Chilled to the bone. How many times have I used that saying without actually experiencing a bony chill. I now know exactly how my bones feel when they are chilled. I have never been so cold in my life before. Even when I lived with my parents and they had no central heating, so there was ice on the inside of my bedroom windows in the winter. Even when we have been skiing and the wind has been blowing coming down the icy pistes. We are still doing half an hour rotations on shift, and even I have given in to going below after thirty minutes. The big difference here is that there is nowhere to go to warm up. No roaring fire. No comfy sofa to curl up on. Just a downstairs that is a little warmer than the upstairs, mainly because it is out of the wind and wet.
The winds, apparently, are coming from Eastern Siberia which is why they are so cold. Not only have we had winds, but also snow, ice, sleet and hail. The snow came down horizontally, as the wind was blowing so hard. The hail stones hit you like little bullets trying to pierce your skin. The ice on the deck makes getting about even harder – not that I need anything to hamper my movements. It really is not pleasant. Even the sleeping bag is taking a while to heat up – and as soon as it is open an inch to get out, the cold air comes rushing in. Those that do not have the super duper ocean sleepwear are suffering.
And my foulies are no longer waterproof. Fact. Either that, or they do not approve of being trampled on in a bath and be dried by a hair drier instead of a tumble drier. But, I have a sort of solution. At the last minute before I left home I put in my pair of showerproof padded dog walking trousers. If I wear them under the foulies, they get wet but the next layer doesn’t. Or it hasn’t so far……….
Sarah was buried at sea yesterday. It was a very sombre day. We had the readings emailed through that were going to take place on Ichorcoal. At midday, shift change, everyone was on deck for the readings. The actual burial was at 2pm local time. It was the start of my thirty minute stint on deck at 2pm. The waves were cascading alongside the boat, throwing up fine spray. The sun came out and, for about ten minutes, there was a rainbow travelling by our side. The Pacific Ocean took her life, and now it has her body.
For the last two days we have not changed our sail plan. We have just been travelling. This morning, we needed to get back into race mode. We changed the ginger ninja for the yankee three, but noticed something awry at the front of the boat. Well – that is the royal we. I don’t “do” the front of the boat. Our bow sprit was dangling instead of standing proud. Oh dear!
At some point since the last deck safety walk, the bow sprit had snapped off. It was held on by a whisker. Wendo, in her own inimitable fashion, hung out the front of the boat ably held in place by Craig. The tack is keeping it on – hopefully until Seattle. That means no spinnakers for the rest of this leg. How it came to snap nobody knows. The bow is often in the water when the waves are heaving the boat up and down, but it hasn’t been as rough for the last 24 hours as it had been. Perhaps it was just the wave that was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Not good anyway.
My bunk buddy on this leg is Rowena. And a better bunk buddy I have not had. My sleeping bag is ready for me to jump into when I come off shift. There are no wet gloves hanging dripping where my head goes. There is not a Chinese Laundry hanging from the lee cloth. There are not ten heavy bags tied to the bunk above near the feet end, that constantly hit your legs when the boat lurches. And just to clarify – yes I have had all those things and more! But there are another two legs to go – I wonder what else I will be
able to add to my list?