We are at present moving quite slowly towards the doldrums – about eighty
miles away.  We are still firmly pegged in last place – most of the other
boat having gone through the doldrums or in it.  Please give us some luck
somewhere.  They all got stuck in a light spot before the doldrums, and
looks like we have too.

We have had another few dramas over the past few days – all the comms went down again so no email connection.  I think we have the Friday afternoon boat.  It all started with a pigeon.  A common garden pigeon I think.  It landed on the boat after flying around a few times looking very tired.  We were about one hundred miles from the Cape Verde Islands at the time.  It tried a few different perches before settling on the second spreader up the mast. And there it stayed all night – it was still there in the morning.
Not sure if it wanted to go to Cape Verde or all the way to Rio.

flying fish

That was not the only stowaway we found in the morning.  There were several
flying fish – by now dead – scattered around.  I don’t think they can see
in the dark.  We don’t get any during the day, but they come from all
angles at night.  If they hit you, or you feel them whizz past your ear you
can find them and throw them back.  But the ones that sneak on without you
knowing unfortunately don’t get found until the next light.  By then, far
too late!  We even had a couple of squid one night.  Didn’t look good
enough to eat though.  Calamari would have made a pleasant change.

Then it all started to go slightly wrong.  There was an overriding turn on
the spinnaker winch, which Kat jumped in to sort.  She held the rope a
little too high, so it stripped off the winch and threw her a few feet
under the traveller.  The sheets flogged, and one of them took a couple of
nasty bites off Lara’s leg.  Kat had landed on her tether and the rope had
made nasty blisters on both her hands.  Not only that, the rope must have
knocked the pigeon off his perch.  He landed a little dazed on the deck,
feathers flying everywhere, and proceeded to fly off.  I suspect tired
wings were preferential to being whipped by a rope.

Kat is now recovering nicely – she is a tough cookie.  She had burn cream
on her fingers for a couple of days in plastic gloves, but she was soon
back on deck assuming her position in charge.  The bruise on the inside of
her thigh from the tether is about the size of a dinner plate – but she is
still smiling!

Then the weather decided to get a little unpleasant.  The waves were
enormous (but according to Wendy, it wasn’t rough), and helming was
extremely uncomfortable.  I can really feel the muscles in my upper arms –
or rather I can feel where muscles should be.  But to be fair, everyone is
saying the same.  Or perhaps they are humouring me.

I had my second shift of being “mother” yesterday – 24 hours of being below
deck cooking.  All of a sudden I could see the sky darken, and the rain
came down.  Everyone on deck got absolutely soaked.  I have never seen so
much rain come down so quickly.  There was several streaks of lightening,
but no thunder.  Not sure if I am glad I wasn’t on shift then or not.  I
would have had to go onto week four underwear before Sunday!  It was
apparently very refreshing.  I do not feel refreshed in any way shape or
form.

Some of those that were not on shift decided to get their swimwear on and
enjoy the rain.  Those of the “older” variety in their budgie smugglers
were accompanied on deck by shouts of “straight from Las Vegas…”.  I
didn’t bother – by the time I would have found my swimsuit it would have
stopped raining.  Not getting any quicker at anything!

The breakfast shift was quite uncomfortable – the waves were huge (still
not rough though!).  The bread wouldn’t stay to make toast, and it was
really too dangerous to boil the kettle to pour boiling water.  Not sure
how I am going to cope when it is rough.

After not seeing any other shipping for days, we saw two boats today.  The
first, in the distance, was a search and rescue ship.  Probably been sent
to see where we are!  The second came much closer, and was a lovely mega
yacht.  As we were all drooling on the deck thinking there were cool
showers and cold drinks on there, a message came over the radio.  “Is that
you Wendo?” Turns out it was someone that Wendo knows from her yacht club
in Sydney doing a delivery to Tenerife.  What are the chances of bumping
into someone you know in the middle of the Atlantic??

Our off watch shifts just lately have been eaten into by having to wool
spinnakers and other tasks that have happened just as we have been going
off.  The last couple of shifts I have had only a couple of hours sleep –
and not good sleep as it is so hot.  I have never sweated so much in my
life.  I wake up absolutely drenched – my lovely Egyptian cotton sheet
drenched too.  And because of the humidity it doesn’t dry out.  I am more
physically drained than at any other time of my life.  And we are less than
three weeks in.  We aren’t going to get much time in Rio before the next
leg starts – and most of that is going to be taken up by buying food.  How
I miss home.  The saying “Happiness is not getting what you want, it is
wanting what you have” has never rang so true.  I would love to be at home
right now.

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