By midnight, the tranquillity of my soul had been sufficiently disturbed and I stopped the engine.
You might claim it was actually because I kept falling asleep at the tiller every thirty seconds, but you’d be wrong.
Well I was falling asleep every thirty seconds, however, unlike a car, as long as you adjust your course every so often a broad average is almost as good as a tight line.
There was the wispiest of wispy breezes, and I optimistically set sail and a course and retired to my bunk.
I awoke to a proper breeze and the sails backed.
Waking up and finding out how far you’ve travelled is a little like unwrapping a present. Enthusiastically I worked out my position to find that I’d drifted 10 miles south east in the heavy equatorial counter current.
Not to worry, we had wind and we kept a good pace until early afternoon.
My oats and self-raising flour stores are dwindling, so this morning’s breakfast was two tins of baked beans. I still have plenty of normal flour, so lunch was pancakes and honey.
I was innocently cooking said pancakes when suddenly I heard, over the dulcet tones of Luke Kelly singing a song for Ireland, the rattle of an engine some 10m above me.
Ye Gods, I thought. An engine that high above me in these waters could only belong to the Queen Mary. I must be right under her bows.
I emerged rather hastily to find a large orange helicopter attached to a pair of big white floats making a low pass overhead.
It occurred to me that I wasn’t wearing my Sunday best, and I hastily ducked back down below to remedy this.
A few seconds later I was somewhat decently attired and returned to my viewing position. He circled around me once and then disappeared over the horizon.
Perhaps he’d been passing by, and seeing no one on deck thought he’d found the Mary Celeste II. Or perhaps somebody thought I was some Columbian transporter of homegrown goods and sent him to investigate.
I’m over 1000 miles off the coast of Mexico, so I think it must have come off a ship rather than land as this seems outside the range of a helicopter.
I kept an idle eye on the horizon, expecting a visit from an American DEA gun boat, but none was forthcoming. I did see a fishing trawler with two long arms crookedly pointing in the air. The first ship I’ve seen in weeks!
Otherwise, I re-read Farley Mowat’s “The boat who wouldn’t float”. Despite the name, it fills the reader with a seafaring spirit, and I couldn’t recommend it more! You might end up sailing an ocean!
Latitude: 7.951, Longitude: -124.215, Time: 05:12:14 12-06-2018 UTC