I finally spotted my first whale! It wasn’t overly spectacular but so good to see the water spouts and the rounded beige-colored hump that was blowing the spout. No photos, sadly. Another boat reported having a whale breach not far in front of them earlier in the trip. Other wildlife seen has included dolphins fairly regularly, plenty of Portugese Man O’ War jellyfish with their pink-rimmed, crescent-shaped “sails” above the water, and quite a few birds of varying sizes, some quite small and a very long way from land. It really does make you wonder how and why they are out all this way. Sadly we have also seen more human garbage floating on the surface than on any previous passage (plastic water bottles, garbage cans, 5 gal jug, fishing floats, etc.).
We had more great sailing until yesterday afternoon when we finally turned on the engine to maintain a reasonable boat speed. Even then, we kept the sails up and they definitely assisted. Now the engine is off, it is another beautiful sunny day, we have about 10-12 knots of wind just aft of the beam so are making an easy 6.5 knots with full main and genoa, this is THE life! We finally had a go at trying out the Hydrovane self-steering yesterday but didn’t have much success, probably because we hadn’t balanced the boat properly. We will be trying again …. I’m sure it is just a matter of playing with it some more (and improving our sail trim). Meanwhile, the autopilot has been doing a stirling job of keeping us on course.
So, with about 350 miles to go, it looks like we may make landfall later on Tuesday. We are requesting another forecast from Chris Parker as we will probably pass through a front on Monday night so would like to be prepared and position ourselves optimally for it.