It’s official – sailing in the doldrums drives you nuts.
Two hours of daylight so far and we’ve had the parasailor (big, pretty spinnaker) up, going nicely for 10 minutes, then the wind dies, you wake the other person up to drop it, but then the wind picks up so you leave it up, only to then have to re-awaken the other person 10 minutes later. So we get our white sails out, we go upwind – very nice – then wind changes direction, drops, goes back up. Frustrating to say the least, never mind the lack of sleep when there is just the two of you!
We’d get the motor on but the Australian and American boats that we are heading towards Galapagos with keep declaring victory when sailing, so we’re obliged to join in. I bet they’re thinking the same thing. Heck, why does that Brit and Yankee want to keep sailing in these conditions?!
To be fair, when you are sailing it is joyous. Yesterday morning with the sun coming up, the sky that wonderful hue of orange, blue and white, the parasailor billowing out to starboard, helm in the one hand, winch handle in the other trimming the sail, the breeze gently flowing over the blue sea – it doesn’t get any better. Bliss.
Talking of good things, the Mozzie radio net we have joined has a fishing section when anybody that catches a fish let’s everyone know. The Australians we are sailing with announced they had their fishing rod out looking for kamikaze fish. Two fishing rods makes a competition, the return of the Ashes, England v Australia. 7pm last night, the Brits landed a tuna! And no we don’t have Kevin Pietersen onboard. Admittedly we usually have the rod away when it’s dark and just might have forgotten it, but the sun was just down as we reeled it in. Out came the cheap whisky in a squirt type bottle. Fishing tactics have improved whereby Susie did not douse the entire stern deck in whisky as she has previously done in an alarmed state, and the tuna only got half a pint of whisky this time directly in it’s gills. So we caught the first fish of the Mozzie net competition! It’ll be in the Sydney Herald tomorrow “English shock victory in the Pacific”
Onto more good things and we saw our first dolphins of the Pacific Ocean during the night. And this was just a little special. At night the water becomes fluorescent with any movement, key Dolphins lighting up the water! It was like nothing we’ve ever seen before, the water lit up in a jet stream of bubbles and yellow phosphoresence as the dolphins darted backwards and forwards playing on the bow, a splash or a sudden turn in the water making a real bowl of bright yellow light. It was an ocean firework display; we both stood on the bow in awe. Indeed we thought of our friend Lindsay Cunningham who would squeal when seeing dolphins in the Atlantic; had she been with us I fear she would dived in to join in the kaleidoscope of yellow streams of bubbles. Never forgotten.
So we have 500 nautical miles to go, 100-120 hours depending on the pesky wind. A further four degrees till we cross the Equator. Any ideas for silly games to play as we cross for our first time?