Message In A .... Pigeon?
20 May 2011 | North Atlantic
So, today we had hoped to start our transit of the Straits of Gibraltar but, due to having headwinds for the past twenty four hours, it is not to be! So, as we have been bouncing into the oncoming swell and wind, we received a visitor, in the form of a racing pigeon that has dropped out of some race and decided that flight is bad and catamaran sailing is good!
So, we have pigeon 2010#200689 (pictured above and with a green band), sitting on one of our empty diesel cans, enjoying the ride. We have no idea where he is meant to go but, if it is Spain, he is in luck! Anybody reading the blog who can trace his owner? He landed on the boat at 15:00 local time (20 May 2011) at position 35 degrees 27 minutes north, 008 degrees 04 minutes west.
And back to the transit of the Straits of Gibraltar. Since yesterday afternoon we have had headwinds, varying from 24 knots down to 18 knots, directly on the nose. Basically, we should have been able to get through the straits during tonight and tomorrow morning. However, we have been going so slowly that the transit will only happen tomorrow night into Sunday morning. As I type this, we have about 90 nautical miles to go to the western entrance to the straits. We already know that the winds in the straits are out of the east, which means it will also be a slow transit with a lot of banging and bashing into the oncoming seas - catamarans do not like those sort of conditions!
Thanks for the readers who have sent me updates of the Libyan situation. All of it is very relevant as we need to make the decision of how to pass the area without whacking an unlit refugee boat at night or getting tangled up with some conflict with warships involved. As we progress towards the area, we will reassess the situation, taking the predicted winds and weather into consideration, together with what we have been told. Please note that only a few people know my email address used whilst at sea - it is not the one on the right of this page! Emails to that address can only be accessed whilst I am ashore.
So, as we are all bored and waiting to get into a port for a day or so, nothing really is happening on board. The excitement for the day is the pigeon landing on board (and still enjoying the free ride) and, believe it or not, an empty Styrofoam box floating in the sea, that we passed. A very exciting day, don't you think? Ah, I hear you think, they really have lost the plot!
So, as Josh prepares the pigeon and I make the pie pastry, I bid you well until we have reached the Mediterranean Sea, which should be only a day or two from now. Regards from the motley crew - John.