Off watch and wildlife.
0n the fifth day of our transatlantic race the routine has well and truly set in. the watch system is in full effect with the pattern of eating and sleeping being the norm when not actually on watch. Although most people do find time to read, write blogs and journals and check their emails.
Most people on board do have email set up and it does bring great pleasure to hear from your nearest and dearest, with our crew fizzbook being in near constant use.
On OneDLL we do have a practice of having a "happy hour" a period of time during lunch where both watches are on deck at the same time. Giving us the opportunity to catch up with the other watch, spend some quality time with them and to sort through any particular issues that have arisen in the previous 24 hours.
It also allows our skipper to brief us about how we are doing in the race and discuss the weather conditions that we are likely to encounter. It also gives us the opportunity to have a happy hour treat, where a member of the crew provides a treat for the rest of the crew and skipper, todays being a birthday cake for Pierre who celebrates his 34th birthday today.
Yesterday’s was particularly inspired as Really Useful John provided real coffee and a cafetiere, which made the coffee drinkers amongst us, myself included, incredibly grateful! Happy Hour is one of the few times the whole crew are on deck together the other being "all hands " which usually means we are having issues or there is an important piece of information that our skipper wishes to share with us. All hands only seem to be called when I am asleep!
Yesterday though we all mustered on the deck for completely different reasons. Someone yelled "whales" and the crew all assembled on deck in roughly 30 seconds. Faster then we had previously managed for any all hands!
Sadly by the time we had got on deck the elusive cetacean was nearly out of view and travelling at speed in the opposite direction. Hopefully this will be the first of many encounters with large marine mammals.
We have encountered numerous dolphins along the way. The first time I saw them was in heavy fog on race 1. I had come up on deck and been told that they had heavy fog and dolphins which led me to wonder just how they could see dolphins in visibility of less then 20 metres. What I hadn't considered was the bioluminescence in the water which allowed us to follow the dolphins progress though the water around and under the boat. It was very cool.
Marine mammals are not the only wildlife we have encountered thus far. Last night after having a particularly big wave break over our bows it left a number of squid on deck. Unfortunately the squid were a little on the small size to be any use as calamari and were returned back to where they came from. not before they had squirted ink over the deck though.
As we continue south I am sure the sighting of all sorts of fauna will continue especially with us entering the tropics and approaching flying fish country!
em>OneDLL Crew Member Mark Churchill