Race 15 - Day 5
Crew Diary - Libraries and Pool Toys
30 July

Sandra Sheppard
Sandra Sheppard
Team Ha Long Bay, Viet nam
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I am sitting, in silent contemplation, in the boat’s library and… “Wait, what” I hear you say “You’ve got a library?” Well not really. You see, night watches are long but humour is high on Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam so nicknaming people, objects and locations is a common pastime. For instance our ‘Pool Toys’ are not really meant for a pool. They are a set of emergency gear located at the back of the boat but they do get chucked into the biggest pool of all, the ocean, if need be. There are, for instance, a set of four bright yellow horseshoe floating devices with strobe lights. They are the equivalent to pool noodles, that one can hold onto and bob around on. Then there are our life-rafts, big orange inflatables. A bit like those lidos with cup holders for your mohito or such, which I wouldn’t mind having one right now. Our rafts don’t have those. I suspect a cocktail being the last thing on your mind anyway should you find yourself in need of one a raft.

But I digress, back to the library. It’s a simple seat, made from webbing rigged to the port aft railing. It’s a great spot to watch the spray from the rudders being thrown up and we had some decent waves chasing the boat before catching up and crashing into the transom. Quite the spectacle, yet so simple. Maybe we should rename the library to cinema, I shall bring that up in our next night watch.

While sitting there, something about 15 metres behind the boat caught my eye. A big fin broke the surface followed by the even bigger body of a whale. I jumped up and shouted. Skipper Josh, standing on the starboard side saw it too. The whale only popped up for a short time and then disappeared.. Magnificent but it didn’t take long before realising that this had been quite close for comfort. A few seconds earlier and the encounter could have been a collision. It made me wonder about probability. In all this vastness the chances of two such tiny specks crossing paths at all must be minute. But here we were, checking each other out.

When I climb into my bunk today there will only be a few centimeters of fiberglass separating me from the mighty ocean and all its creatures. Hopefully I’ll dream of whales. I shall press my ear against the hull, maybe I will hear them sing, and wouldn’t that be something.

Time to go and sail, rest, repeat.

Hugs and love to my family, friends and colleagues at ILM.

Little curmudgeon, I miss you very much. When I get to London there will be lots of hugs, pinches and giggles. In the meantime look after your Dad.