Wed 23 Apr 2014 01:31
Catherine on The Southern Cross said that the last few days of her passage were endured rather than enjoyed, that it was like Groundhog Day, waking up to the same circle of sea domed by the same sky day after day...
It's not been quite like that for me, there are the little differences from day to day - for example I saw a frigate bird this morning, we've not seen them since Galapagos, hopefully a sign that land isn't too far away. But I understand what she means. The spectacular sunrise turns the dark black sea to silver then deep bright blue, just like yesterday. The sky above is a paler blue with the occasional trade wind cumulus passing over, just like yesterday. Just above the horizon there's a ring of those clouds, trying to be animals (with varying degrees of success: a snail whose shell has gone straggly, a rabbit that turned into a swan unexpectedly), just like yesterday. The sun sinks ahead of the main sail, turning the sea silver, and failing to create a green flash as it sets, because of the ring of clouds on the horizon, but looking pretty stunning anyway, just like yesterday. The moon gets lazier and lazier, bothering to get up later every day, leaving the stars to shine brightly for longer as we sail towards Orion, then it follows our path westwards until Venus heralds the arrival of the first Eastern blush, when the spectacular sunrise starts a new day, just like yesterday.
The ring of trade wind clouds around the horizon are curious. Occasionally one passes overhead, turning the sea a darker blue in its shadow, but most of the time the sky above is perfectly clear blue, with the clouds keeping to just above the horizon all around. Are we charmed, the sky staying clear just above us with clouds in a ring all around? If a boat were to run parallel to us, a couple of miles to one side, would they always be under the clouds? Of course, in reality as the clouds are relatively high we are looking across many miles of infrequent clouds, far further than our horizon, all the clouds roughly the same height, so they look like a ring around us. It still makes me feel special though!
So it's all much the same... squalls come through now and then, lulls in the wind leave us rolling a bit, the swell gets up a bit and then down a bit and we spy no ships. Not even a little one. We've seen none for 16 days. We are starting to question the need to keep looking, to keep watch all night, and if we thought logically about the chances of collision we'd just go to bed with the sun and get up in the morning to see where we were. But it's too ingrained, if we tried to just leave her to her own devices we wouldn't sleep anyway. So we keep looking, and keep reporting back to each other: "No ships!"
Day 19: Sour dough pancakes with cherry compote and cream; haystacks (tortilla chips, with chili, cheese, then salad topped with guacamole and sour cream); pizza with artichoke, tuna and anchovies (thanks Wendy on Outsider for the dough recipe).
Day 20: Sour dough pancakes with fried plantain and yoghurt; ciabatta with seared tuna steaks and salad; pasta in a mushroom and cheese sauce.
We had a small emergency yesterday: we had run out of suitable night watch munchies. You'd have thought we wouldn't need to eat at night, having eaten well in the day and as one wouldn't normally eat at night, however, one definitely gets the munchies, especially the second watch of the night, and also, it's a good way of convincing your body that it should be awake when it actually wants to curl up and sleep!
So I sent an SOS email via the radio to Lynda, who I used to work with. The memory of her life sustaining, energy giving sunflower seed supplemented flapjack was haunting me. She rose to the occasion and emailed back the recipe in time for me to prepare a batch before night fall. Emergency over, we can now survive the last two nights of watches for this passage! 250 miles to go...
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