There goes the shoe
Sat 12 Feb 2011 12:03
Day 8, Saturday, 12.02.2011, 12:00 UTC, 19:33.75N, 29:21.28W, 24ÂC, 1021mBar
To me, one of the most amazing aspects of human physiology is how the ability to detect annoying sounds improves dramatically as soon as you assume a horizontal position. For example, when I stand in front of my berth and listen everything seems quiet. But as soon as I've climbed over the sea-cloth and made myself comfortable in my little nest I hear them. The little annoying bings and bangs and clongs. And I swear they haven't been there a second before! And when I get up to check them out they are gone. The only way I can locate them is to lie down again and wait a little, then have a careful look around with the flashlight. It's like hunting for little monsters. I propose that further research be carried out on this topic. It has paramount importance for humanity and is sure worthy of a Nobel price, though I'm not sure whether it's in the category Medicine, Psychology or Peace.
On the boat nothing has changed much. Every day I check all the moving parts, and every day I'm surprised at what I find. Like yesterday I found out that I'd almost lost the tiller because the screws had worked loose (The tiller is vibrating slightly from little turbulences at the rudder.) I was just in time to screw them back together, and now I used nuts with a little plastic ring. I've also marked the place with silver sticky tape for further inspection. I'm doing this to all the places on the boat that are giving me trouble, like lockers that don't stay properly shut or lines that chafe. The idea is to remind me of each problem on my daily inspection and also that I see them every day and so fix them before the next trip. It's good to write the things in a book too, but "paper is patient".
The wind is still 20-30kn from the North-East, turning more easterly as I get more west. I've only the genoa out and stay cloe to the 20th latitude. Still doing around 180nm per day. From the grib files it looks like the wind will go down a little on Wednesday, which I wouldn't mind at all. At the moment the cockpit is too wet to enjoy staying in, and every few hours a larger wave brakes over it in which case it's even a little dangerous. Yesterday I just happened to be forward of the sprayhood, checking the blocks on the runners, as one of those waves payed a visit and swept me off my feet and towards the open sea. I held tight to the runner so I wouldn't bang against the rail, and I was clipped in anyway and couldn't have gone overboard (but easily broken a rip). But it managed to tear the shoe of my right foot and took it overboard. That will be quite embarassing, walking into the Marina office in St. Martin with only one shoe ;-).
So unless I'm working on something or giving the autopilot a break I stay inside and stick only my head out every half hour or so. The radar-detector and AIS do a wonderful job at looking out for commercial vessels, and there is no big need to worry about sail-boats because they all go in the same direction and at pretty much the same speed. Not that I've seen any. Visibility is only 3nm because of the high waves, and by far the most common thing to see are dolphins, which come by at least every other day.
By the way, the first third of the trip is behind me now. Iâm already eagerly eying the little cake for the half-way celebration in a few days. Very tempting. Maybe I should better hide it from plain sight.