3rd June 2008

Elemiah's Atlantic Adventure
Ian Cole and Rosemary Bointon
Wed 4 Jun 2008 03:50
Today was more prosaic than the wild excitement of the launch and naming yesterday.

We had a good start to our day by watching the masts go in. It was fascinating: all these people with skills that we never see when we work in our offices. Things like knowing exactly where to put the strop so that the crane lifted up the mast and balanced it perfectly upright. Then the mast could just slide straight down into its seat. Shrouds attached and the job was done! Twice over of course because Elemiah is a ketch and has two masts. She looks like a real sailing boat now.

We also spent a long time watching the jelly fish over the edge of the jetty. There were small white ones and big red ones - two different kinds rather than baby ones and grown up jelly fish. We had a debate on why there were so many in such cold water - surely they just live in warm water? But everybody assures us that they come into Nova Scotia at this time of year so they obviously don't mind cold water as Nova Scotia is bathed in the Labrador Current and so the water is still really cold - that's what makes for the notorious fogs. Another question - apart from humans, what eats jellyfish? The answer is apparently turtles. Jelly fish can sting and some varieties can even kill a human.

The rest of the day involved sorting out our tool kit and making sure that the order for life jackets had gone through. We have bought a kind of life jacket which is very thin and so does not impede your movements. It inflates automatically if you fall in the water and if you land face down, you will automatically be turned over. Having rescued you from drowning, it then protects you from water torture by waves and spray with a spray hood which comes over your head. The spray hood might protect you from being stung by a jelly fish as well but it doesn't say that on the packet.

I have just finished reading Life of Pi by Yann Martel, given to me by Nicole- thanks Nicole!. It's a novel but it seems to owe quite a lot to the real life story of Steve Callahan, told in his book Adrift which was the previous book that I read. They share the theme of surviving in a life raft for an incredible number of days. I also read the case of The Queen v Dudley and Stephens, 1884, obligingly given to me as a parting gift by Udi from DLA Piper's Birmingham office. This case is about cannibalism in a life raft. Just the types of book to scare yourself silly with before embarking on an Atlantic crossing - really scary and gory.

They did give me ideas for what to put into the grab bag (that's the bag you grab when you abandon ship and get into your life raft) but I don't think I'll tell any of the rest of the crew about them - well at least until we have cast off.

The battery on the camera needs charging so photos will follow tomorrow.