Greetings from a busy Atlantic

Our delicious breeze ran out at 1500 yesterday , and we have been chugging over glassy seas all night. The indications are that we have crossed the centre of the ridge as the pressure has dropped by 1 mm and there is now a faint breath of wind from the W. We tried sailing at dawn but the wind fell away as soon as we had the sails up, so it was back to the iron topsail ! Fingers crossed for the kite and blissful peace by lunchtime.
As the sun approached the horizon last night we were surrounded by sea life. The shearwaters , which during the day had appeared to be snoozing in sociable rafts , woke up and led us to several large schools of busily fishing dolphins . Bryony then sighted two separate pods of sperm whales , each with an associated group of large active dolphins . In complete contrast to our last passage , these dolphin were too busy to come and play around the bow, and we wonder if they were a different species to the common and spotted dolphin we have seen before.. The ones around the whales were very distinctly dark above and white below , compared with the common dolphin which have a more intricate pattern of colouring. We have tentatively identified them as Atlantic white sided dolphin , even though they are supposed to be rare. The water is covered with a flowery white kind of seaweed which I had never seen before and night watches are enlivened by myriad fish leaving phosphorescent trails like a firework burst in the water as we pass through the shoals. We fished some of the “flowers “ out this morning and they are in fact multiple stalk barnacles floating on a kind of jelly ball. We put one in a glass of sea water and they all opened up and started busily feeding on the plankton . Lets hope they are not shedding babies that are attaching themselves to the hull as on our outward crossing.
If all goes to plan we should be able to turn East onto a rhumb line course by lunchtime. There is a little low predicted to form quite close to us , and this will dictate our course for the next few days , but it should be predominantly downwind . Meanwhile life is pleasant aboard the good ship Festina and at 1200 Z we are passing 42 11N 25 19 W with about 998 miles to run to Belle Isle , 906 to Scilly and only 851 to the Fastnet Rock , so all options are open.
All well.

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