So it's day 4 or 5 of Leg 3 and I have lost all sense of time again. I'm in this parallel universe of the sailing world. And I'm loving it.
Now, that is. Let me go back some 30 hours...
Whenever I write to home about my experiences at the end of a leg. The message is that I'm loving it. And I'm having the time of my life. But somehow I wonder whether in all the exuberance of arriving into port after 3 weeks or so on the boat and the excitement of seeing land emerge out of nowhere, some of the "how tough it was" gets lost.
So, here we go. A little message on how hard it can be aboard a sailing vessel in the middle of the Southern Ocean (yeah! we're here!).
At first there is the seasickness. I seem to be an unlucky candidate.
Even with anti-seasickness medication, I seem to end up with my head down in a bucket at the beginning of nearly every leg so far. It's the constant nausea and general weakness of the body that I find challenging to deal with. I try to keep going, taking deep breaths and looking at the horizon.
But unfortunately there comes a time when I need the bucket and I know I'm in that downward spiral that only ends with a couple of hours in my bunk.
Then there is the wetness. There are the waves that crash over the boat and soak you top to toe (and feel like a little reminder from Mother Nature that she is more powerful than you). There is the constant downpour of rain as the front passes over you (nothing like sitting in constant rain for 4 hours of a night watch). And then there is the bow! Being bow(wo)man for a couple of headsail changes, where the crashing waves are exaggerated, leaves you no chance! Everything is now wet. The outer layers are dripping wet whenever we come off watch. The mid layers are some middle level of damp. The base layers have water creeping up them from the extremities (forearms, necks and feet). My boots are soaking wet (hallelujah for sealskinz socks). As Vicky says everything will be some level of damp in the Southern Ocean. And yes, it is!
Once you turn the corner from seasickness, though, you feel re-born! And as I realised today, once you accept your boots are wet, it only gets better!
After all we're in the Southern Ocean! And how many people have been here before? The spectacle is amazing. The waves are huge and a little daunting.
The wind is blowing like you didn't think it could (last night's maximum was 63 knots and we think our instruments are under reading!). This whole experience still feels a little surreal. But despite the toughness, guess what? I'm already loving it.
Roser Preuss, RTW