Day 24: Things that actually go bump in the night

Today’s sunrise was a treat. It showed signs of some weather coming my way.
Sure enough, a light SE developed, and my paddling load started getting a little lighter, which my back is very grateful for.
It was a pretty standard day. No distractions. No headwinds. Just a good day on the water. I mixed up the routine and did 1 hr blocks with a 15min break. It worked quite well, but I often got back to paddling after 20min. The nice thing about that is it does not really matter whether you start 5 min later or not.
I have become addicted to these Jungle Oates bars. Unfortunately, they are full of sugar but are a firm favourite
Just after sunset the other night, while I was eating chicken and couscous, I heard a loud noise like a whale 🐳 breathing out right next to me. I turn around to see a couple of pilot whales going in the opposite direction. I ducked into the cabin, grabbed my phone, and tried to video them. Poor light and distance meant I could only record a dark shape for a brief second.🎥
It reminds me of a night sailing back from Rio after the ’93 race on the yacht Argonaut (currently doing this Rio race) when we had an encounter with a pilot whale.
On board was my brother, Anton, and his friend, I think his name was Dave. My mate Ken was meant to be with us but had to fly back to SA after we got stuck in a place called Paraty. A stunning village south of Rio in the “Bay of a Thousand Island”. 🏝
The most notable thing about this village is its cobblestone streets that the sea would flood at high tide. It was built this way so the rubbish would be swept away when the tide receded. As the name indicates, this used to be a pirate village.☠
Anyway, I digress again. Dave was not much of a sailor. I am not sure he had ever sailed before. He was seasick for the 27 days it took to get to Cape Town baring three days; he wore a little anti seas sick plaster behind his ear. Basically, the poor chap was useless to us, and I can vouch for those patches that are no longer available in SA for some reason.
One night with the spinnaker up, we were cruising along when we hit something. The boat juddered. We looked at each other with wide eyes. My first instinct was to check the bilges for water and possibly damage.
Faak the bilge was full of water. WTF! Spinnaker down. Anton and I had a royal battle dousing the kite and getting it back on deck. I think it was while we were on deck that we either saw Pilot whales or concluded it was a pilot whale. Whatever we hit was not a hard object like a log or a container. Softer and not big like a real whale.
Rushed back below and removed more floorboards. More water. Bilge pumps on. Buckets at the ready.
Finally, we were winning the fight against the water, and soon the bilge was empty. Checked the keel bolts. No water is coming in. We could not find any breach in the aluminium hull. So, where did the water come from?
It took quite a bit of investigation, and finally, we traced the water ingress to an electric conduit from the anchor locker. When I opened the locker on the deck, the fenders jumped up and out as if something had frightened them.
The anchor locker was full to the brim with water. The water coming over the bow went straight down the chain pipe. There was no drainage hole in the locker, so it filled up and overflowed through the electric conduit into the main hull. We managed to empty the locker and seal the hause(?) pipe.
I wonder what happened to the poor pilot whale. I do hope he survived our encounter.
Co-ordinates: -21.154020° latitude -2.587030° longitude
Breakfast: yoghurt & nuts
Food: homemade spicy pumpkin soup & couscous
Junk: popcorn, biltong, Jungle Oates bars