Shooting Stars and Flying Fish

134Ahhh. Crossing the Atlantic Ocean by boat. Can I put this experience into words? Probably not but as you see I did keep a log for each day and as you read through it you’ll discover that each day was very different. A lot happened. Although it’s all water and sun and clouds, you learn very quickly to appreciate your surroundings. If ever there was a track that summed up my time at sea it could only have been “Little Fluffy Clouds” by The Orb. Three weeks of ever changing cumulus clouds stretching for miles and miles and miles, which never failed to impress me at sunrise and sundown.

Little fluffy clouds

Little fluffy clouds

The night time became a lesson in astronomy, especially whilst on watch with Michel. The shooting stars were relentless. The moon, however, didn’t put in an appearance until half way across. When it did it cast shadows across the waves, making the ocean look like a huge terraced garden. Magic. I’d never seen flying fish before this trip yet I’d always read about these mystical creatures. Having done the crossing I never want to see another one again. They fly across the boat and land in the cockpit, flapping around and making a nasty smell. They do look cool whilst flying across the water though. Shame they don’t stay in the water.

The skipper, first mate and crew

The skipper, first mate and crew

Dreaming became a major talking point on this trip. Almost anyone who could remember their dreams dreamed of motion, either on ships or cars or bikes. I dreamed vividly every night and only one of the 23 days at sea did I have a non-sailing related dream. I slept less than most of the others and averaged only 3 to 4 hours a night, for some reason. Finally, a word on living at sea. With such a long time at sea a trip like this is no longer an excursion but a lifestyle. I’ve spent less time living in houses than I spent aboard Ocean Indies and so one quickly learns to fall into a daily routine. We took it in turns to be “galley bitch”, with one person doing all the cooking and washing up, giving the others five days off. On top of this Simon encouraged us to maintain a daily fitness regime, including sit-ups (try them whilst the boat is heeling from side to side), bench presses and so on. Although the body is constantly using muscles to compensate for the moving boat, the legs muscles can tire very quickly and it wasn’t until we hit land after three weeks and went for a short walk that we realised just how unfit we had become.

The diarist

The diarist

In short sailing the Atlantic has to be one of the most incredible things I’ve done to date, but it’s really not as daunting as it sounds. Using the Trade Winds to our advantage we were blessed with fantastic sailing conditions and I’d quite happily do it again at the drop of a hat. In fact given the opportunity I’d like to continue further and actually circumnavigate the globe, but for the time being I’m quite content letting people know I sailed to the Caribbean from the UK, and that’s good enough for me!





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