. This morning I think we are down to just two flies, but these survivors are clearly graduates of the "Top Gun" school of flying and are proving impossible to hunt down. My chief concern is that they find somewhere to lay eggs and then, in true Darwinian fashion, we could be overrun with a whole swarm of "Mavericks" and " Icemen".

St Lucia is now just 1,890 nautical miles away. That's roughly equivalent to driving to the Alps and back twice which doesn't sound too daunting, but we are traveling at just 6 miles per hour. Now where has that tea towel gone?!

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