It was a fast ride along the north coast of South America. I had my best run of the entire trip; I sailed 163 miles in 24 hours (thanks to strong currents). Even after sailing for 24,936 miles, day in and day out this Albin Vega still has some life left in her. I enjoy pushing a boat hard under the right circumstances but I don’t do it too often as its best to go slow and steady when you have such a long journey to complete. Well the old girl still has some pep in her step! Maybe I should take St Brendan around for a second lap.
Sometimes good things come out of a bad situation. I’ll never forget that freighter that nearly got me. To look out and see very bright red and green light and in between a huge black bow towering over me is an image I will have burned into my brain forever. After I turned I felt like everything was going in slow motion and for 30 seconds I thought I was going to be smashed into little pieces. It wasn’t until the last 10 seconds that I knew I would be safe. Even then I got slapped by the bow wake. This trip isn’t over until I’m safely tied off to the dock in Annapolis. I decided to spend some time to trying to resurrect my AIS. Once an electronic devices is dead usually it’s good as garbage. But, I took apart the AIS and cleaned the circuit board soldered about 10 connections. Trying to do detailed solder work on a moving vessel would be hard for a pro and I’m certainly not a professional when it comes to soldering. I even climbed my mast in 5 foot seas and took apart and soldered the connection to the mast head antenna. It would have been a joke to see me up there if it wasn’t for the fact I was holding on for dear life. I didn’t think I would get the AIS working again, but after 10 hours of messing about I turned the unit on and hot damn if it didn’t work again! I successfully brought my AIS back from the dead and she’s working pretty good. Every eight hours or so the AIS freaks out and I have to turn it off then turn it back on, but then it works fine. 30 minutes after I got my AIS fixed my wind generator stopped working as if I’d disturbed some kind of balance. The next day I rewired the wind generator and now its fine. For a single hander there’s nothing quite like a good wind vane and a working AIS.
I haven’t been fishing since Recife. Right before my resupply I had a 3-4 foot Mahi-Mahi swimming right next to my boat. I had modified a bow and arrow so I could shoot an arrow and pull it back onboard with a special line. It’s mostly for entertainment. Sometimes I shoot an arrow at flotsam as it passes by. I also thought it would come in handy if I wound up in a life raft. So I see this Mahi two feet away just swimming alongside the boat. I grab the bow and pull back my arrow, just then the sun comes out from behind a cloud and the fish became the most beautiful color of blue. I stopped for a second and began to think twice about killing such a beautiful creature. Then a second Mahi popped up next to the first. Mahi-Mahi are one of the only fish that mate for life – I’m not saying a fish can fall in love, but once together they are inseparable until death. All of a sudden I realized that if I killed this fish then the other one would spend its life roaming the ocean alone. I know what that feels like and I couldn’t bring myself to kill it. Man I must be getting soft if I can’t even kill a fish. Then again I had just ate and I usually don’t fish on a full stomach. Ever since the intercontinental convergence zone there has been so much sea weed that fishing is nearly impossible. It’s that bushy sea weed. If you ever sailed from the Caribbean to the mid or upper east coast you’ve seen it before. It grows until around 25-28 north.
I haven’t seen many dolphins this trip. My last trip I saw hundreds. I was about 90 miles off the coast of French Guyana and I saw a species I’ve never seen before. They were brown with long slim mouth and a pink belly. The odd thing was that most of them had some kind of lamprey or suckerfish attached to them. The suckerfish were bone white with a little purple around there edges and a good 1-2 feet long. I’ve never seen a dolphin with a big sucker fish attached to it and I can’t figure out how the suckerfish could catch the dolphin in the first place as they don’t look very fast. Well the dolphins were jumping and playing with St Brendan for over an hour. Nothing warms the heart like playful marine life.
I passed within 5 miles of Barbados last night. So close, yet so far away. I didn’t get much sleep as I was afraid that the wind might shift and leave me on the beach. I’m finally getting back into familiar waters. Man it’s been a long time! I would like to thank Gillian and Diane at Crosby for all their help with PR. They have really helped us get the word out and raise money for CRAB. My next waypoint is off Antigua then I’m off to Hatteras.