Marquesas – Day 9 – Another big day

Ross

18 April 2010 | Pacific Ocean

We beat the mileage record set yesterday by 7 miles. We sailed 181 miles which is just 11 miles shy of the furthest that the famous Francis Stokes sailed in one day in the same boat (he took second place in the first single handed round the world race and has authored a few books on sailing). The winds were perfect fairly steady and up near 20 knots. We can only hope to keep up this pace for the rest of the trip. I might be jinxing us, but it usually takes boats 20-30 days to do this jump, and at this pace, we’ll be there in just around 20 which is much less than expected. Just before sunset, I grabbed my book to do some reading in the cockpit. As I was coming up the stairs out of the cabin, I noticed my iPod was dead and then noticed a huge black back about 10 feet away from me out of the water. We all jumped on deck and for the next 30 minutes we had a pod of pilot whales swimming around the boat just like the dolphins had. It’s hard to estimate how many were around us they dove for longer and swam deeper. I’d say there were at least 10. At first, we thought a few of them were going to ram the boat. We could see them coming just under the surface of the water directly at our boat and at the last second they’d dive and miss the boat. They were coming up just 10 feet from the boat and we could actually see that they were taking a look at us. Their eyes are located closer to their mouths near the bottom of their heads and set back on their bodies (like they have a huge forehead and nose). In order to get their eye out of the water, they need to get almost their whole head and back out of the water. It’s pretty cool to see this huge black expressionless eye staring right at you. We got a ton of great pictures as they played around at the bow. At one point, one surfaced for a breath just as the boat was falling into the trough of a wave and I saw it’s tail hit the front of our boat just to give you an example of how close they were getting. Nice to get some visitors in the middle of the ocean. We’ve got some great videos that are even better than the pictures. No big change is predicted in the wind..maybe we’ll get another day of 180 plus miles.

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