Race 12 - Day 8
Crew Diary - Pat Turner - Race 12 Day 8
10 June

Pat Turner
Pat Turner
Team Zhuhai
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Hi to everyone! Well, I won't repeat here the updates from the Clipper Race or from my fellow crew members re. this race and our sailing fortunes. I will, however, say that it has been an exhilarating sailing experience evidencing that nothing is certain, everything is possible and that there is never a good reason to give up. We continue to have a great time at sea, with all crew equally sharing sailing (e.g. helming, trimming, etc) and domestic duties (Mother Watch, cleaning etc). We continue to learn something new every day, as we improve and perfect our sailing knowledge and skills. Both Patrick and James, our Skipper and AQP, continue to show that they have endless bags of patience, smiles and humour!

I wanted to use this blog to briefly share my personal observations relating to the wonders of Mother Nature and sadly, the way in which we abuse the ocean and all that call this their home.

The Zhuhai crew have been fortunate to witness amazing sunsets and sunrises (unimpeded by buildings or hills), to watch a total eclipse of the moon (probably the best that one will ever see, facilitated by the dark skies that we sail in), to see Venus/Mars/Jupiter shine brightly on the elliptical plane, to see numerous shooting stars and to observe the Space Station on many occasions passing over us at around 17,500 mph (the crew in the Space Station get to circumnavigate the earth every 90 minutes!). Between the sunsets and sunrises the night skies have been spectacular, with a combination of northern and southern hemisphere constellations to grab our attention - for those who live in the Northern Hemisphere, the Southern Cross (as featured on the Australian and New Zealand flags) is one of the highlights.

Spotting wildlife has been more challenging than I had expected. We have, however, seen a few whales (often their spouts of water being the only things that we see), numerous dolphins either out chasing shoals of fish or coming in close to us for a good look and to show off), Manta Rays somersaulting, lots of flying fish, some small squid that jump on board attracted by our night lights and a number of birds including the Boobies that stayed with us overnight. I should also give special mention to the many solitary turtles that we have passed (and who may have passed us in various wind holes), bring home to me the incredible journeys that many turtles make as they cross over vast oceans to complete their life cycle. We have had a few unexpected visitors including small migratory birds, a few moths (how do they actually manage to reach us?) and a grasshopper as we bobbed around the latest wind hole between Cuba and Haiti.

Sadly, we have seen the build up of plastic waste in the Caribbean Sea as our fellow humans use the ocean as a convenient dumping ground. What we can see as waste on the surface is alarming but is just a fraction of what is there, as much of the plastic waste floats by below the surface or is so small (so called microplastics) that we can't see this content so easily. The impact of this waste on the wildlife that tries to live in an ocean polluted in this way is a known issue and one that we seem to find hard to resolve even though simple solutions could all play a part to improve the marine environment. Something to think about and to take action, rather than turn a blind eye to!

So to end, with a few more days of racing to Bermuda to go, our final position for this race is by no means certain. We will have sailed well, in mixed weather and situations, enjoying our ongoing sailing development and experiences. We've had sailing highs and lows! We are all looking forward to cooler accommodation, cool showers and cold drinks. Catching up with our friends and family is a very special and welcome treat that comes after we arrive into port, that we are all looking forward to.

With just 50 days or so to go before arriving in London, we still have the upcoming Bermuda stopover to complete and then our races to New York, Derry~Londonderry and the final sprint into London. The time remaining will likely fly by! I hope to see many familiar faces as we make our way home and on arrival. Take care and enjoy the summer!