Serendipity on the high seas!

Ok, another day at sea.  So what to talk about? 

Well, first, perhaps a photo of a sunrise.   “Not again Bob… Enough!  

Sorry but there is not a lot more to take photos of when all that is out there is “water, water everywhere”.

Taken from another, closer vantage.  Amazingly dramatic.

There is a modest amount of wind but it is directly behind us so nothing to do but motor.  Besides, no reason to dawdle as it is, after all, a delivery.

We had a good sail for much of yesterday and ran our big code zero sail, perfect for wind under 15kts.  Unfortunately, the sheet, which is very thin and lightweight, chafed on the main boom.  Fortunately, Peter noticed it before it gave way.  Wrestling that big sail in without a sheet would have been messy. 

As of late afternoon, the wind dropped to less than 10kts and shifted to the north.  And as Pandora is not really set up for sailing dead down wind, we cranked up the engine.   This is fine as I always count on motoring a good deal of the time when on passage.  If I were to do a transatlantic, I would have to get a pole to hold out the jib so I could run wing and wing and have better dead down wind performance.  There is just no way to carry enough fuel to make a run across the Atlantic unless you are prepared to sail on nearly every point so sail you must, even if it is S-L-O-W.

Anyway, we have been motoring since late afternoon and expect that we will continue to do so until we reach the easterly trade wins, perhaps late tomorrow, Thursday.  From then on, we should have excellent conditions for sailing as much as 600 miles with moderate winds on the beam.

As I have mentioned in prior posts, we often go for days without seeing another boat but as we passed Bermuda, we passed, or more often were passed, by others, going to or leaving from Bermuda, bound for points south.

Late yesterday evening a big sailboat that had been gaining on us for the last few hours, hailed us.  “Pandora, Pandora, this is Nijad”.

I was off watch but heard the call and answered it.  He had just called to say hi but I somehow recognized the voice on the radio and asked who it was.  It turned out to be someone I knew, Jim, who had been the manager of the Deep River Marina where I had hauled Pandora for many years.   Jim is now retired but delivers boats in his spare time.   

For those who follow this blog, you have heard me gripe about a big marina company that has been buying up yards all over.  Well, they purchased that yard in Deep River some time back and in speaking to Jim last night, I will admit that I expressed sadness that the yard where we had met was no longer the friendly place that it had been.  He was very circumspect with his answer “well, things change”.  An understatement if there ever was one.

They are on their way to the BVI, where the owner, not on board, has a mooring.   What a small world. It is unusual enough to see a boat but to see one that has someone on board that you know, very unusual.

A few hours later, around 02:00 this morning, I contacted a tanker that was going to cross our bow, too close for comfort.  As a rule, I always reach out to any boat or ship if their CPA, Closest Point of Approach, is going to be less than 1.5 miles.  I contact them, explain the situation, and ask what they would like me to do.  Inevitably, the big ships tell me to “maintain course and speed” and they will alter course and go around me.   By and large, they are all very friendly and happy to help and often express gratitude that someone is paying attention.  Perhaps I am also bringing some excitement into their day when not a lot is happening.

So, I called T Matterhorn, a 600’ tanker and asked for instructions.  The skipper, or in this case, the second officer, said that he would alter course and give us a wide berth so not to worry.

Then, uncharacteristically, he (Karan) struck up a conversation with me.  He was asking, why there were so many small boats so far out in the ocean.  I explained that we were participating in a rally from the US to Antigua.  As he made his way east he must have gone right through the main part of the fleet.   Where we were, there really was nothing within sight for us.  I expect that he sees more as his radar is likely much more powerful than mine. One way or the other, he had been seeing a lot of boats, much more than is typical.

Wait until he sees this tracking map.  Pandora, one of many, many boats out here, one of the most easterly ones in the middle. Not sure, check out the fleet tracking map and cllick on Pandora.

He then goes on to ask many questions about what we are up to.   How many boats were with us?  Where did we depart from? Where are we going?  Do we have engines?  What do we do when the weather turns bad (pray, for one) and other questions, who is on board, who owns the boats etc.  This whole topic is so foreign to him and I enjoyed sharing information with a willing listener.

He was particularly interested I where we were going and what we planned once we got there.   I did say “parties”.  I think that he likes that idea. 

I gave him my email address, the address of this blog as well as the address for the Salty Dawg website so he can learn more about what we do.

Before we went our own separate ways, I asked where he was headed. Answer: Lavera, France in the Mediterranean. Now, that’s a place I’d like to go with Pandora. Will it happen? Who knows. There’s always a tanker… 🙂

When we signed off, I wondered if he would write to me and the next time that I checked my email, perhaps an hour later, there was a note from him.  He gave me his name, Karan Bhanushali, second officer for T Matterhorn and that he enjoyed speaking with me and had many questions. 

He also said that if I ever wanted to visit India, where he lives, I was welcome to visit.  And, that he plans to be in the US next year to visit friends and would love to meet. 

Frankly, I think that would be very interesting and hope that we stay in touch.   

I am not sure where he was heading but Matt thinks he heard him say that he was on his way to France. 

Will we connect again one day?  Who knows, but the experience really struck me as quite remarkable, two boats on the high seas, with someone aboard that I know or sort of know now, in a single night hundreds of miles from anything.   

The ex-manager of a boat yard in CT where I have had work done on Pandora for a decade, and an officer on a freighter that just happened to be passing by as we make out way south.  Who would ever guess?

So, what next?

Perhaps I will get a ride on a tanker?  That would be fun. many years ago my late father said, “Bob, wouldn’t it be great to see Gibraltar from the deck of Pandora?” What the heck, how about Lavera, France in the Med, wherever that is. I might even settle for that view from the deck of a tanker. Answer: Lavera, France in the Mediterranean. Now, that’s a place I’d like to go with Pandora. Will it happen?

No idea but it is certainly something to look forward to and an example of just how much serendipity can play a role in our lives.  Right place, right time?  Time will tell.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *