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Shepherd Moon - Windless and whaleless

Over the summer we have sailed Shepherd Moon from 58 degrees North to our current latitude of 16 degrees North with the single aim of putting ourselves comfortably in the tradewind belt. The winds that drove commerce for the centuries before Amazon turned up and made us think that even next day delivery is a bit tardy (OK, so there was a bit of a gap between the days of sail and Amazon but a bit of artistic licence never goes amiss). So here we are, smack bang in the middle of the tradewind belt and all we have is a mere zephyr of a breeze. For the past 24 hours we have been sailing at between 4 or 5 knots, which given the wind is only 7 to 8 knots is actually quite impressive, but it's not fast enough to get us to St Lucia in time for the arrival of our daughter on the 2nd December.

The lack of wind has been matched by a lack of flying fish and whales. We have seen flying fish, although far fewer than on the passage to Cape Verde, but they just haven't turned up on the deck. This may be because we are flying the Blue Water Runner which keeps the boat more upright, and so should we intersect the flight path of any flying fish there are more likely to just thwack into the side of the boat rather than coming on board to join us. We were however visited by a huge pod of dolphins just as the sun was setting last night. They played under the bow of the boat for ages and then just as quickly as they arrived, they disappeared again.

The other key event of the past 24 hours is that Iceman finally succumbed to the tea towel, leaving Maverick as the sole survivor from our Mindelo fly infestation. The two of them spent much of yesterday taunting us with their acrobatic displays until Iceman flew too close to the sun. Maverick, however, has not been seen since last night and so he has either died of natural causes or headed off into the big blue yonder. Alternatively he may be sitting in a dark corner mourning the loss of his friend. In a strange, Stockholm syndrome in reverse kind of way, I'm actually rather missing them.

Anyway, we now have 1,780 nautical miles to go to St Lucia. Let's hope the tradewinds finally live up to their name so we can get there before Christmas!

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