07 February 2003

Of dolphins and minestrone

As the Barbara entered the straits of Gibraltar about two hours ago a pod of common dolphins joined us. They have stayed tightly by the bow since. A large school of pilot whales swam westward on our starboard, coal black and shiny. The sun is just about to sink into the Atlantic astern.
Our flag of the dove and the dolphin has just been raised and simultaneously a gin and tonic has been placed on the desk in the wheelhouse.
The Rock is almost abeam: it looks like another but vast cetacean in this familiar profile. A high speed catamaran passes quickly across our bow from Ceuta on the Moroccan coast to Algeciras.
Supper is served in 10 minutes and after that we will put up the two banners - 'shalom' and 'salam' on the bow rail.
Speaking of the table. Johnas the cook is excelling himself.
Once I could speak of food, I told him how fond I am of soup. That of course is neither a
practical dish to prepare nor to eat when the deck is dancing beneath you!!
On that first stormy day the inclinometer recorded 48 degrees.
Anyway those days are past and for lunch he served a fine minestrone soup using some of Malcolm and Debbie's good vegetables. Bon appetit.

David Halpin on the Barbara at 36.33n 0.36w on 84 degrees.