I had an unsettling experience last night.
I was out in the cockpit adjusting the trim of steering and sails, when suddenly there was quite a brilliant yellow-white light out of the corner of my eye.
My recollection is that I picked it up about 20 degrees above the horizon, and it seemed to rapidly fall between me and the horizon.
My first impression was that it was a celestial object falling to the ocean. However, this isn’t what unsettled me.
The thought occurred to me – had I seen a distress rocket flare? I tried to reconstruct the moment in my head and imagine what a rocket flare would be like.
After some thought I was pretty sure that such a flare would have a parachute and stay in the sky for much longer. Even if it didn’t, it wouldn’t fall that fast.
I’d heard earlier on the radio that there was a boat overdue from Hawaii to Marquesses, but I wouldn’t have expected them to be this far east – especially as it would have been against current and wind.
The light was to the south east, directly into the wind, and my course was north east. I was 99% sure it wasn’t a distress signal, but there is always the 1% that stays with you. I don’t think I would have had any chance of finding anything on a dark night beating into a strong wind with a 2m metres swell.
I kept watching for ages and saw nothing further.
So I sailed on with a vague image in my head of a poor man in a lifeboat cursing my hide.
I had an idyllic day of sailing today. A sunny day with a cool 10 knots breeze on my beam and 1 metre seas.
Nonetheless, that was still plenty of wind to make an effortless 140 miles.
I spent a fair amount of time on deck in the shade of the sails marvelling at the flying fish frantically escaping this big sea monster, with a white parasite attached, ploughing through their seas.
Vivaldi’s Four Seasons seemed appropriate, and with the red ensign streaming and sails curved like wings, we danced through the swell.
When I was fixing the windvane control lines, I found a hook and sinker in the bottom of the toolbox. I imagined the proportions of the flying fish and tried to emulate them with some torn piece of rags and the aforementioned tackle. Not the prettiest lure, and nothing caught yet, but I’m optimistic that there must be some sufficiently stupid fish out there willing to attach themselves.
The countdown to the equator continues – 60 miles to go!!
Latitude: -0.861, Longitude: -127.582, Time: 05:09:58 07-06-2018 UTC