Day 5: 16 October 2016
After starting the motor at 9 PM the previous night, we motored all through the night and emerged into glassy calm conditions at sunrise. Also emerging at sunrise were Anneka and Dorian to wish the on-watch crew (Eric) a happy birthday!
Somehow, during stolen moments when Eric was either on watch, or sleeping, the crew decorated the interior of the boat with bunting flags and a hung up a large handmade Happy Birthday poster. Chef Angela out did herself (again!) by making a pile of yummy crepes topped with homemade fresh apple jam.
We didn’t have any wind during the day, but the calm conditions allowed for a lot of flying fish sightings. Scared by the boat, or perhaps a hungry prey, the fish shot out of the water and flew for a hundred meters (or more!) across the calm sea. The kids truly thought that it was birds they were watching some of the time.
Facing a long day of motoring we arranged for a social swim call with the crew on Sameera just a few miles away from us. We agreed on a common waypoint and meeting time, and we both steamed towards the rendezvous spot. We met up at 2:30 PM and enjoyed swimming and bathing in the warm ocean waters (about 27 deg C). The crew on Sameera launched an inflatable swimming pool raft and lounged behind the back of their boat while some of their older kids swam to our boat for a visit.
Taking advantage of the calm conditions, and the additional kids on board, we decided this was a good opportunity to deploy the MetOcean SVP Iridium ocean drifting buoy. This buoy was kindly donated to Laridae by the manufacture (MetOcean Data in Halifax) as a scientific research and teaching tool. It has internal batteries, GPS, temperature sensor, and Iridium satellite communications so it can drift with the ocean currents, measure the ocean temperature, and report its speed, direction and position every one hour for several years. We are presently working on launching the real-time mapping page on our website, and we hope to provide a link to it shortly after we arrive in Cape Verde.
Just before pulling up the swim ladder and getting back underway, the crew of Sameera swam back to Laridae with a waterproof box containing a freshly backed German apple cake accompanied by a chorus of Happy Birthday songs. This was truly a special way to celebrate Eric’s 29th birthday (ok, so maybe time is counted differently while on long ocean passages), and we are sincerely thankful for the memorable experiences!
Shortly after we started motoring again towards Cape Verde, we were able to enjoy a very special cocktail hour with cold fruity drinks and warm birthday cake. As we were finishing the last sips, we were greeted by a showing of about five small dolphins playing in our bow wake. We have not been able to confirm the interpretation, but we think that their squeaks were also a happy birthday song, but possibly not in English or German.
We continued to motor until 9 PM when the wind filled in from the NE at a steady 10 knots. We happily turned off the motor after 24 hours and unfurled the sails. We are now making slow but again steady progress towards Cape Verde, and we are hopeful that the wind pressure will persist (although at the time of this writing, it has weakened to about 6 knots).
Our total run for Day 5 was 117 miles, and we are hopeful to arrive to Cape Verde about mid-day on the 18th of October.