Ambassador 97 – No… not a dolphin

Sailing along yesterday afternoon, an easy 10-knot breeze on the beam, flat seas, clear sky, and I was relaxing in the cockpit with a book. I felt a bit of side-motion on the bow of the boat, like a wake from a boat, so I looked up to see what caused it. I noticed a spot of upwelling water, like a glossy spot, near the bow, and I first thought “more dolphins”, as they leave these glossy spots when they flip their tails to swim. But a second later, I realized the spot was too big for a dolphin, so I though, “a whale?” In the 2 seconds it took to think that, I had sailed past the spot, so I stood up in the back of the cockpit and turned around, to watch if the whale would surface. I saw another big smooth spot, but no telltale blow from the whale. Hunh…  Then something caught my eye in the clear water, right behind the boat, and it was a huge shark chasing me!  It was a great white, maybe 15 to 18 feet long, and coming at me fast. I had all these thoughts in a split second, including a Jaws flashback- I need a bigger boat- and, quick get the camera. But as I reached my arm behind me to get the camera, it dove and swam away.

I’m guessing he was sleeping, and I nudged him awake, and he wasn’t very happy about that. So he gave chase, but soon realized the boat wasn’t food, and left me alone. But I had visions of him jumping out of the water and into the boat, and my heart started beating just a little bit faster for a few minutes…

Other than that, it was a thankfully uneventful day. More turtles still, and some dolphins, too, and a look at some of the southern Mexican coastline as I closed to within 8 miles of it.

There is land effect wind here, meaning as the land heats up in the afternoon, the hot air rises above it, drawing in ocean air. This makes the west wind bend to the southwest along the shore, which is better for me. The evening is the opposite, the air sinks, pushing wind out from the shore. So I find myself weaving in towards shore during the day, and back out to sea at night.

I am feeling very comfortable now, even though I know the NW winds and seas on the nose will come, because I am in familiar territory, and there are lots of anchorages and villages and places to stop and rest along the way if the weather isn’t cooperating. So far so good, and we’ll see how long my luck lasts…

5/13  8am   16.16N   99.04W    6855nm gone   1895nm to go

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