We have just gone over the top part of the Mariana Trench – not called
that over the bit we went over, but joined all the same – which is
apparantly the deepest part of the world. Not having google, I cannot
validate that! Bit spooky all the same.
Over the last 48 hours, the weather has been at its worst and at its best.
It changes in the click of a finger. We have had winds and high seas,
when getting the sails in has been treacherous in itself. Half an hour
later, we are sitting in a wind hole. There is no rhyme or reason to it.
But the good thing, is that we have gone from eighth place up to joint
third. It does lift the mood somewhat to know we are at the pointy end.
On one night shift, the wind took on a real chill. At some point in the
last leg, someone used a pair of disposable gloves that we have to clean
the toilets and put them underneath their proper gloves. They said that
it kept their hands so much warmer, and dry. So a few people tried them,
and they really seemed to work. So I bought three hundred extra pairs in
China, so we could all use them. And they do really work. And they make
getting wet gloves on so much easier. Amazing what a small thing can do
to make that task so much easier, and keep your hands so much warmer. I
think they will be on the list to buy at every stopover!
On the long night shifts when there is not so much to do, and the weather
is cold and the wind is biting around your ears, I have overheard several
of the new leggers state how boring it is. I can remember thinking
exactly the same at some point, but over the months I must have learned
how to switch off to where I am, and think of home and family and work,
which makes getting through the hours so much easier. I think when you
are only doing one leg, it isn’t quite as important to get things like
that sorted out. In a week or two, they will be back to normality.
When Qui gave me a hug and said goodbye on the marina in Qingdao, she
thanked me for teaching her so much. Astounded, I asked what it was that
she had learned from me. Her answer was “inner strength”. I have been
thinking about that, and am still a little confounded as to how I managed
to teach anyone anything. Steve commented that I was “the glue that held
the team together”. Again, I am not quite sure how he came to that
conclusion, but I am extremely flattered with both of those comments. It
makes my inability to sail somewhat insignificant if I can help people in
I was on mother duty yesterday, and was exceptionally lucky to have a
relatively flat and calm day. It makes cooking so much easier. I was on
mother with Vesna, an Australian who is doing this leg only. She was
extremely poorly a couple of day earlier when the weather was bad, so was
probably not looking forward to 24 hours in the galley. But it worked out
rather well. We even got to make gluten free cornbread so everyone could
have some. A bit more brickish than normal, but edible! Unfortunately,
the chilli powder went in the chilli in tablespoons instead of teaspoons,
so it was rather hot. Some enjoyed it, but others had rice only. Oh
On mother duty, we can have a “full” nights sleep – until 4.30am that is when we have to get up for breakfast. Just before we got up, the boat was heaving
and the wind the waves were causing havoc on deck. I thought that
breakfast was going to be fun. But then the wind virtually stopped, and
we had no issues at all. Weird.
By lunch time, the sun had come out and many had donned shorts on deck.
We sat down for our morning meeting at 11.30am, had the meeting and was
just about to be served lunch when the most enormous wave came over the
boat and drenched most sitting on deck. Pops was laying facing backwards
on the cuddy, and he said it was like having an enema with the water being
forced up his trouser leg. Marc was just at the bottom of the
companionway with a bowl of croutons that he had lovingly prepared when
the wave drenched both him and put salt on the croutons. He was not
happy! I almost suggested getting out the Little Book of Joy, but thought
better of it!
One quarter (hopefully) gone on this leg. We haven’t had the awful
conditions that I was expecting yet, but it certainly hasn’t lost its
chance. Oh, and we are also in the vicinity of the floating rubbish island
that goes around the Pacific. Plastic sludge watch duty is now on!
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Editing and the choice of images on this blog is entirely by Paul Keevil!
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