Sunday, February 22, 2009

International Armada

It's been an eventful day. All the boats started in a line spread over 20 miles, tonight we're motor-sailing within a couple of miles of each other.

We'd always planned to converge, but after two unsettling visits from a couple of over-inquisitive fishing boats, we decided it was time for a mid-ocean rendezvous. The fishing boats approached disconcertingly close, then stayed close-by even after course changes by the yacht. Despite the fisherman's reassurance "I fishing boat not terrorist", their behaviour put us on-guard.

Other ominous events today were a couple of VHF distress calls from the Gulf. Ian was particular spooked as he'd never heard his radio issue a distress alarm before and for a moment didn't know where the alarm was coming from and then didn't know how to cancel it.

Forming the convoy was an event. I quickly caught up with Risho Maru and finally "met" them in daylight, then we drifted together until mid-afternoon when three sails appeared on the horizon and gradually formed the distinct outlines of Antares, Afriki and Helen Kate.

In my excitement at seeing everyone again, I motored slightly too close to greet them and narrowly avoided severing two boats' fishing lines. Fishing and particularly quantity of fish caught has been one of the reoccurring topics of our radio net, so to sever a fishing line, could easily be misconstrued as a provocative act, analogous to the 1970s Icelandic cod war.

The English/Austrian/Dutch/Canadian/Norwegian Armada is complete and hopefully our numbers will discourage any piratical acts.

Tonight I feel like a child at Christmas, almost too over-excited to sleep. It's a beautiful calm star-lit night with four reassuring mast-head lights close-by; normally sailing is enough to keep me occupied, tonight I'll be busy ensuring I don't fall behind, race in-front, wander off to the south or become entangled in another boat. Hopefully we'll still be friends in the morning...

Position @ 12:00 (GMT+5), 22/02/2009: N13deg 57' E057deg03'
Distance to Gulf of Aden: 99
Engine Hours: 2
Daily run: 95

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