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La Cigale - Day 18 - 6 December - Tha' she blows!

The moment I posted yesterday how reassuring it was to have another Arc vessel in the vicinity, Flying Merlin changed tack and headed South, leaving us on a Westward course. For a moment I wondered about our direction, and then Harley spotted a bullet of a sleek black shape speeding towards us. It was a pilot whale coming to say hello and then pressing on ahead. It's a sign! I thought.

This morning we looked up pilot whales in Wikipedia. We discovered that they are notorious for having a misguided sense of direction that often gets them stranded on shore, so maybe it is not so wise to follow their course after all...

It also turns out pilot whales are actually the largest of the oceanic dolphins after orca. Is a whale not a whale? We then started discussing the difference between whales and dolphins - even whaling ships, it turns out, get confused with some believing it's ok to hunt pilot whales if not humpbacks, say. Pilot whales certainly are funny, hybrid creatures - the body of a dolphin with the rounded head that's normally associated with a whale. We wondered whether a distinction lay in dolphins eating fish and whales plankton, but it seems that's not the case. Or maybe that dolphins travel in pods and whales are more solitary? Answers on a postcard (or satellite email) please!

All, in any case, belong to the family of cetaceans. A word that fascinates me, as I have been trying to pick out Cetus as a constellation in the night sky when on watch. Cetus comes from the Greek for sea monster, but now means whale.

La Cigale is definitely a crew of dolphins ("Can I be a killer whale please?" said Harley... Ditto! added Isabelle, who has cuddled her soft toy orcas from cradle to cabin) and peg play continues. This morning all were involved in the bartering marketplace game again. No takers were found for the Game of Life, but Catherine had a fortune in her hands ransoming the dispensing pump for the 8 litre water bottles! She is a natural clown, sporting her hair in bunches this afternoon and a wooden peg clamped on the end of her nose. Priceless.

Now, with the sun setting, thoughts turn to supper. The thing is, after tucking into moreish beef chilli tacos with relish for lunch, we're all feeling like a cross between one of those poor mis-piloted beached whales and Isabelle's toy orcas...stuffed!

In other news, the Skipper has tactfully reminded me (you know Xav!) that this is meant to be a sailing log and I might want to include some relevant information for interested parties, so here goes: sea calm, wind constant, gennaker still up and the boat is pretty much sailing herself into the sunset, with less than 1000 nautical miles to go. Over and out!

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