Transatlantic: Day 18 [Day 39]

Winds have sort of returned. We have enough to keep our sails full, our wind steering on course, and the sense of movement through the water, but not at any real speed that you feel your direct attention is needed at every single moment.

This kind of slow and comfortable sailing is actually my favorite. Nothing happens fast, nothing is really important, and everything is easy to handle. The winds are light enough that full sails can still be managed without the aid of a winch, but you have enough wind to keep the sails full, even when moving through the seas. The winds are also too light to actually create large seas so the boat doesn’t actually ride up and down waves. Instead, it just looks impressive as the bow slices through the waves and the water parts around the front of the boat. It looks really good but it’s not really that impressive of a feat.


While out in these conditions, a whale surfaced near the boat and Maddie was able to get a picture of him. At first glance, I thought it was a Minke Whale because of the size of the whale, as well as the size and position of the dorsal fin. Once we made landfall and had access to literature on whales, we now strongly believe it was a Northern Bottlenose Whale.


You can sort of see the beak of the whale under the surface of the water in the picture above. In the picture below, you can see this weird hump on the head which was characteristic of a Northern Bottlenose Whale as well, and not a feature of the Minke Whale. The whale surfaced around us a few times and it felt truly magical. Here we are out in the middle of the ocean and the whale decided to surface next to us!


The whale could easily see us at the surface and chose to reveal itself to us at that point. It could have easily surfaced far away from us where we might have heard it but never seen it. It could have also surfaced once and then dived back down and out of sight, but instead, it remained near us for a few minutes, watching us as we watched what it was doing.


Today was absolutely magical! We had enough winds to feel like we were being productive, and then we saw a whale out in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean! We are as far from any whale watching tour possible and got to see a whale in their natural environment, where they spend most of their lives, in the deep blue.

To top the day off with an extra special amount of magic, the moon rose while the sun was still up.

I know this will sound childish, and even after studying celestial navigation, I still feel that the sun belongs in the sky by day and the moon in the sky by night. On moonless nights, I feel like if something vital is missing; likewise, on days when the moon is out I find myself looking at the moon and thinking: “You aren’t supposed to be up there yet!”

Every time I see the moon by day, that childish thought rolls through my mind. On the flip side, that thought makes me notice the features in the sky!