Looking Ahead to Reunion
I’ve just emailed Michael and Jerome at Reunion to tell them we are 7 days away now with 1090 miles to go and just hope they don’t come back and say they are now closed. With three other yachts on their way as well I would think they will permit us to anchor and rest even if we cannot go ashore.
The sailing continues to be terrific with Zoons on a broad reach, her fastest point of sail and creaming along at 6 – 7 knots.
The other day I made a turmeric and dried tomato house brick. I definitely need some fresh yeast and cream of tartare. Sliced very thin and spread with creamy cheese or marmite they make a reasonable lunch, ‘waste not want not’ my mum used to say.
We’re still getting our swell from the SE out here, even though Des says it should be from the SW. Things will get a little more lively soon as Zoons get pummelled on her port bow.
21 days of isolation and a complete cut off from world news has had us quickly adapting to life in complete solitary, without external demands. We have slowed to Zoonie’s pace and wear our daily routine like a comfy house coat. I am back on watch at 5.00am after three hours rest. First thing while it is still dark, I wash and then make a mug of Milo and sit quietly sipping while my brain gets into gear. Yesterday morning I spooned the heaped spoon into the mug and then took a little to taste, as one does, BLAH coffee! Just as well I hadn’t poured the water. Always think of little Milo when I make my early morning drink.
Then it’s to the laptop, clamped to the table and sitting on a non-slip mat, to write emails and a blog, like now. When Rob stirs around half seven eight, on with the kettle for a cuppa swiftly followed by breakfast of porridge or cereal, the bread is all gone. Then we link the satphone to the computer to send and receive mail.
Lunch is a light affair, I usually have fruit, tinned now as the fresh is finished, and eaten after I have done my noon position, made up the log and plotted us on the chart. Then I take a kip, Virgin Atlantic blindfold on, ear plugs in so I can just hear the music that’s playing and after an hour and a half or so I swap with Rob and read whatever is on the go. Yesterday I finished ‘Tradewinds’ the story of how the German ‘U’ boats attacked the local fishing and rum-running fleet in the Caribbean in order to stop the supplies of fuel getting from the ABC islands North to America and across the Atlantic to England. Their destruction and America’s building of bases and air strips changed the Caribbean way of life forever, sadly.
Another read I have to tell you about is ‘Dark Emu’ by Bruce Pascoe, an aborigine scholar using the mountain of white man’s written, photographed and drawn evidence, plus the work of archaeologists and his own people etc to piece together the true story of the aborigine culture and society before the arrival of the colonialists. A story of sophisticated farming and fishing methods that required no insecticides, herbicides or fertilisers or weed killers to produce abundance, instead that worked with endemic species of flora and fauna to farm almost all of Australia over a period now reckoned to be 90,000 years. They used the principles of community living, sharing excess crops with other groups and living by common laws. Their largely peace-loving sedentary lives, staying in one location unless they were travelling to a corribee, are in evidence all over the continent and the vast grasslands which the colonialists thought were natural and ready for the onslaught of their sheep and cattle which eventually killed the grass, were actually made by careful land management and husbandry of the wild animals.
Bruce first published the book in 2014 and then received such a mountain of information, journals, logs, pictures etc from his readership he incorporated this information into the latest edition.
The colonialists had to cover up and destroy much of this evidence of land usage and settled habitations, often in the most brutal ways to justify settling the land for themselves. The truth is coming out and with it long known solutions to today’s risks of fires, over cropping and soil exhaustion. An amazing read written in a compassionate and non-judgemental style. Their lifestyle was one of sustainability, working with eachother and nature to develop a highly sophisticated way of living in harmony and happiness.
I haven’t read so much for a long time. Another positive thing about isolation for us is time to sit and reflect on where we’ve been and where we are going, our travels so far and what we’d like to do in the future, the fates be willing.
So around 3 – 4pm the kettle will go on again for a cuppa and then at 5.00pm SHARP it time for a sundowner, sitting on the windward settee looking across out of the leeward windows as Zoons rolls that way, chatting about who’s doing what and where we have got to in our books and so on.
Supper is around 6 - 6.30pm and then Rob gets his head down for a while before coming on watch from 8.00pm to 11.00pm. During our watches, along with frequent looks all around the horizon, we read or play games on our back lit tablets and the time passes quickly enough. We are fine but I really feel for the folk for whom isolation means solitude; I’m not sure how I would be for 21 days in solitary confinement. I guess it largely depends on the circumstances.