Blog Entry 15. 26th March 2022. More lurching and pausing.
26th March 2022.
08° 13.7 S 118° 22.7 W. More lurching and pausing.
The intensive marching programmes of Army training are known as ‘square-bashing’. They are, surprisingly, physically demanding and after a necessary pause in activities, the drill sergeant instructor would restart a lesson with the time-honoured phrase “I left you…in this position”. It seems an appropriate way to start this blog. In other words, we continue in the same attitude, aspect and vector as where we left you in the last blog. We’re heading West on the same course, same sail setting and the same approximate speed. The trade winds are consistent, a steady blow pushing us ever westwards. We’re 65% complete with about 1400Nm to go, on Day 25 of our journey.
Our direction of travel is a little oblique to the waves which come in slightly to one side by a few degrees, so we ride in a corkscrew motion. We effectively get taken from behind in regular rolling waves. The stern lifts to port and the bow sinks to starboard as a wave rises behind us, as it rolls underneath us we pick up speed, and then we slow as we rise out of the trough, the bow then rises to port and the stern sinks to starboard. As if this fairground ride wasn’t confusing enough, the sails catch and lose the wind as we rise and fall, so a rocking and rolling motion from side to side also pervades the whole process. Movement in all planes: forward, up, down, yawing left and right, and rolling side to side. Lurch and pause, rinse and repeat.
Independent of boat motion Laura and I move with a syncopated rhythm as we traverse the decks, pausing before lurching to the next hand or foot hold. Drinks are carried in a constant swaying movement of the arm to avoid spills. It’s not dissimilar to a drunk in the pub chasing his pint as he weaves through the crowd. We’re now very much used to a motion that would undoubtedly cause a newcomer to feel decidedly strange if not horribly and profoundly seasick. We dance from secure position to sudden movement, anticipating each action of the yacht. When we do finally get to terra firma we will no doubt walk like inebriants, Captain Jack style, bandy legged from side to side, swaying as we go.
Punctuating the days are routine tasks that are peculiar to life at sea. Like cutting up the rubbish. What??!! I hear you ask, ‘has this ship of fools turned cuckoo – has, the loneliness of the sea made ‘em doollally?’. Whilst, all of the above maybe true, we either have to store our plastic waste, or, Mr Turtle and his family will stuff themselves on our discarded litter. It goes without saying that, we don’t have a wheelie bin on board to tip all our junk into, nor bin men to collect it and take it to landfill. We will be beholden to island practices and local rules when we finally arrive.
Of course, everything we keep on board must be stowed and there just isn’t the space to keep all that junk. So managing our waste is part of our routine. We throw food scraps, rind and skins into the oggin, but plastic gets separated, cut up and stored in a bag. On fun mornings we spend a couple of exhilarating hours sitting in the cockpit to cut up food bags, plastic jars, tetri-packs, bottles, brillo pads etc into strips, and then into 2cm squares. It’s like some strange obsessive-compulsive disorder. What is both surprising and strangely satisfying is that this activity disproportionately reduces the volume of the garbage to tiny amounts. After all, most of the volume of a plastic container is air. We have 3 ½+ weeks of plastic waste that doesn’t even take up a quarter of a kitchen bin-liner. Perhaps, we should all be using this technique on land and sea – and for the entrepreneurs amongst you, there’s money to be made designing a technology to take the tedium out of it. It may be a tedious task, but at least we can look the turtle cohort in the eye.
P.S. I do wonder is this particular blog entry now testimony to the fact that new subjects are becoming harder to write about. So, until the next one – I’ll leave you in this position.