We spent the first hour listening to the VHF, which was a real education. Having done most of my night-sailing around the UK and then across empty oceans, it was a new thing to learn about Philipino Monkeys. For those who don’t k now, all vessels should have their VHF radio on stand-by on the international channel 16. It’s used as a hailing channel and for emergencies but it can be open to abuse.
Got woken up by an excited Timmy at 4am, claiming aliens had visited him! Apparently whilst on watch the sails were lit up by a huge bright spotlight.
Our first 24 hours of running a dead ship took us into our third week at sea. Only one person had been to the toilet over the back of the boat, the rest of us suddenly becoming constipated. Washing up in salt water became a real pain in the arse and the boat was damp due to a very wet night watch that included some Scooby Doo style lightning storms.
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.
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.
The weather was getting progressively worse but everyone was itching to get going and finally hit the open waters. When the green light indicated our turn to enter the lock the sense of nervousness and trepidation increased as the conversation dropped. Once the gates had closed behind us we had a fifteen minute wait as the lock filled and rose to sea level. We were all looking at the red traffic lights and waiting, wondering what the open water had prepared for us.
Did another night watch, which was very tranquil. The only thing to look out for are other ships, spotted only by their port and starboard lights. Very strange as one crosses your path – quite eerie. Talk about ships passing in the night.