Just about to get a nap at 1am and the radio crackles into life: "Helllooooo, I'm over heeeeere!"
Emma is hassled last night – by pirates? She sent this report overnight:
‘I am writing this at 1am. It is still pitch black outside. The moon was out for a short while, but is covered by clouds again and there is only 3-4 knots of wind. I’m moving maybe 1-2 knots at a good moment in the leftover chop from the squall today. The boom is swinging uselessly around, and I have just been spooked, really spooked.
‘I had sorted out myself and the boat following the squall, checked for damage – mopped up the mess basically. Just about to settle into a napping routine to catch up after a few tough days. Literally climbing into my bunk, the VHF bursts into life. Not the usual crackle of something far off that you can’t make out but a crystal clear whistle, like someone saying: “Helllooooo, I’m over heeeeere!”
‘Nearly jumped out of my skin. Then I listened again, more of the same. I had a look on deck again. There was just one ship way on the horizon, a very faint light, but that wouldn’t give such a clear signal. Then I went back to my radar and studied that for minutes. I noticed a very small blip inside my radar guard alarm, within a mile away. I looked on deck, no lights in that direction. Odd.
‘Then more noises, whistles and expletives. Must be a small fishing vessel, unlit. Now, at this point I was wishing I hadn’t read the Navarea reports that you get a few of a day, along with Met area reports. Today’s one was the piracy reports about ACTUAL AND ATTEMPTED ATTACKS and where they are. This part of the African coast is near the top of that list.
‘Now with active imagination running riot, I thought I’d give Robin (Pindar team manager, 24hr phone line) a call. Obviously this does not sound great to him, and it is as worrying on shore as it is here! The voice started singing a love song down the radio, so I call Robin back, but the voice has finished by the time I get through.
‘I decide to sail the opposite direction from radar blip with my nav lights off, but at 1 knot it doesn’t do justice to “doing a runner”! After a series of phone calls and just speaking to people, my imagination has begun to settle a little.
‘I am now nearly two miles from this blip and still “running”, but the voice has not piped up since the song, perhaps in a drunken sleep! I should be thankful that he had no idea I was a ‘single chick’ on board, and I promise not to read anymore piracy reports.
‘I’m trying to block that horror movie “Becalmed” out of my mind, but once its there it’s hard to get rid of. I am trying to persuade myself that every creak of the boom isn’t a footstep on my deck. It’s all I can do to stop myself locking the cabin door from the inside! I know I am just tired with overactive brain, but this is not going to help me sleep anymore! Could do with just another 5 knots of wind (not 50)!
‘Roll on the Southern Atlantic trades, and dawn!