Position as at 18.30 GMT:
11 deg 22 min south, 140 deg, 56 min west
We left the anchorage at 11.00am yesterday and had another group of dolphins leaping out of the water all around us – the photo above was taken by Peter from our dinghy when we left the village a couple of days ago. More impressively, an hour later as they were reefing Stormvogel as we left the shelter of the island, Peter and Heidi had a huge (more than 10m long) whale alongside. It gave Heidi quite a shock as she looked over her shoulder to see a large eye gazing at her! Unfortunately they didn't have a camera to hand.
We've had a really good first night at sea and even managed to get some off-watch sleep (usually a struggle on the first night). On watch there was plenty to look at – a perfect star-scape gave us both the chance to look up a few more constellations in the book. The Southern Cross was incredibly bright as, although the Milky Way spreads across the sky behind it, the Cross sits in front of a dust cloud known as the Coal Blanket so its four stars shine strongly.
Behind the boat our wake was full of phosphorescence which is quite mesmerising. Looking over the stern there's a 2ft wide glowing trail, deep in the water, where the keel and rudder have passed but on the surface there are hundreds of bright points of light tumbling in the wake, like fireflies.
The sailing, so far, has been good – a nice Force 4 easterly so we are beam-reaching on a broadly south-west course towards the Tuamotus. At this rate we should arrive at the Takaroa atoll on Sunday morning.