Location: Underway to Panama
It’s often tricky to get a gauge of space and uniformity on the water. Over any piece of water, judging distance is tricky, but I often think about the fact that when we are on passage, you can be 40 miles from land or 1500, and the view is pretty similar. Granted, when you’re a bit further out, often the swell is longer, the VHF quieter, and everything just a bit more awe-inspiring, but otherwise, as far as the visual horizon is concerned, it can be hard to spot the difference. Where you really get a sense of scale, I think, is time, though. Finishing your first crossing, after two or three weeks on the move and seeing a mountain rearing out of the blue, is a pretty singular sensation, and perhaps this has something to do with the preceding period desensitizing you to the wild uniformity of the sea and the sky if you’re really lucky though you can gain a similar experience when you come into contact with the local residents. A deep sense of respect for the setting this being inhabited and the vastness of its reach, perhaps a certain amount of kinship from sharing this space in time, and privilege for it revealing itself.
Today watch team 1 had two whopping great tuna (technical marine bio term – sorry if I lose you here) jump out of the water next to the boat, which was a pretty cool start to the day. Then, come the afternoon and classes, (it’s odd how a lot of the stuff we see tends to be whilst everyone is in class, and we are faced with the decision of whether or not to interrupt class on the off chance that whatever it is, is still there when everyone is up on deck) I noticed a slight discoloration in the surface of a wave just off the starboard side which upon closer inspection turned out to be a reef manta cruising along next to us. To add context to this, I would first like to point out that Steve McQueen himself once said that manta rays “are, you know, pretty cool.” Next, spotting these out in the middle of nowhere is tricky. Thanks to countershading, unless they’re feeding, spotting them from above can be tough. Finally, this was the first time that Elle had ever seen one, so we were somewhat excited. Unfortunately, though, it wasn’t around for long. This might have had something to do with the fact that it was promptly followed by two sperm whales coming to give us a look which definitely warranted a quick interlude to seamanship because – well – they’re whales.
So all in, a cool day underway. Now we’re continuing west for 400-500NM before hooking due south down to Coln and the mouth of what is frankly an objectively awesome feat of engineering, and then onto a whole new ocean.
Current position: 13 24.75N x 68 21.76W
1. Izzy charging down some Caribbean swell
2. Mac and Lolo picking apart the intricacies of IALA A and B
3. Some crispy new staysails