Westward bound

Wed 21 Sep 2016 05:56
02:13S 149:47E
We hoped for wind, which is a bit silly seeing we're so close to the equator. Thunder rumbles around the horizon, the sun beats down and the flags hang limp.

It is intensely beautiful: silvery reflections on an ocean so blue that I finally fully understand what blue really is. A few months into this journey when I told my friend Joy that I was turning brown, a new experience for me, she set me straight. "Sara," she said "you are not brown. Brown is chocolate, brown is HP sauce, brown is mud - what you are is just no longer white." I thought I knew what blue was, eyes and sky and babies' blankets, then I knew it was also sun filled depths and blue grey clouds, purple blue like red cabbage with vinegar and the tell-tale blues of sandy shallows. But those were all shadows of blue, echoes of blue, here, in the deep calm equatorial waters of Papua New Guinea, I look over the side and I know blue.

I also know hot. With no wind to cool us it has been intense. We turned Lochmarin from a ketch into a cutter, sacrificing the mizzen sail for the sake of the little patch of shade the cockpit awning can give us. I went below for a while to try to snooze, get a headstart on rest before night watches begin, and I lay there, my arms and legs spreadeagled to allow as much air to circulate as possible and I considered whilst I felt the tickles: if I lay very still, and was on a plain sheet, when I got up there would be a perfect outline of my body, like those of chalk in murder investigations, from where the sweat had dripped from every part of me.

It's pretty peaceful here. We drift along with the current at one or two knots until the sails start to slat then Phil puts the engine on for a while. Behind us our fishing line cuts the silver surface of the sea, on either side the occasional flying fish can't be bothered to quite lift his tail from the water, leaving a widening wake behind him as he goes for hundreds of meters, uninterrupted by waves. Ahead at the bow, frequently, the dolphins play. Dwarf spinner dolphins at first, then as we got further from land, bigger Pantropic Spotted Dolphins. During our drifting phases they seem to just hang out nearby, you can hear them coming up for air, as they fish and socialise, waiting for us to put the engine on again so they can bow ride. There's no point in them going off to look for another boat to play with - apart from the odd bamboo log floating by there's nothing for miles and miles around.

I'm not sure where we'll stop next nor quite when we'll get there at this rate. But we're heading West and keeping moving: we'll arrive somewhere sometime.

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