Day 4 – 29°38.3S 007°04.3E
12 September 2013 – Total Distance Covered: 755nm
I had been up since the start of my shift at 9pm the previous day, was on watch until 2am, but then decided to stay awake to watch the sun rise. It was glorious and the gravity of where I was finally begun to sink in. Hundreds of miles away from land and civilisation. The wind is gone. It is hot. The sea is calm but small swells roll by. There is nothing for miles. We are alone.
It feels like we’re all finally acclimatised to being on the ocean. The speed at which I run up and down stairs and pull myself through hatchways is increasing. My body has stopped trying to make sense of the random motion of the sea beneath us.
I go to bed around 8am. The sound of the sea sloshing past my head is incredible. The squeaky block is still squeaking but in the moments between squeaks I can close my eyes and hear the ocean, hundreds of meters deep beneath me. I imagine what it must be like to do these kinds of voyages by yourself, does this gentle ocean lullaby become a deafening reminder of your isolation or is it just as calming?
I sleep. Even though the engine is running, the noise of water and engine blend into one. I get up at around lunch time and the wind returned. We are being followed by a pod of dolphins. I think they’re interested in our echo sounder.
I make spaghetti bolognaise for dinner. Everyone loved it except Chris…. he had been looking a bit delicate for a couple of hours. He took one mouthful and then rushed outside to start puking. It was not the food… this was the bug that was making its way around our crew. Laura had only recently started showing her face again, and now it was Chris’ turn. Paula is nursing Chris dutifully, taking him water and occasionally coming on deck to empty buckets of vom
At sea there are no nurses, no janitors. It’s the crew and you’re a family, whether you like it or not. I have been deathly ill at sea, stuck on deck, freezing, throwing up, while another crew member, a Kiwi girl named Kali, who was equally ill and equally throwing up, helped me put on some warmer pants between our bouts of mutual hurling. Nothing quite bonds two people like vomit and warm socks.
You will see the best and the worst of people at sea. We are trapped. There are times when you have to bite your tongue to keep the peace. Times when you have to drop a friendly argument because you realise that someone is starting to take it a little too seriously. A great skipper, which Magnus certainly is, has to be commander, best friend, mediator and psychologist with each member of the crew. The unavailability of Wikipedia to settle disputes is a sore point with everyone. We make promises to, when we have internet again in a few weeks, forward URLs to each other to prove ourselves right.
This is life at sea.