Thursday 29 November 2018

Below Decks

It's 0230 and half an hour into my two hour watch. There's 4/8 cloud
cover so the constellations aren't as easy to spot as they have been
over the last few nights. We work on a 24 cycle of two watches each,
always at the same times apparently to avoid jet lag, which wasn't
something I was expecting to get on a 21 day sea crossing. But it means
the sky looks very familiar every night and we're getting to know what
is above our heads. The boat is on a steady course, there's just
one other boat, a red dot on the horizon, and I'm pretty confident I can
write uninterrupted for a while.

We're a happy crew below decks. The three of us share a scrubbing
rota (we excuse the skipper and his mate from swabbing out the heads).
But the mate joins us for cooking duties and every fourth day we cook an
evening meal - last night Jo gave us "dirty rice", a Withers staple
which tastes a lot better than it sounds. Our rations are plenty, and
so far only the odd piece of fruit and veg has been thrown overboard
due to the mange. To compensate we are growing fresh basil and
coriander in the doghouse. We're confident we'll not go hungry before
landfall in Saint Lucia.

More surprising in this endless desert of seawater is that we
have a good supply of freshwater, courtesy of our water-maker. So
daily showers are the norm and even Fred has been busy washing
out his grundies.

The skipper is no Captain Ahab, and looks after his crew well. He seems
pretty relaxed about life. He broods a little over our course but we
have a simple strategy to keep south where we think winds and currents
will give us an advantage. Other boats have begun to turn right but we
are holding our nerve.

No sign of any whales, nor much in the way of wildlife of any sort
other than a couple of unidentified birds. That may change next
week when fresh meat runs out and fishing activities begin.

Now 0300 and the boat continues to surge through the water roughly on
course. I'm looking forward to some kip before Bums and Tums at 0800
then Porridge Club at 0900.

Life is good


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