One day I had a surprise when I saw a long low island in the foggy mist. By my reckoning the nearest land was 360 miles away. Then it moved. The fog had thinned, and this was a big swell looming in the mist half a mile away. The Grand Banks seem wrapped in romance after the turbulent Atlantic. One night, sailing through a calm sea with the moon behind fine clouds, a bird flew overhead, making queer squeaky mewing sounds, as if it wanted to talk.
Once I was nearly becalmed, and thought that I would try for a fish, as I was on the greatest fishing grounds of the world. My line had not been down long and I was below, when I heard a sort of deep sigh, which brought me up into the cockpit. Four whales were just diving, their backs above the surface. I could have prodded the nearest with my boathook.
Atlantic Map Google Earth Photo Gallery
They looked awfully black, sleek and powerful, and the thought flashed through my brain, ‘Are you friendly?’ When I looked round there were about 100 of them near. I hurriedly hauled in my log line, arid then I took in my fishing line; those backs seemed a broad hint that I was poaching. As I watched, I got the impression that the whales were in a number of small groups which one after the other sent one whale to inspect Gipsy Moth until at the end after ten or fifteen minutes they all dived like one and vanished. I did not really wish to catch a fish after living alone for a month; I remember that Slocum could not shoot a duck in the Magellan Straits although he was short of food.
On 8 July, excitement; after twenty-seven days of calling in vain on my R/T, I had an answer! It is true that I closed the land to within 40 miles of Cape Race, Newfoundland, but I got through a message to Chris Brasher in London. It was a Saturday morning and I felt that he would urgently need some news for the next day’s Observer. I had an odd feeling of excitement in speaking to someone after four weeks’ silence.
Next day ended the fourth week of the race. Gipsy Moth had sailed as she should, like a horse picking up its heels and going full stretch.
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