I processed a few photos from our long 20-day passage from St. Helena. We were never within sight of land until we got to the Caribbean. Trinidad and Tobago were passed at night, so Grenada was our first sighting of land after leaving St. Helena. We only had a few wildlife sightings, so much of our scenery was the boat, the sea, and the sky.
We had two encounters with marine life. The first was as we were leaving St. Helena. We saw what first appeared to be a whale shark, but they were moving too fast. They kept up with us as we were sailing at 9 knots for a few minutes. They were larger than most dolphin (about 25 feet) and tan in color, we saw one of the three which moved along us poke his head out and he had a large bulbous forehead. After consulting our whale & dolphin guide we determined they were “Southern Bottlenose Whales”. We didn’t get a good picture though.Our second marine life sighting was a pod of dolphin off the coast of South America. I was very amused because the reason I spotted them was when I came to the cockpit to check on things a dolphin leapt 10 feet out of the water behind us. They will do this to get your attention when they decide to make a visit and you don’t see them. I ran out with a camera and sure enough there were 10 or 15 of them dancing off our bows. Always a joy to watch them and interact – they are very aware of you watching them and will often stay longer if you talk to them, whistle, and wave at them. We also had several hitch-hikers (only they don’t ask for a ride) – birds. Often during the evening a bird will swoop in and stand on the roof or on a lifeline. We had one very tired bird – the one in the photo – stay for two days. We were 300 miles from any land, so not surprising he was tired. The first half of our journey was downwind and we were very fortunate to have ideal winds of about 15-20 knots. We missed many of the squalls other boats were getting further north. So, we were flying our spinnaker day and night several days in a row. We did have to take it down a few times for squalls though. We had some nice sunsets and sunrises along the way, and I enjoy taking photos with the colorful spinnaker flying.
Much of our sailing up the coast of South America was on a reach with higher winds and lots of overcast and many rain squalls. The boat got very salty at times, and the sails were often heavily reefed. We were making great speeds though, especially with the Brazilian current adding 1.5 to 2 knots. We had several days of 200+ miles covered including 225, 235 and a day later 237 nautical miles! That’s some of our fastest 24 hour runs in the entire circumnavigation! It was no wonder it only took us 20 days and 7 hours to go 3800 nautical miles. We averaged 187 nm a day for the entire trip from St. Helena.And here was our view sailing into Grenada at about 9-10 knots on a reach. We had some fantastic sailing with only two brief half-day periods where we motored in light airs. A great way to finish off our circumnavigation indeed.