Two weeks at sea? Really? I truly have lost any sense of time now. I have to check the calendar. What I do know is that I have less than 1,300 nm to go – 1/3rd. It is almost confusing how fast these middle miles have clocked past, almost as if I have been a dream.
Not that we’ve been dawdling, mind. Until today, Ressie has been averaging over 9 knots a day for the past 4 days – 865 nm to be precise. It has been textbook trade wind sailing, and Ressie is like a Labrador pup, bouncing around and madly chasing waves.
I was about to say that my world has shrunk around the boat. But actually, it doesn’t feel like that. Instead the world feels infinitely vast. The horizon stretches forever, and I’ve only seen one ship in the past week. I am visited constantly by birds, some of whom take a breather in the cockpit. Maybe the reverse is true – the physical world around me has expanded and its presence amplified; it is easy to feel insignificant here.
I’ve been listening to Yuval Harari’s latest book – 21 lessons for the 21st Century. I do understand why some people get frustrated by him, and I do think he repeats a lot of the material from his earlier books. But I love it. I just love it. This man paints with a BIG brush. He takes big themes and he chews on them. He thinks in vast time frames and whenever he can, he lets history argue his case. Out here, his gloriously over-arching perspectives don’t seem so arrogant. They just seem laced with simple, fundamental truths.
I’ve faced a bunch of mini-crises, too, of course. Biggest amongst them is the Great Schweppes Tonic Water Crisis. We had bought 36 cans of it and put it in the galley bilge and in one of the cabins. And then the cans started leaking. It is the weirdest thing – you pick up a can and it feels super light. You open it – it makes that normal hiss sound of pressure releasing – and then discover you’ve maybe ¼ of a normal glass of tonic. Where does it leak? I have no idea, though I presume the pressure builds up because of the movement of the boat.
Anyway I found tonic everywhere. All though the cupboards and all through the bilge. I am so nervous of the remaining ones they are all in a bucket and I am drinking a G&T at sunset now. Hate to waste it! So the big question is: can we buy tonic water in the Marquesas?? Rachel, Gail – you have been forewarned! And a question: why does it happen to tonic, but not beer or soda water cans? And can someone complain to Schweppes? Talk about schweppervesence…
Its not the only crisis, though. You’ve heard about the watermaker one before, but there was also the bilge pump crisis, a toilet crisis and a mainsail batten car crisis. I won’t bore you with the details, but the last 3 have occupied me all day today. The good news is they are basically all sorted now. What next?
Things could be worse. My Spanish mates completely lost power generation. They replaced the alternator, but no luck. With 6 people on a 46’ Beneteau, having only solar power means nothing running really except the fridge and the navigation. It took them 36 hours to figure out the problem at the regulator, and work a way around it. I am so glad I dodged that bullet!
Other stuff? People are asking me about sleeping. The answer is: I do a lot of it, particularly at night. In fact, I am probably getting more sleep sailing on my own than I would at night with other people on the boat. Weird, huh? It comes down to stable weather and being out of traffic (and ignoring that risk of a Chinese fishing fleet without AIS – that is like living your life scared of a terrorist attack). So I alarm the boat ( AIS, wind speed, wind direction, boat speed), and then set the alarm for 2 hours. More often than not I am woken by the alarm, take a good check around the boat, make some adjustments and then go back to sleep. It would be totally different in different conditions, I am sure.
Speaking of which, it is time to sleep! Another day. Now was that day 14 or 15? And who cares?