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A (Big) Swell Day

Updated: Aug 27, 2023

Things are much, much calmer the next morning. Although the wind has softened, it is still not in a friendly direction, so we plan to motor around the headland, to pick up the northerly winds. Sunrise is golden, seas are flat – and there’s a little blanket of mist over one of the islands in the bay.

Once out of the bay, though, there is quite a swell. Jan Willem checks and finds it is to do with big winds some many hundreds of miles away. You measure the swell against the horizon – and in knowledge of the dimensions of the ship: we think it is 4m and sometimes 5m. If you look at the picture of the ship with the tilting sea below straighten the horizon and you get a sense of the heel of the boat and the mast – it reached 20 degrees for some part of the day! So it’s blue skies with a rolling swell for most of today.

We make a big enough splash with the bow wave to catch the shadow of the whole of the schooner mast in the foamy wake ….

Before long, we are joined by another tall ship! What are the chances! In all the seas in all of the oceans in all of the world .... the fact that we found each other and sail along for a while together seems amazing to me. It all feels very “Master and Commander-y!” to see two of these beautiful ships at sea together – chasing each other in the open ocean. The Bima Suci is an Indonesian sail training ship which has been in Europe for the tall ships races and is heading off to Vigo en route home.

The naturalists were happy today too. When the cry goes up for “bird”, “bird on deck” or “dolphin” they dash up with their cameras and apps. We saw over a hundred dolphins, a small shark, a terra-cotta coloured ladybird with very many white spots, a stink beetle and two tiny crabs picked up in the nets. The corner of the saloon is a little lab and we were able to get the microscope on the crab in a dish of water, before returning it to the sea. In the close up, you can see one claw particularly well, on the right-hand-side. (the other one is folded up on his/her head)

And the golden glow of the morning returns for the end of the day ....

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