Miranda Merron on the GOR: Fishing boat encounters

Miranda Merron on the GOR: Fishing boat encounters

Sunday October 2 2011 Author: Miranda Merron Location: none selected

Morning,

We have been saiing close to the African coast which has its fair share of traps - small/ unlit fishing boats and fishing nets, and a reputation for opportunistic theft from boats.

Yesterday morning, about 20 miles off the coast, we caught a line joining two fishing buoys around the keel. We started to back down the boat when a small wooden open boat with three fishermen aboard came alongside. They kindly decided to cut the line themselves, so we thanked them and gave them a spare rope we had on board.

They had a large shark and a magnificent swordfish among their catch. Not much later, we sailed over another line, but didn't get caught. Another small fishing boat came over and pointed in the general direction we were headed, so we thought there were more nets, but just a few hundred metres later we came across a huge whale. So far nothing but kindness from local fishermen. And then at the end of the afternoon, a larger rusty hulk of a fishing boat came from some distance away, and aligned itself behind us, and started to follow us. Luckily the wind filled in, and we sailed faster than they could motor. After a while, they gave up. So it was a stressful early part to the night close to land, and it was a relief to reach the relative 'safety' of the shipping route and its AIS-visible traffic (after all my complaining about shipping traffic in the Med...!)

The weather is looking light and complicated. The routing says land, but it is not a good place to sail. There are large cloud masses to deal with as well, and we will shortly be entering one whether we like it or not!

Miranda and Halvard/ Campagne de France 25 22N, 16 12 W

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