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w.o.w. is WOW! (part two)

Posted by on July 22, 2012
Now for the rest of the story!
After the wind and seas subsided, and sick tummies began feeling better, we were able to relax and take in the sights around us. At one point, Wil called out that there were a bunch of little dolphins swimming with us. Upon closer inspection, they were schools of yellow fin tuna chasing flying fish. Just as a flying fish would touch back to the water again, a large yellow fin would gobble it up. Since we already had a large mahi in the fridge, we didn’t have room for more fish, but it was still tempting to try to catch a small yellow fin. Instead of our normal hand line, Wil tried his hand at mimicking the flying fish with a lure on a rod, knowing full and well that if he hooked one, he might lose all the line. But, the tuna were too smart for us.
Other sights that were not so much fun to see . . .

buoys for long lines

many mylar balloons floated past

Our third day at sea was the most exciting, almost to the point of exhaustion! As we continued to motor sail (due to lack of wind), many more dolphins came to swim with the boat. We were dodging some long line buoys when we noticed a few groups of dolphins jumping exceptionally high in the air. From a distance, we applauded their performance.
Suddenly, we had an experience of a lifetime. A huge WOW! Wil spotted whale spouts about a mile off our port side. Yes, that’s how big they were! We could see the spouts from that distance. This called for an immediate change in course. We pulled in the genaker and motored full speed in the direction of the water spouts. As we were focused on following one pod, before we knew it, we were suddenly surrounded by many pods. For the most part, the whales stayed within a safe distance from us. But sometimes, two whales at a time would slowly approach the boat. They would swim right up to us and then dive under at the last second. This was a bit intimidating because they were every bit as long as our boat, and more. At times we wondered if we were going to be showered by their spray.

blow hole of a Fin whale

some were bigger than our boat

Fin whale swimming near the boat

zoom in and you can see the eye!


see the water where these two whales came up next to the boat!

our whale detour on the chart

We played with the whales for about an hour. Then, it was time to return to our course. As we had settled back into a normal sailing pattern, and all seemed quiet again, I got the surprise of my life. I was at the helm, when out of the blue, two more whales suddenly surfaced right next to the boat. I was so startled, I could only point. They were so close that we could have stepped from the boat onto their backs. It was as though they’d come to say a final good-bye, and then they went on their merry way.
My heart slowed to a regular beat again, and I returned my attention to the helm. As I looked to port, a whale of only 1/2 to 3/4 the length of our boat was suddenly and completely airborne next to the boat. By the time I yelled “whale jumping!”, Wil was only able to see the remaining splash. From that moment on, as long as we continued to see whale spouts in the distance, my heart rate remained elevated. For the remainder of the day, we walked around repeating the word “wow!
For much of the passage we would constantly see Great Shearwater birds circling the waters around us. They would skim the waves in such a strong and graceful manner. There was also the smaller Petrel that had a similar flight pattern.

a Great Shearwater skimming the waves

taking a rest

take off

a small Petrel skimmed & touched its beak to the water

On our last night at sea, we knew we were getting ready to cross over the NYC superhighway of shipping lanes. We were so happy to have our AIS and radar working, and we were prepared to see numerous targets moving around us, as well as their lights on the horizon. To our surprise, the only vessel we saw was one fishing boat. All of the 35+ shipping targets remained at least 48 miles from us. A huge sigh of relief on our part!
By daylight of the following morning, we were at the entrance to Buzzard’s Bay. As usual for this trip, we motor sailed up the bay. Immediately, we were greeted with some common sights of the New England area, as well as a much cooler climate.

sailing in Buzzard's Bay

seagull resting on a buoy


lighthouse in Buzzard's Bay

Now, we are anchored in the beautiful little harbor of Pocasset, MA. Due to a thunderstorm with 40-50 knot winds that rolled in just after we anchored, we know the holding is good. We are sitting next to a small, uninhabited island, so it’s quite peaceful. In fact, it’s so quiet, we’d forgotten what quiet really was!
Our entire track for this passage . . .

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