24 hours: 2 points, 3 sail changes, 34 buckets, 1 whale, 1 shark, 1 flying fish.
When you go through at least 4 wake/sleep cycles in each 24 hour period, just one day can extend a lifetime. Today we had the pleasure of passing through the Scoring Gate in second place, landing us 2 points, but so much has happened today that we actually had to remind ourselves that the gate was just this afternoon.
This morning, my watch came on deck to a glooming storm cloud. Our resident meteorologist said rain, so we all geared up in our foul weather gear. Well, rain is an understatement. The sky dumped so much water on us that there was conversation about bringing the shampoo and condition on deck to take advantage of the lovely shower provided by mother nature.
But there was no time for that. Skipper comes on deck and says this squall needs us to drop the spinnaker and get up the Yankee 1 if we want to pass through the gate. Just as we are letterboxing the spinnaker for a drop, we hear words from Jo back on the helm.
"Whale! Guys, I think I just saw a whale," exclaimed Jo.
"Nope, Jo, you don't see anything," denied Skipper, knowing we had been waiting this whole trip for a whale sighting, but this really was not the time to be distracting the crew.
"Yes... there's a whale... right on the bow," affirmed Jo.
"Okay, yeah good that you saw that... bare away," said Skipper.
Then, just 15 meters off our port side, we see a bulbous nose of a baby whale peak up out of the water, followed by a spurt through its blow hole and a tiny trailing fin. Moments later we were back onto the spinnaker drop as if the sighting never happened.
It wasn't even a half hour later, when I was standing on the bowsprit hanking on the Yankee 1, that the clouds had cleared, the sun was glaring and it was as if the downpour was a figment of our imagination. The only confirmation that we had indeed just been swimming on deck was the remnants of drying-wet-dog hairstyles across the crew.
We were finally able to relax the last hour of our watch, and it felt really weird. There was no spinnaker to trim, no grinder needing grinding, no vang needing manning. We sat in peace as a rainbow came through the clouds off our port side, and we soon got confirmation from Skip that we had passed through the scoring gate in second place.
All was well through the dog watch, and some of the off watch hung around because it was such a beautiful night. Then a flying fish flew on deck, smacked John right across the face, and bounced off straight to the other side of the boat.
"I think that almost went in my mouth," John said in good humor. A good laugh to start a long night watch, in which the rest of my laughs would be in pure hysteria...
"Meg can you do the 2100 log, and get Jo to check the bilges?" Sure... simple enough. I had finished the log before Jo got to the bilges, so I said I'd help him out. We both lifted the floor board and what greeted us below had us both saying simultaneously as we unearthed our next 1.5 hours: "Oh s@!t."
Our water maker had been on the fritz, and apparently the hose was detached for a good 5-10 minutes, allowing a heavy and steady flow of water to empty straight into the bilges. I spent the next 1.5 hours of the watch, literally knee deep in bilge water, bailing out 34 full buckets total. As soon as Jo had emptied one bucket over the side, I had filled another one for him to take up.
It was exhausting to say the least, but provided an instant knock-out once my head hit the pillow. Four hours later, we woke up to a motionless boat. The most interesting thing that met us on deck was that the other watch claimed they saw a shark fin circling. Oh and yeah, by the way, we've only been going 1-2 knots, so take down the A1 and put up the windseeker. Goodnight.
We got the windseeker out, but luckily the wind picked up again slightly, so we rode out the A1 as long as we could. We all sat along the low side to help force a little bit more momentum in the boat, and we stared up at a full-mooned sky.
"I think I see words in the sky," said Sarah. She was right, the clouds were shifting and we started to call out what words we saw... "Elephant" ... "Stopover" ... "Food" ...
"I wonder what it means when the sky is sending you messages," questioned Sarah. It means we've been sleep deprived and it's time to go back to bed.