ENGINE OFF AND SAILING AGAIN

No wind this last twenty-four hours and the engine has been running constantly.  The diesel bunker is getting low now so I was grateful when the wind finally showed up just after noon.  Since then we have been sailing nicely straight down the track to Opua in beautify weather.

In anticipation of the big blow this evening and tomorrow morning I have hanked on the storm staysail.  A no nonsense robust little thing, built like a brick outhouse.  I hope it’s not needed but better to rig it now than be fighting with it in the dark on a pitching deck and a howling wind.

This morning I saw another yacht ahead and to Starboard.  They are now astern, I can just see the tip of their mast showing above the horizon.  They may catch up later as I usually ease off at dusk so I can rest easy during the night.  They are on the same course as me to Opua so we may meet up at the customs dock.

During my morning walk around the boat I noticed a few small squid that had come on board during the night.  This seems to validate my theory about flying squid.  They were perfect eating size, I wish I had got to them when they were still fresh.  The bird life is back again this afternoon, they came back with the wind.  Good to have company but the albatross has not been back.

NIGHT OF FLYING SQUID

Ray Penson
Ray Penson

An action filled night on board Truce.  We are into an area of unsettled weather and rain squalls.  Two hit us between nine and midnight.  The midnight squall was so strong and persistent that we stowed the mainsail and sailed on staysail only.

During the second squall I noticed a strong fishy smell.  Jessica had the flashlight and identified the culprit – a smashed up squid in the cockpit.  I also found squid on the side decks.  What was causing the squid to fly I wondered.  The rain at the time was torrential and the wind going crazy.  Did the squid jump out of the water on board or were they caught up in the rain?  I have heard of it raining cats and dogs but don’t really believe it.  But I have read that frogs sometime get into rain clouds before dropping back to earth.

When stowing the main I noticed a fishy smell around the deck and sail – but could not find any squid lying around.  I was also puzzled why the squid had a fishy smell when it was fresh out the ocean.

Daylight revealed the reason for the fishy smell around the main sail and an explanation for the squid in the cockpit.  Some airborne creature had shit all over the mainsail.  What a mess, we tried cleaning it off but had no luck.  The bird must have been eating squid as the excrement is ink black.  I suspect the same bird regurgitated the squid into the cockpit on his way past – hence the fishy smell.

This morning we had three hours of good sailing before the squalls stared again.  They really are tiresome. A very strong one hit us at three in the afternoon and laid on our beam ends.  I simultaneously let go the main sheet, disengaged the wind vane, let go the jib halyard and started furling the jib.  This was a particularly violent squall, I had been watching it come approach, nothing indicated it would be nasty.

This evening we had no movie showing, its too windy and wet in the cockpit.  Total Voyage distance 899 miles.