Fair Northwesterlies and sunshine.
Good day of sailing the Northwesterlies that started blowing yesterday at 20 to 25n. Keeping the wheel steering high, braced Close-hauled and with the Royals, Upper Staysails and Outer Jib furled, the Europa tries to gain more northerly, on the attempt of getting to Tristan da Cunha under sail.
During the afternoon, in easing winds the remaining canvas is set again and we keep eating the miles left to our destination under full sail.
After sailing 139nm during the last 24 hours, we are just a journey’s distance from the island, the most remote inhabited one in the world. It lyes approximately 1732 miles off the coast of Cape Town and 2487 miles off the coast of the Falkland Islands.
Temperature climbs up by the day, and warm weather welcomed us on deck, together with the sun shining during the whole journey. For the last couple of days we enjoy those new conditions, many on sunglasses and T-shirts, some even wearing sandals or running shoes. Further south we left the cold waters and the freezing nights working on deck, aloft or at the wheel and lookouts. Now, at the region close to the remote Tristan da Cunha, the climate is sort of humid-subtropical, characterised by the mild temperatures, lack of cold weather though with limited sunshine, often rain and persistent westerly winds. Out at sea, squalls often travel over the Ocean between the different weather systems that sweep pass the area towards South Africa.
The islands and surrounding watersare one of the most pristine temperate ecosystems on the planet, well preserved and being just the local fishing ground for the reduced number of inhabitants and supporting a more commercial crayfish fishery. Despite that, the sightings of whales are not so common yet, due to the slow recovery of their populations that were severely hindered by illegal whaling by the Soviet Union in the aftermath of the 1960 volcanic eruption. But today, lucky as we can be, after a long deliberation what is agreed to be identified as a Bryde’s whale, seem to get curious about the ship sailing by. And keeping a bit of a distance it apparently follows us for about an hour. Well visible is the small blow and smooth body roll before each dive of this species typical from tropical and warm temperate waters in all the worlds oceans.
This sighting sort of interrupted the sail training on deck, where many are still trying to figure out their way through the maze of lines that climb aloft from their pins on deck. A practice to locate each line that will end up soon in a much expected Pinrail chase competition between the watches.