1)Beating into the wind sucks, no two ways about it.
2)Beating into 25 knots of winds, into short choppy seas sucks even more.
3)Beating into 25kts of wind, in short choppy seas, while shipping salt water into the boat via the anchor locker and having to sponge put the bilges every two hours is on an even higher level of suck.
Add to this the fact that EVERYTHING on the boat got SOAKED (before we found where the water was coming from) in sea water three days ago, and also that due to our point of sail we can’t open any of the hatches to air it all out, and you have a very uncomfortable cabin. It must be 35 degrees inside the cabin, moist, musty and starting to get mouldy. As soon as we open a hatch, we take a wave over the boat and soak one of our cushions or sheets or pillowcases even more than it already is. We are remaining positive though, because things could definitely be worse: We could be sitting with NO WIND, and no DIESEL (seeing as we had to use all it to avoid a Tropical Cyclone) in the Doldrums (where we are) for days. Also, we have a reprieve in sight: The further south we get, the weaker the grip that the ITCZ has on the Southern Hemi SE trade winds. This ITCZ is such a massive low pressure area that even something as set in as the southern hemisphere trade winds get sucked north. Escaping the ITCZ is an uphill, upwind battle, totally like swimming against the current to reach the blissful calm of a nice swimming hole upstream. As we get further away from Mr ITCZ, we should get more and more easterly direction in our wind, which translates to the wind coming from behind us, open hatches, air flow, double the boat speed and no more SLAMMING into waves. BRING IT ON!
Over the past few days we have delved into the feast that Mr. Neil Heidstra put together for us. Neil, an avid hiker and outdoor guy, built himself a food dehydrator a few years ago, and has clearly perfected the art. We have dedicated an entire ice box (Neil’s Locker) to these dried foods and every day try out new one of his marvelous feats! Up until this point we have been eating all the perishables on the boat, so it is only recently that we have come to realise what a GOLDMINE we have been sitting on! Neil, if you are reading this, THANK YOU SO MUCH for this amazing array of eats! Carrots, Brussel Sprouts, Broccoli, Mushrooms, Tuna, Ground Beef, Shrimp, Lemon Slices, Green, Red and Yellow Peppers, Tomato Flakes, Eggs, etc etc etc. After not seeing land for almost two weeks, watching these veggies reconstitute themselves brings MUCH more anticipation that any television show (yes, even 24)! Imagine eating a chicken stirfry with green, red and yellow peppers, sautéed with mushrooms and chopped peanuts, and served on a bed of rice and spinach… Are you on the set of the Iron Chef? Nay, this is the average dinner about sailing Vessel Khulula (Charlie Foxtrot Gulf Seven Four Four Three) thanks to the amazing effort of Neil. Diana Robertson also deserves a huge mention here, for smuggling this not-so-small and highly dodgy package across the Mexican border! What did your customs card look like mom?!
OK, I am off outside to see if I can catch a fish. Wouldn’t want to get Keel Hauled, I hear that is a pretty unpleasant experience. What Bryson didn’t mention in his blog is that my line DID actually catch a couple of fish last week, one of which Bryson towed all of his night shift without realizing it was on there. The next morning, all that was left was a well bitten lure that had been grinded upon to the point that there were no barbs left on the hook, and it was not sharp at all. There have to be tuna around here though, considering that we passed within 2nm of a Tuna fishing ship last night. It was was great to see some other human life, and have a quick chat to the night watchman over the radio! We really need to get out boat speed above 4kts to get up to Tuna speed though, so this feast is also waiting for our wind shift…
SO here is to hoping that our next blog will be written while sailing downwind, and with bellies filled with fresh Bluefin tuna!