LIFE INSIDE A CEMENT MIXER - DAY 16, Tuesday 7th December (
Thu 9 Dec 2010 09:58
N 14 10 83, W 41 49 53
We have now been going for 16 days and have finally got the Trade Winds which have been so elusive to date. These strengthened through Sunday night and we generally made good progress on Monday 6th, although there were still frustrating periods when the wind drop away without warning. However, with the wind came increasingly choppy seas, heavy swell and the accentuated rolling / corkscrew motion to the boat (which by Monday night and into Tuesday had developed to winds gusting at 30+ knots and now feels like we are living inside a cement mixer), which makes every activity difficult and it is life jackets on, on deck at all times; basic tasks such as cooking, eating and drinking require care to avoid wearing it yourself or throwing it over someone else! (Although, Frosty was having this problem well before the winds and seas picked up!). Also we are now experiencing regular squalls (heavy wind in erratic direction and rain showers), which come up very quickly behind us and disappear as quickly as they appear; it is much fabled by cross-Atlantic sailors that these squalls are an excellent opportunity for a much needed personal clean, but you have to be quick on deck with the application of soap / shower gel, as it is apparently comical watching someone getting fully lathered up, only for the rain to suddenly stop, leaving them having to rub excess soap out of their eyes and cursing the heavens. (N.B. This happened to Willy and Spiller on Monday morning!). Willy spotted dolphins at the same time and a nude, heavily soap-soaked Arian moving swiftly up the deck shouting, "Dolphins" may concern the RSPCA somewhat!
It is hot at this tropical latitude and when the seas are heavy we have to keep the hatches closed (obviously too much water inside the boat is not recommended!); without the luxury of air-con (that some boats will have) and no air-flow, it is can get very oppressive. Sleep depravation is a therefore proving a problem, especially in the heavier seas and the _expression_, "Someone's tired", is certainly now well employed on board Mariposa; if you do manage to get to sleep in the heat & rolling, you are often awoken by being rolled swiftly sideways as the boat pitches or simply being hurled off your bunk, when a large wave hits. In the need for a breeze, Willy opened the hatch above his head on Monday night and therefore, got a rude (wet) awakening and an unexpected face wash when a larger than average wave broke over the boat! Spiller thought this most amusing, until he made the same schoolboy error this morning and got the equivalent of a bucket full of salt water through his hatch, all over his bed....."He who laughs last, laugh longest Rodney"!!!
This morning when Spiller was washing up (there's a shock!), a large wave caused a a plastic breakfast bowl to take flight, smash into the wall opposite and split in two, which takes some force! The sit down, gourmet team meals of the first 2 weeks, accompanied with a glass of wine or two are now a thing of the past (as is the sunshine, as it has been overcast for the last 2 days), as meals have become very basic, with the minimum of prep and are quickly gobbled down to avoid spillage!
I (Spiller) am generally yet to be convinced by sailing as a sport as there is far too much faffage; when the wind is light, there appears little to do (other than sun-bathing, cooking, eating and fishing, which I accept is not too bad, but, you could do this on land and also have the benefit of a comfortable bed and two hot, fresh water showers a day too!) & the crew generally sit around complaining about the slow progress, then put up bigger sails to try and catch the little wind that there may be and then take these sails down again, as there is too little wind to fill them! Then no sooner has the wind picked up but you have to take down the sails again in case the boat gets over-powered, whilst getting thrown around all over the place and getting no sleep......Clearly someone is getting tired!
We now have (only) 1,111nm to go and estimate that at current rate (6 - 7 knts), this will take us another 7 days, so we will hopefully have St. Lucia in our sights by 14th; with friends and family due in St.Lucia from 9th, the wind is much welcomed by the crew, despite the downsides highlighted above.
THINGS SPILLER WILL NOT MISS ABOUT LIFE AT SEA:
1. Having a wet bed!
2. The constant longing for a hot shower, in fresh water.
3. The Skipper's (Rob) increasing propensity for carrying out many daily activities in the naturalist state..... very distressing indeed.
4. Frosty accidentally setting off his 'Man Overboard Alarm' in the middle of the night; as the other 3 jump from their bunks and fling doors wide open, bleary-eyed, Frosty appears casually from up on deck saying, "Sorry, accident!" - Once you can accept......say no more?!
5. With sleep generally proving difficult to come by, Frosty's ability to fall asleep in an instant and immediately start snoring at high decibels; then when he wakes complaining that he couldn't sleep!
6. The Dog Watch (2-5am).
7. The constant urge to tidy up after Rob & Frosty (N.B. Thankfully, Willy is a tidy and clean-aholic like me, so at least our end of the boat is organized and clean!). N.B. I accept that I must be a nightmare to live with too!
8. Willy's awful singing (N.B. A perfect 2 notes off at all times!)
9. Not knowing the score in the Ashes Test Matches (although Kirsty has been good at providing score summary by e-mail).
10. The constant re-calculation of average speed against miles to go!
11. The constant "Movement Ballet'' in the swell.
12. Frosty's builder's cleavage on show continually!
THINGS I WILL MISS:
1. The tranquility of subsistence & being out in the vast ocean, under clear, starlit skies, under sail.
2. Having my mobile phone permanently switched off and no need to know the daily news (other than the cricket score!)
3. Rob, Nick & Frosty.