Riders on the storm
If you have read Mark and Tristan's blog you will have had an idea of some of the action we have had. So I hear you wanting to know the answer to that burning question. When the weather is blowing a hooley how do you insert and remove your contact lenses? Especially as mine are ones that have to be cleaned every day.
Well something that would normally take me no longer 30 seconds needs careful preparation and figures crossed. For this exercise the bunk has to be pivoted at the right angle to allow a sandwich box top to rest level at the high side of the bunk between the lee cloth (a piece of cloth the length of the bunk and approximately one foot in width that is pulled up to prevent you falling out) and the mattress. Assuming this remains stable I can then rest my contact lens case on the top of the lid and quickly grab a lens whilst the boat is shaking around. The tricky bit is that once the lens is conveniently placed on my finger is then to transfer this to my eye (a) without dropping it (b) without taking my eye out. This is dependent on the helm and many days I have been cursing them as they either perform a manoeuvre or get it wrong. Good news is I haven't lost a lens or eye yet.
Anyway, the storm itself was astonishing, scary and something few people on this planet will ever experience. At times gusting 100 knots. I know that some of us were thinking of our families and friends at the time. But Dixie (the nickname we have given the boat) stood her ground and with the skilful helming by the skipper Chris and the calm actions of the crew everything turned out okay. I couldn't help thinking what could have happened had a major breakage occurred. To feel the power of the wind, seeing the sea state being whipped up is something I won't forget in a hurry.
Ryan made an interesting observation that we are probably at one of the furthest points from civilisation. Looking at the chart or map as we like to refer to it, to wind Peter ('Zig Zag') up, few people will have ventured to this part of the Southern Ocean based on the lack of data recorded on the chart. So it’s good to hear that you guys are reading these blogs and following us. Thank you.
A few days ago, without warning, a bow wave crashed over the side of the boat lifted me, Kiwi Chris and Nikki up off the high side and deposited me in the cockpit. Fortunately we were all wearing out tethers and none of us were hurt.
The last couple of days the sea state has been calm and a very welcome reprise.
We now appear to be making ground on some of the other boats, which is great news as we know we can be, and are on many schedules that we receive, in the top group for speed. What I had never considered before setting off was the emotional roller coaster of being in front of a boat one day and finding ourselves behind the next day for no apparent reason. However, we press on and look forward to arriving in Albany where I know one of our earlier crew members, Dale, will be re-joining the crew for the next leg.
Dale is our expert on rope splicing and helping me with the sail repairs.So if you are reading this, Dale, I don't want any cocky comments about the quality of my/our work, Just line up the beer!
All for now
PS For new crew , mark your clothing - everything we have here is similar in colour and every watch someone has lost/misplaced items (hats/gloves/socks) better still bring bright colours.