Thursday afternoon

Fri 15 Jun 2018 05:25
We are getting into the sailing routine now with 4 hours on and 4 off. Today the sun is all around us and we are warm (ish - still have hats and 4 layers on but can type with two fingers) We are surrounded by huge horizons and few clouds. It’s much colder at night, but can’t complain too much with 24 hours of sunlight.

When asked what she wanted for breakfast at 0600 Lizzie said “fish and rice” so despite initial scepticism, Peter and I joined her, and it was surprisingly good. Since we continually sleep and get up in four hourly cycles and it’s always light we don’t really know what time of day it is, or even which day of the week it is. Every meal can be dinner!

We have been motor sailing due North all day so far to maintain a speed of 5/6 knots on a broad reach. The weather has a very strong low coming from Iceland and we really need to keep above this, so are not stopping at Bjornoya but heading north (more than 500 nM total) to Svalbard and relative shelter. Of course we can’t predict the weekend’s weather yet, but with daily downloads through the sat phone and the red box, and a daily call to our home correspondent, Peter E, we should be able to anticipate enough to keep out of the very strong winds.

Food wise appetites are picking up. Peter Y is the human dustbin leaving clean saucepans and bowls. Patrick and I are recovering from the first sea sickness in 35 years, and Lizzie is doing better too. Lunch today was finishing off the fish and some delicious home made sweet potato hummus with avocado. If any crew members have room for a jar of tahini we can make more on Svalbard. Vietnamese rice with fresh veg and peanuts await us for dinner.

(Peter and Lizzie broke into Mum’s home made lemon cake while Mum was sleeping - this hadn’t been included on the daily ration so was met with slight disapproval...)

We have been very good maintaining a 2 hourly log so we know exactly how many hours the engine has been on and where we are. As of 6pm Thursday, we’ve done 210 miles in 36 hours. One or two fishing boats, a wooden pallet and three pods of dolphins playing with the boat but not much else out there in the Barents Sea.

8:30pm update: we think dolphins like coffee and cake too… soon after Lizzie and Peter got out the lemon cake for round 2, another pod of dolphins came to play and stayed with us for half an hour! We think that engine off and a decent speed (record so far is Peter at 8.9 knots) makes us more fun. They like doing circles around us and showing off their synchronised swimming abilities. We’ve managed to leave a sliver of lemon cake for the next watch…

Friday 0130

Virginia is just off watch, during three hours we have put in three reefs as the wind has increased from 15 to 25 knots. The course is into the sun and we had an amazing dolphin display; watching them jump fully out of the water was remarkable and a highlight of the watch. They seem to love playing around the boat and were with us for a good half hour. We finished off the lemon cake which was excellent with vanilla sauce. It’s amazingly bright up there. We’re hoping the wind has stopped increasing for now. We didn’t get such high speeds as Peter and Lizzie but I put that down to the wind coming round to the north a little so we’re on a closer reach!

Better put my head down for a few hours kip!