April 22, 2019

Day 199

Noon Position: 3 12S  28 21W

Course(t)/Speed(kts): WNW 6

Wind(t/tws): E 11

Sea(t/ft): E 4

Sky: Cumulus

10ths Cloud Cover: 2

Bar(mb): 1014+, steady

Cabin Temp(f): 91

Water Temp(f): 87

Relative Humidity(%): 66

Sail: All three main sails flying. The #2 is poled to starboard. Broad reach.

Noon-to-Noon Miles Made Good (nm): 149

Miles since departure: 27,164

Avg. Miles/Day: 137

Leg North Miles: 4,214

Leg North Days: 33

Avg. Miles/Day: 128

A fair wind overnight and today that’s made the fairer by flying a boat load of canvas. All three working sails are up and filling, and the breeze is starting to veer, if begrudgingly, south of east. Maybe tomorrow we can fly the spinnaker.

We are fortunate to be carrying this wind deep into the ITCZ. Monte and I do the Holy Cross and twig a backstay each time we pass but are otherwise silent. Mum’s the word.

Last night, lightening flashes down wind and well below the horizon. They sent shivers down my spine. There’s something deeply frightening about lightening. Only three bursts.

Today, as evening has come on, the sky has covered entirely. There are mares tails cirrus, a full and dark altocumulus level, and cumulus below that are wanting to grow into squalls. It could be an interesting night. No lightening yet.

Today’s story is weed. But first …

At 8:30am I was taking a sight when I noted a darkish hump floating on the water half a mile away. Its shape struck me at first as being that of a long derelict sailboat on its beam’s end and half submerged; it’s size, roughly that of Mo’s. Even in binoculars the shape didn’t resolve to anything more specific, except that the color was similar to that of a whale and the roundness too. We were quickly by.

On reflection, it’s hard to imagine how a keel boat could float on it beam’s end, and so I’ve reasoned it was a dead whale.

Right after this, Mo began plowing through thin rafts of weed strung out in long lines running parallel to the wind. It grew thicker midday but has now dissipated.

The weed is yellowish brown with small leaves and berries and is reminiscent of pickle weed. I’m new to these parts, but my guess is this has been our first encounter with Sargassum, which we should see en masse later as we pass near the Sargasso Sea. It fouled both my lure astern and the hydrogenerator propellor multiple times, so the less of it in future the better.

Granted, not a very intersting story. Tomorrow, how the boobies catch flying fish. That’s much more fun.

In the late afternoon, our first jet since… Well, this may be our first at all this passage. Africa to South America, its course.

2 Comments on “Weed

  1. Lightening, lightening, very, very frightening. You are powerless against its whims.

  2. I have witnessed the negatives of sargassum in Belize. Changes in ocean currents due to increased sea temperatures sends tons to the Caribbean coasts. Bulldozers on the beaches every morning barely make a dent. They try everything.. they burn it, cook it incoconut milk with lemon juice, attempt to convince people of its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, neuroprotective, anti-microbial, anti-tumor, fibrinolytic, immune-modulatory, anti-coagulant, hepatoprotective and anti-viral benefits! I can’t wait to hear about boobies catch flying fish!

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