We were two days out of Marigot on St. Martins, about two hundred miles from anywhere in the middle of the Caribbean Sea. It had been a good day with lots of sun and little wind. In the morning we had changed to our Parasailor and thus maintained our momentum despite the missing wind.
We had also modified our prototype deck cover to give us more headroom and more shelter – another project that is progressing well through fast prototyping with pegs, ropes and a bed sheet.
We now have a data logger keeping track of both system voltage and fridge temperature so another ongoing project is optimising the one without sacrificing the other. Who would have believed a tenth of a volt plus or minus ciuld be so interesting or that tracking the sun with the solar panels so rewarding.
In the evening we cooked dinner which we ate in the cockpit direct from the saucepan. The only other sign of life was a huge ship just visible over the horizon. Perfect timing allowed us to follow our meal with a glass of chilled wine as the sun set. As we ghosted along in the breeze a pod of dolphins joined us to play at the bow. With the wine finished, thoughts turned to Neill getting some sleep.
And then …
The wind came back. Suddenly the boat was healing and being dragged upwind by a fifteen knot wind in the Parasailor. Luckily we are an experienced team so lifejackets on, boat turned downwind and Parasailor snuffed. At which point the AIS alarm started trilling to let us know the huge bulk carrier was no longer over the horizon but heading our way. Ships seem to be magnetically drawn to us. They have millions of square miles of ocean but always seem to want to pass close by to look at the “little boat”. Or maybe we are just paranoid.
With the Parasailor stowed, the “normal sails” set and after ducking behind the ship we were off again at over five knots. After half an hour of tidying up ropes and dish washing, it was time for a second try at an evening drink – this time a shared can of beer.
And then it was time to switch on the navigation lights and see what the night watches had waiting.