Monday, June 10, 2013

Lost & Found in the Bermuda Triangle

Position: 35°19'N, 59°31'W

One week down and we're almost halfway there already. The winds have
been strong, but kind; the sun has beamed down every day and even with
two becalmed afternoons, we've made some great progress. On Saturday we
came within 200 miles of Bermuda and considered stopping for a quick
steak and a beer, but decided to keep going and enjoy more time in the
Azores instead.

Every year over 1,000 sailing boats make this west to east passage
across the Atlantic, with most leaving the USA/Caribbean by the
beginning of June - the start of hurricane season. Some stop in Bermuda
to break up the long passage; almost all stop in the Azores before
continuing to the Mediterranean in time for the European summer. Already
it's clear that we are among the latecomers as we have seen a few
container ships and tankers, but no other sailing boats.

Fact or fiction, there is no shortage of stories about strange
happenings and disappearances in the waters near Bermuda. Crew and boat
are still present and accounted for but we must admit we've had a few
disappearances of our own this week.

Lost:
• 1 boat hook (a long pole with a hook on the end)
• 1 winch handle (for winding winches)
• 1 towed generator (a steel propeller that we tow through the water to
generate electricity)

We had only ourselves to blame for the boat hook and winch handle.
Living in the boatyard for six weeks, we had gotten used to putting
something down and finding it exactly in its place when we returned a
day or a week later. At sea, the boat is always moving (even when
becalmed) so if you want to keep something safe, you need to secure it
each and every time you put it down. Too late, we remembered this just
as we watched the boat hook and winch handle slide down the deck and
tumble into the big, deep blue.

Found:
• Saragossa seaweed
• 'Jelly boats'

We were calling them Jelly Boats for lack of a better name but our
onshore sea-life expert Ethna has informed us that these are Velella
(try saying that five times quickly with a few rums in you!), colonial
hydroids that look like a small jelly fish. We first mistook them for
some plastic packaging until we looked closer and saw a translucent,
blue, gas-filled, oval disc, bearing something that looked like a sail.
It uses its 'sail' to position itself to the right or left of the wind,
sailing northeast-southwest or northwest-southeast across the water.
It's like nature's version of a sailboat! Birds inspired the design of
aircraft and deep water fish inspired the design of submarines, so we
wonder if the Velella may have inspired sailing boats?

Not found:
Fish. We have upped our game since the Pacific with a new 'yo-yo' rig,
thanks to our friend Phil in Fort Lauderdale. It certainly looks the
part with bright yellow line and fancy, colourful lures. However it has
been trailing behind us for three days now and no results yet. No doubt
about it, there is definitely something out there but so far it seems to
prefer steel towed generators to pretty lures.

2 comments:

  1. Wow almost halfway there already, fair play, how long r ye spending in the azores?? Has your eta changed then for old head? Please don't land ? Dock? The weekend of 28th June, am in Luxembourg!!!! Good luck sailors,
    Suze x

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  2. Hi Guys the blog is very entertaining and great to hear your progress. Fair winds to you and enjoy the azores. Cheers Steve S

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