The Doldrums were a very surreal experience. How can the middle of the Atlantic Ocean be so calm? Needless to say it’s a beautiful place to be but the weather can changes within minutes. The majority of the time the weather was scorching, with a deck too hot to walk on and a crew desperately searching for shade! We were also hit by a few torrential down pours! It really was a fascinating place to be. A week of very little breeze or consistency caused frustration to build on team GB as we made painfully slow progress but hitting the trade winds saw all that disappear with beautiful sailing conditions!
I'm now a Shellback! We crossed the Equator on the 29 September at 1546 UTC which was a very exciting and memorable moment for everyone on board. With a visit from King Neptune we celebrated with a production based on the traditional Royal Navy ceremony. I was one of the royal bears with my face painted I wore a black bin liner and a pair of ears made of grey polystyrene tubing and gaffa tape! As a royal bear I thought I would escape the initiation but I was summoned along with the other bears and had a concoction of cous cous, soy sauce, weetabix, rice pudding, tomato ketchup and milk throw over me... It was disgusting! But such a laugh!
Over the past 48 hours we've been beating into the wind and there's more of that to come. Our watches have been very demanding with numerous head sail changes and reefing. It’s a sharp contrast to what we were experiencing in the Doldrums about a week ago to say the least! During our watch yesterday a whale appeared within about 20 meters of our boat, we all stood in amazement. It was a truly incredible sight.
I think we were all hoping we would have arrived in Rio by now, but we're almost there. Almost! We should arrive tomorrow afternoon... I think it’s safe to say as a crew we're ecstatic at the thought of the luxuries dry land will bring us. I think arriving in Brazil will be a mixture of emotions for me. Although I'm really excited to set foot in Rio and see a part of the world I've never seen before, it also signifies the end of this amazing experience.