Position: 36° 40’N 046° 25’W
Wind. SW 15knots
Daily run: 159 miles
Sargassum is the thick orange weed that has been ever present since about the half way point on our crossing from the Canaries to the Caribbean. It floats about in great lumps and often gets blown into anchorages harbouring numerous jellies underneath to sting the unwary. That part of the ocean is full of enormous swathes of the stuff. Unlike most seaweed it isn’t initially attached to land. Apparently it caused much sadness in Columbus’s early voyages as the European crew naturally assumed its appearance meant that land was near where in fact they must have been some weeks off. Personally I’m not sorry to see the back of it – jelly fish stinger harbour, tangler of the tow generator, and just the fact that it’s a most unappealing shade of orange.
In its place we’ve been entertained by the most extraordinary flotilla of beautiful jelly fish. Dora (our natural history advisor) tells me they are Portuguese men of war. They are certainly very beautiful. They look like little Japanese rice paper dumplings, with a Cornish pasty style crimping along the top in a stunning pink colour, particularly lovely at sunset. This dumpling is kept anchored by a bulbous deep blue submarine. I’m guessing they are only 20 Cm long and incredibly delicate looking. Yet we see them get flattened by wind and wave and then that beautiful pink pasty edge comes bobbing upright once more. It’s quite mesmerising to watch. They seem to just drift about on the waves at the mercy of the elements, but in huge numbers. If anyone would like to try and add a picture of these beauties and confirm (or correct) Dora’s classification we’d be delighted to see that when we get to the Azores