Day 45
The wind dropped overnight and the white caps on the waves have disappeared. It is an ideal sea state in which to spot animals.
We saw a few dolphins early on today, then a whole school of them (30?) a while afterwards. Actually, they saw us really because they all swam towards us, swam around our bow for ten minutes, and carried along their way. We saw two whales blow about 300 metres away but they had dived by the time we reached them. More dolphins later passed our bow on the starboard but we didnt motor over to them, they looked to be occupied in some task and were ignoring us. Then we saw two sei whales. We tracked them for some minutes but they proved elusive as well. They kept changing direction underwater so would pop up in unexpected places! Late in the afternoon we spotted a sperm whale. It has been a good day for megafauna (my new favourite word).
We did get close enough at one point to the whales to gather a sample of water from where they had been swimming. We squirt 500ml water through a filter on the end of a syringe to capture their DNA. These filters are then frozen and saved for future analysis.
We are officially out of the Tropics having reached latitude 26°N. The Tropic of Cancer is at 23.5°N and the Tropics are the area that extend from the Equator to the Tropic of Cancer. Today we are on the same latitude as the Canary Islands, a favourite of many English holidaymakers. It will take about a further five days for us to reach the Azores, our next landfall. The Azores is an established whale watching centre and we are hoping for good things. The air temperature has been dropping slowly as we make our way northwards. I used my duvet last night for the first time for many weeks. The sea temperature has also dropped from 28°C at the equator to 21°C here.
Now that the wind has dropped and we have started the engine life on board is easier. I can report that tea making is much easier now.