Never let it be said Sunday is the day of rest. After getting stitched up on the watch system (due to the clocks going back and a watch system change) I decided to go for a lie down. After a couple of minutes there was an almighty clang, followed by the skipper shouting “all hands on deck”.
It’s only 1pm and already today has become the most eventful day thus far. At 10am this morning whilst holding the gib sheet Simon told Dobby to steer to starboard and then disappeared down below. With the rest of the crew running round on deck (and Tim reading a book in bed!) I went down below to find Simon lying on his back on the floor, with his hand in the air, looking white as a sheet.
Made my managerial debut today by catching my first dorado. When I say ‘catch’ I mean I chose the lure, cast the line, caught the fish, killed it, cleaned it, cooked it and consumed it. Actually when I say ‘cooked it’ that’s not strictly true since I cut it up into small strips, marinated it in lemon juice and ate it raw.
The days have now become indistinguishable, with each day passing very quickly. It doesn’t take much to amuse oneself, sunbathing, the odd nap, reading, playing with the fishing line or playing a round of yahtze, which has become the boat’s official game. Even watching the odd seagull (a very rare sight) gliding across the waves can entertain for 10 minutes or so.
Low on gas. No fresh veg left. Mainsail dropped. Now the spinnaker pole has broken! This is the pole that holds out the gib (front sail) at 90 degrees to the boat so it can run goose wing, downwind. Bit of a bummer since we had westerly winds and we’re heading west.
I’m convinced I saw land today. We passed Cabo Verde and the plotter claimed that the nearest island was approx 60 miles away. If that island had 5000m worth of mountain on it then I definitely saw land. If not, as everyone else recons, then I’m just hallucinating.
Highlight of the day was seeing flying fish for the first time. They propel themselves out of the water at such a rate that they glide for ages. Lowlight of the day: just got through our second bottle of gas, with only two more to go.
A Sunday just like any other Sunday really. Lounge around, do nothing. Dobby and I made half a monopoly board and we caught two dorado, though we decided to put one back.
England are the rugby world champions! We followed the progress via the BBC World Service, whose coverage went something like this:
‘There are loads of people here in Sydney preparing for the World Cup. And now back to the news’
Highlight today was seeing pilot whales, which are basically very large dolphins. In fact Simon claims dolphins are for kids and pilot whales are the real thing and I have to say they really are impressive sight swimming in massive pods alongside the boat, especially when they start jumping out of the water.
Highlight of the day, however, was going for a swim in the middle of nowhere (24’ 40.61N, 18’ 44.12W). With the sun baking down accompanied by slow winds Simon devised a safety harness for us to wear whilst we took it in turns to dive off the bow into the warm, clear blue waters, floating a few miles above the sea bed.
All good except I’m a little tired and it’s my second day of giving up smoking (yes, again). This was made up by the dorado caught by Rich – a smallish female, though enough meat to go round. In fact I even made my first fish-head broth for lunch and then cooked the fillets for dinner, which had been marinating in lime juice and garlic.
Getting ready for the Atlantic crossing: we were delayed by a day due to a rather extensive shopping trip (a grand total of 1200 Euros!) and the fact that Las Palmas had run out of gas canisters, all taken by the ARC entrants no doubt. The weather prediction was good, with NE to NW winds of 4-5 – perfect.
Dave the Egret joined us for a 24 hour leg somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic. Obviously tired from flying he decided to take passage on Ocean Indies and earned his keep by staying on anchor watch for the entire time he was aboard. When he parted he left behind a little present for us on the deck.
Ahhh. 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. The night time became a lesson in astronomy. Dreaming became a major talking point on this trip. With such a long time at sea a trip like this is no longer an excursion but a lifestyle.
Tim has been on fine form, making a complete dick of himself on a number of occasions. He peaked on Thursday night aboard another boat, Sanuk, when he knocked over the rum punch, slipped down below getting to the heads (we could see him in the toilet via the hatch, preening and dancing whilst checking himself in the mirror), getting back up onto the pontoon and proceeding to pull off some press-ups in front of a large crowd of people celebrating someone’s birthday.
We’ve just been chilling in Las Palmas……or trying to. The fact is Las Palmas sucks. There’s something about Las Palmas that makes it feel ‘tainted’, as Tim described it. It lacks character, though it certainly has atmosphere.
9am and there it was – the great isle of Gran Canaria, welcoming us with hot sun and open arms! We sauntered into the marina, moored up and took our first step on dry land after a rather eventful six days at sea.
Like a character out of Tom Sawyer I spent my day bathing and reading on the trampoline and checking my line at the back of the boat, occasionally playing with the line as though I knew what I was doing.
It was as we were commenting on the huge waves coming at us that the reel of Dave’s fishing rod began to screech and we all jumped up like a bunch of excited monkeys, swinging around bars and leaping from bench to bench. Of course I instinctively grabbed my camera when I should have been sheeting the gib to slow us down. Vincent sprang into action whilst the rest of us just stood and marvelled at the master in action.