We’ve been at sea for nearly 3 days and are slowly making headway towards the Falklands, albeit in a slightly round about way. (We’re heading North West to try and catch some favorable winds to scoot us across the atlantic. So far there’s been a lot of motorsailing (sails up and engine running) because the winds haven’t really been that great.
Our current location is: (I hope this works)
That’s about 390 nautical miles (710km) away from Cape Town.
The first few days were spent with everyone getting their sea legs and getting accustomed to life on board. The first night’s sleep was tough but by the time the second night rolled around I was loving the not-always-so-gentle rocking motion. I am quite stiff from all the hard work. Sailing a boat this size without electric winches is a real chore and add to that the time I popped my shoulder while doing ballet in the bathroom as we hit a big wave, I feel a bit battered. I wouldn’t have it any other way though.
We’re working on a 4 hours on, 12 hours off shift plan. I’ll spare you the lengthy explanation but it works well and once you get used to forcing yourself to sleep a few hours before your watch it can be quite “nice” waking up at 2am and spending 4 hours in the eery glow of dimmed radar screens watching for passing ships and listening to the occasional crackle of some nondescript asian language on the radio. We even had a 5 minute session of Bollywood music being piped across the VHF. Not very good on the emergency channel but it does make for some interesting discussions.
Life at sea is an interesting set of chores, from going to the bathroom to making a cup of coffee, nothing is as simple as it is on land. A simple piddle requires a lever to be turned, a hand pump to be pumped (25 times) and then more levers to reverse etc, all while ballancing and trying not to faceplant the sink. I suspect between the winching in sheets (ropes attached to sails) and using the bathroom regularly I’m going to end up with some biceps.
Making a cup of coffee is very much the same as making it on land except for the fact that you have to strap your cup in with bungie cord and pour very carefully while the boat tries its best to make you pour scalding hot water all over yourself.
The food has been good and we all get stuck in with the preparation. I’ve taken a bit of a back seat (veggie chopper) because I’m really not sure what the heck to make with the limited options available.
This morning we caught a Tuna which in less than an hour was turned into something like sashimi made with lemon juice, coriander and soy sauce. That was the pre-lunch snack, lunch soon followed with fried tuna steaks served with a corgette and carrot salad and freshly baked bread. Dinner is going to be oven roasted, you guessed it, Tuna. Pelagic Australis doesn’t have a refrigerator because usually she’s nestled amongst the ice bergs and her forepeak (the pointy bit at the front) is not insulated and therefore makes for a great refrigerator. Unfortunately we’re no where near any ice bergs and as a result we have to check the veggies in the forepeak every morning looking for any that are on their way, which are then promptly eaten or if they’ve gone too far, thrown overboard.
Our most valuable resource at sea is fresh water. We don’t carry a lot because usually the boat is near enough to ice bergs to get fresh water run-off. This means that showering is a luxury left for every 3rd or so day and even then you probably only have the water running for about 30 seconds in total. We do have plenty to drink but you can’t wash your face in fruit juice.
Hopefully in the next day or two we’ll catch some favourable winds and make some serious headway. At the moment it’s gloriously hot, clear skies with gentle rolling seas for miles. Quite beautiful actually, just not what we need.
That’s it for the update.