9 January 2014

Jan 9th By 1900 last night the wind, which had swung round to come ahead of us, had fallen away light and we were barely moving. By 2100 we were not moving at all and I had to drop the sails. A cargo ship the Happy Success passed about a mile ahead of us at this time headed from San Lorenzo.

There was no wind all night. Before I got up in the morning the first thing I noticed was that we weren’t moving all that much. There was some swell, as you would expect 150nm from land, but it was slighter than it had been for some time. I thought it would be a fine chance to have another go at the goose barnacles.

I had some breakfast and rigged lines around Elsi to pull me down on then got all suited up. I had a look over the side. There were two small black and blue striped fish swimming under us. Wasn’t that the kind that followed the sharks and kept their skins clean? I couldn’t see any sharks so thought I would just go for it and was in the water by 0700. I worked for about an hour and got a fair bit done in that time. The worst clumps were on the keel and on the weld where the hull met the keel, rather than on the flat of the hull. So they were a bit trickier, and took more time, to get off.

I went right round both sides and after an hour I’d had enough. I didn’t want to stay in so long that I got too tired and couldn’t get out and I was well pleased with what I’d got done anyhow. I got out and treated myself to a Mars bar and a long drink of fresh water. Alyson says goose barnacles are a tapas specialty in parts of Spain. I didn’t gather any but I’d be intrigued to try them at some time.

There was still no wind so we just had to sit wallowing around. There was a lot of stuff floating around us. There were huge numbers of baby Portuguese man o’ wars, thousands of them. There must have been a mass spawning, as they were great carpets of them all over the place. Tiny crabs were swimming among them and a small thing like a sea snake about four inches long. Yesterday I’d found a live moth tucked up under the helm and today there were quite a number of his relatives floating feet up among all the man o’ wars. Because there was so little wind the surface was glassy and in those patches it appeared to be covered in what looked like dust but I assume was some kind of spawn. Hopefully not goose barnacles.
I’ve seen more plastic floating this morning than I’ve seen the whole trip so far. Carrier bags, wrappings and loose strips all just in the small patch of ocean we were floating in. Not sure why it should be worse here.

By 1300 the lightest of breezes had come up from the east and I pulled up sails. Now at 1400 we are moving but only just. I can hear the sails flogging a lot. I’d best go up and see if it’s worthwhile keeping them set.

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