Day 31, July 21, 2010

It is still 400 nm. We are sailing, slowly and it’s sunny. We are experiencing a strong southerly current. There’s a sort of excitement in the air, but nobody openly speaks about arriving in the Azores yet- we are still out here…enjoying each day of this voyage….
And an entry back from July 14- seems weeks ago…
This morning the sky is loaded with clouds, but they keep to the South West horizon. It looks more like one big wallow, rolling over the edge of the sea behind us, slowly growing like puff pastry and catching up with Heraclitus. Is this going to be the wind? We are waiting for wind. Everything is waiting for the action- the bird chatter last night, the dolphins who have been accompanying us for over a week now. Even the turtle who’s massive ancient head appears every now and then from beneath the surface in a safe distance, seemingly taking in the image of the ‘large floating shell’ with lots of noise from the inside, which is us. There are bird feathers floating in the water for days. Small ones- little down feathers and larger ones that may have belonged to a wing. I have never seen anything like this at sea, consistently spread over a few hundred miles.
Since we aren’t obviously moving just now, just drifting with 1.6 knots in more or less the right direction, the crew has started to move more busily around the ship, pacing up and down, looking for stuff, sorting thru their belongings. Not short of pointing out details to each other. People are producing what I call extravagant or at least adventurous cuisine…. Much more attention is paid to what comes out of the galley. There is voluntary cooking and especially baking- just for new sensory experience, new tastes, surprises…the usual suspects tinker long after hours in the galley now, while the rest of us hope for the fairy to pass with whatever got produced.
I want to arrive. I am longing for land, foliage. But not for the price of burning fossil fuel and the roaring of the engine. There is a definite relationship between Western timing and Western technics—this said sailing on an Eastern type sailing rig….
The puff pastry turned out to be a patch of fog, which rolled over us and is now rolling away over the other horizon.
I found out more about the bird feathers– from previous crew member and ornithologist Duarte:
“From your description the feathers that you see on the surface belong to young birds that have left their nests still with down and are now at sea, swimming towards some feeding grounds and replacing their down feathers to proper flight, fully fledged plumage. All petrels and shear waters feed their young up to a certain point then when it is fat and ready, they abandon it and the young chick must make its way down to the water and swim (and fly) out to sea instinctively following its parents to a feeding area. At this time of the year some Northern breeding species have left their nests, so the down feathers, as they fall from the young bird, just float on the surface until eventually get wet and go underwater.”

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