Day 18 at Sea

Wed 14 Dec 2016 18:15
16:25.1N 055:51.2W

This is the 5th day of big seas, we are both tired. James spent the whole night standing in the companionway watching the waves build behind us, even he declared them to be monsters when I joined him. We were being lifted up, up, up, you couldn’t see the sky behind the A frame, it was just a huge wall of water, then we were soaring down the wave into the trough at 16knots, I was terrified to even look out. A few were breaking over the decks so we battened down the hatches and tried to ride it out. It was stifeling in the saloon, we were hot and sweaty at 32deg and it was earily quiet, as we had grown used to hearing the continual roar of the seas being churned in our wake, but as James continued to assess, we just felt the rise and fall motion and the creaking, whilst we were being buffeted. He then turned and declared that we weren’t going to sit and wait for that 100th rogue wave to flip us and not be prepared for it, so it was time to get our worst case scenario in order……Bl**dy Hell! I was dry mouthed and wide eyed, I felt so scared, I had never been in this position before, after all we were only a few days a way from Antigua, and supposed to be sailing in the hot tropics watching the dolphins play in the crystal seas around us?
James firstly prepared the life raft locker, before pulling out the life jackets, going through the workings of both the boats EPIRB and our own personal EPIRBS, filing the waterproof grab bag with radio, sat phone, ships papers, passports, head torch, money/cards and Leatherman and checked the screw top flare box, whistling and humming as he did it….All I was thinking is James rarely whistles. OMG OMG! By early afternoon James decided that we should get moving and not be a sitting duck, he put out a bit more canvas and we started sailing with the waves on our starboard quarter.

We had been checking the weather forecasts and getting our gribs and knew that we were moving from 15 knots to 20knots but we have come to realise that you can generally add another 10knots easily onto those figures. But it was the sea conditions that really shocked me. It was due to abate and ease by midnight…..friggin long day! Especially for James on his 50th birthday. I managed to chop him an apple and give him 3 Baby Bell cheeses, we even had to share the last can of fizzy drink. Water is a bit tight too as the water maker sucks up too much air in these rough seas so we are running a bit low and reluctant to shower until the seas calm down enough. James managed a few hours sleep late afternoon and then we started our 3 hours on and off throughout the night, and yes, the winds slowly reduced to 15knots and gradually the seas also decreased.

So here we are Day 19, sitting having coffee and cereal in the salt crusted cockpit (my first day outside in 3 days), the sun is hot and sticky already. James' birthday has been and gone, he had a can of Ambrosia creamed rice straight from the tin for his special meal, at least he can laugh about it. We are now sailing along beautifully at approx 8 knots Antigua and a long overdue glass of vino waiting to welcome us in 1!/2-2days!