We are back under way. I have just done 4 hours on the oars. The weather still looks a bit menacing with pretty big squalls. You can see the clouds from miles away and they roll towards you like in the cartoons. Before the para-anchor was out we had been going well but out of no-where a wave just smashed over the side and pushed James out of his seat. Because my adapted seat has me attached by Velcro I held firm and could just enjoy James’s misfortune. The wave flooded the deck and sea water was spilling out of the drainage flaps. The weather seemed to be changing minute by minute. 3 days on the para-anchor allowed us few pleasures. It would be nice to dry out some kit and make some miles up over the next few days. So far it has been all spray and no sun.
Sitting around did allow us to discover lots of fresh fish. Some of them committed suicide by jumping on deck but none of the fabled flying fish have been sighted so far. We have seen loads of wildlife, including 7 whales bobbing around the boat. One was only an oar and a half away and it surfaced right by us – amazing. We have also been lucky to see lots of dolphins. We have even some human life, a yacht on the horizon, but could not make contact. Hamish (the bird) is still following us, but of course we are still getting over the situation with Larry.
It’s a relief to be off the para- anchor. The whole routine is compromised when you are on it. On-board everything is wet and sticky. Even the cabin is wet. The cabin is also too small for my liking. Scott is quite comfortable to snuggle up against me whilst the rowing was on hold but I would rather pass on that. I had chosen slept on the deck in full foul weather gear, wedging myself up against the bulkhead. Thank God we are rowing again, it means we can rotate the cabin time and as a result things have improved rapidly. Not rowing is not more restful, except for Scott who somehow managed to sleep 23 of the last 24 hours.
Changeovers are now getting slick and easy. I am really happy getting around the boat, in and out of cabin and managing all the basics like personal hygiene and eating. My body is in good physical condition. We are taking it in turns to cook meals by the stern cabin. Scott ad I do dinner on alternate days. James and Jenks do breakfast and lunch. To pass the time I had also attempted some fishing but the rod that we bought in Spain snapped before I could even cast off. It’s a little hard to return it to the shop now.
The isolation is quite in your face. You sit out there in the middle of nowhere, pitch black, no moon. Not another human being is anywhere you can see. You are in charge of your own destiny which is cool, but hearing about other crews withdrawing keeps you focused.
Our thoughts as other crews have withdrawn
We were gutted to hear about Hamish and the Atlantic Trio. But even more so, Atlantic Splash’s helicopter-rescue reminds you that this is serious stuff. The helicopter is an option that you won’t have through most of the race, only whilst close to land. James and I are very lucky, having sailed quite a bit before you can take that experience for granted. Even within the crew you see how a little nautical knowledge goes a long way. It must be very tough for some of the crews who have never really spent any time at sea.