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Approaching Ireland

Monday morning: We are underway again after being hove-to in fresh northerlies yesterday. The sun came out Sunday evening for “marlinspike” and Shackle got dressed up in traditional marlinspike attire: a floral shirt and sarong. We’re pretty sure he’s the only guy at sea on a barque at 50 North wearing a sarong, lavalava or pareau. During last Sunday’s marlinspike he probably was also the only guy stowing t’gallants in a 3-piece suit. We are under full sail this morning, making a comfortable 4 knots with the wind on the port quarter. A beautiful sunny day with sparkly seas and building excitement about our arrival in Ireland. The water temperature is a full ten degrees celsius higher here than off Nova Scotia. They say palm trees grow in southern Ireland. Can this be true?

Eric spotted pilot whales this morning on lookout; they came right alongside, under the bow, and hung out with us for a half hour or so. There were 2 babies in the pod, no bigger than 2 or 3 feet tops. They were very cute, trying hard to breach like the grown-ups, but looking a little clumsy and floppy. They’re still learning how to be whales. Nadja had just finished saying how much she wants to see a blue whale, when a blue whale surfaced about 3 ship-lengths away, and stayed on the surface for at least 10 minutes. Our guess was that this whale was at least 80 to 90 feet long. It was enormous and amazing to see even once in a lifetime.

A pretty good Monday morning. We keep wondering how this could get any better, but somehow it does. It has been a great passage and we are almost there.

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