Skipper Stands Accused of Neglecting Blogfans

Mina2 in the Caribbean - Where's The Ice Gone?
Tim Barker
Fri 13 Apr 2012 07:22

Skipper Stands Accused of Neglecting Blogfans


Position:  29:18S 048:39W

Date & Time :  13 April 2012 0400 (0700 UTC – 0800 BST)


Well we’re still alive – not that you would know it from any blog postings I’m afraid. And I don’t really have any excuses except that I’ve been a bit busy with this and that, and when not busy I’ve been catching up with sleep.


I last posted three days ago when the wind had swung to the northeast and we were having to tack back and forth, but we were enjoying life in a gentle ocean swell. Well, things changed. The wind picked up, and then the sea built. The wind was only Force 6 – a mere zephyr compared to what we’ve grown accustomed to over the last few months - but beating straight into it we were having to live at a permanent 25 degree angle whilst at the same time the boat was surging up the steep waves and then plunging into the troughs. After 36 hours of coping with these conditions, it was becoming tiresome. The problem was that the forecast had changed significantly and it was now forecast to stay like this for a further four whole tossing, bone-crunching days. Worse than that, much stronger gale force winds were forecast towards the end of the four days and at that point we would be in the middle of a 450 mile stretch of coast with no safe havens to dive into.


Given how tired we had all become after just a day and a half of this, and as we were approaching the large port of Rio Grande, I decided it would be prudent to change our plans: go into Rio Grande and go through the whole ghastly procedure of clearing us and the boat into Brazil and wait there until the conditions changed. We arrived in the early hours of Wednesday morning and with enormous relief tied up alongside a boat at the pontoon of the oceanographic museum. A very quick anchor nip and we all slumped into our blissfully steady bunks for a good night’s sleep. I awoke at dawn and downloaded the latest forecasts to find that the prognosis had once again changed dramatically. The intense low pressure system had weakened considerably and was moving east much more quickly which meant that rather than expecting strong winds on the nose, we could now expect light and variable winds.


So, now no reason to stay, and given we had not actually been onshore, we quietly slipped our lines and beetled out of the harbour again before anyone saw us.


Since then we have been able to sail quite a bit, interspersed with a bit of motoring when the winds got light. But as I type in the early hours of Friday the 13th, we have been motoring for six hours in almost no wind and it seems likely that we may be motoring for the next couple of days. Current ETA at our destination is Monday morning.


For the last few days, Lawrence has been fiddling around with the fishing tackle with a view to varying our mainly meat diet. The line goes out, comes back in, change the lure, vary the length and so it goes on. We are surrounded by fishing boats so there is every evidence of abundant fish in the area, but so far Lawrence has caught absolutely nothing. Completely useless.


Mind you, he nearly got more than he bargained for. Yesterday afternoon, Tom was on watch. The cry went up: “Shark! Shark!!” Lawrence and I rushed up on deck to see a large fin patrolling the water around the boat. I’d like to see Lawrence heaving a Great White onto the deck.


Incidentally, I had a bit of a personnel issue to deal with a couple of days ago. Lawrence came up to me and complained that whenever I mentioned him in the blog, he always came out as being a complete idiot. Well, yes. What does he expect me to do? Lie in the blog? Make things up? Over my dead body. The integrity of the blog is absolute and you can rest assured that it reflects nothing but a true and factual account of life on board. Anyway, I hadn’t realised that Lawrence had wanted to keep his inept stupidity a secret.


Meanwhile, Pet Officer Snoopy has been taking full advantage of his promotion. As he now outranks both Tom and Lawrence, he has been ordering them around. Lawrence has had to spend most of his off-watch time throwing balls for Snoopy to chase and fetch, whilst Tom, the Quartermaster, is constantly being ordered to bring supplies of Winalot Extra to Snoopy’s cabin “for inspection”. That’s the last anyone sees of them.