I never knew there was such a thing as a wind hole – I do now!  We looked at the island of Porto Santo next to Madeira for over 24 hours.  The sun was beating down on the deck making it very difficult for the “on watch”, and extremely uncomfortable for the “off watch”.  Would have been fine with a swimming pool on board and having a campari served with ice and a slice.  Not even a comfortable place to sit!  How much did I pay for this?

The Australians managed to find some kangaroos in the clouds, whilst the Brits thought it looked more like a rabbit.  We agreed to differ.  Another thing that I didn’t realise is how many shooting stars there are all the time – at least two or three an hour.

When I got up for my 12 noon to 6pm shift, we were looking at the same piece of  **** rock (which is what Madeira has now been renamed) as when I went to bed at 6am that morning.  We had three turtles that were swimming around the boat – several times – that I thought we ought to lasso and use like Huskies to pull us along.  Knowing our luck they would have pulled in the wrong direction.  They were certainly out gunning us!

Today’s lesson was to learn to use the intercom between the helm and the nav station.  Seemed a bit pointless when the nav station hatch was open and you could carry out a perfectly calm conversation with no outside help at all.  I am sure that it will come in handy in the bad weather of the Southern Ocean – but I will probably have forgotten how to use it by then.

One good thing about not moving much is what a delight it makes to sit on the toilet.  Not having to wedge yourself in with both feet and both hands, and then having to make a mathematical calculation as to when to let go of the wall to make a dive for the toilet paper makes me very happy.  Small mercies!

One small issue is waste management – otherwise known as the victualler didn’t buy enough black bin liners.  To be fair, the training we were given said that apart from plastic, everything goes over the side.  In reality, only food waste goes over the side.  When I found out about the new rules, I ordered some extra rolls together with a tea pot.  Unfortunately, both are probably sitting at St Katharine’s Dock.  I didn’t realise they hadn’t come until we had left – too late!!

We are also running out of wet wipes and sugar.  We had an allocation of six per person per day – I have only been using one, so who knows where all the others are going.  Must be a lot of very clean people on the boat.  The sugar is another issue altogether.  The dry bag with the sugar bags in was kept under the floorboards in the bilges, and hadn’t been done up properly so water had got in.  Yuk.

There were some very interesting conversations happening on deck – not a lot else to do. Michael & Jim seem to have set up a two man committee to vote on various items – their corporate backgrounds coming out I feel – and not actually making any sensible decisions at all.  Tensions got a little high at one point – at which point in time I slid under my hat and made myself scarce.  Yes Paul – I am wearing that silly hat that I bought, and very useful it is too.  Not even at the equator yet and it had to come out!

Our Swedish watch leader Kat has very good English – except when we talk in “riddles”.  She had no idea what “getting on your wick” was, and she was getting increasingly frustrated when people answered her questions with “I don’t mind”.  She didn’t know how to take that answer – consequently everyone answers all of her questions with that now.

Every morning we have a meeting with both watches from 11.30am to 12.30pm.  A different person chairs it each day – my turn in a couple of days time.  As part of the meeting yesterday Wendy auctioned all the lost property – how do you get so much lost property on this little boat? There were various pieces of kit that some were happy to buy back  and some were not!  Something like the bottoms of foulies are an integral part of equipment – so the auctioneer set the starting bids high.  And to be really nasty, some people were putting the bidding up.  All proceeds to UNICEF.  Hopefully stops people leaving their personal items where they shouldn’t be!

Today’s meeting involved our blue Team Danang fleeces.  Wendy had put her initials in hers, and someone else had picked it up and left theirs.  But nobody had done it.  So (in 100 degree heat) we all had to take our fleeces on deck for the meeting.  Everyone wrote WT and crossed it out on their fleeces – got one of the biggest laughs so far.  And we still didn’t find the culprit!

As we passed Madeira someone got a phone signal, so I was able to get a text message out to Paul.  I got loads of texts back with lovely messages – that was so welcome.  It only lasted a few hours, and no internet, but so appreciated.  My son William sent one that brought a tear to my eye – so lovely.  A random expression comes to mind – absence makes little loves weaker and big loves stronger just like the wind blows out a candle but fuels a bonfire.  Or something like that.  Those texts are making me feel some real big love!