WITH THE HIGHS, THERE ARE THE LOWS

November 6, 2008

With the highs, there are the lows. From watching, with delight, dolphins dancing off the bow to watching, with frustration, twenty feet of angry wave smack the boat we are in one of the lows.

Against the norm of a west wind, it has been from the east at a steady thirty knots. Therefore, to get to the trade winds we have had to be hard on the wind for the last three days under reduced sail and speed. It has taken its toll.

New York to South Africa (6 of 46)

The boat is like an amusement ride we can’t get off; bouncing, tossing and turning in all directions as the waves and wind play. The bananas and tomatoes, which hung in nets in the galley, have been unceremoniously tossed overboard. Their corpses battered to a pulp by the relentless pounding leaving their bloodstain against the wall.

The crew has faced little better. Everybody, except me, has been sick. The constant jarring movement makes it difficult to do anything. It takes great effort to do the simplest of tasks as you use all your muscles to keep yourself from flying across the inside of the boat – not always with success. As a result, there has not been much activity. Each person will grab a small bite when hungry but spends most of their time sleeping and reading (or in Doug S case sending email after email on the ham radio). It is quiet below except for the sound of the water against the hull and the wind in the sails. I too sleep and read. I do some video and photography but it has been too rough to download the images to my computer.

Fine salt covers everything on deck. It comes from the constant spray of water as the boat punches through the waves. That everything includes the crew. Every time I lick around my lips, I can taste the salt stuck in my unshaven face.

New York to South Africa (7 of 46)

Yes, it is tedious right now. People are not jovial and all are wishing for a change in wind direction that we know will come; but there are moments, when on watch, that the wonder of the sea grabs you. The power of the wind and waves, the expanse of the ocean, and the small flying fish, like silver bullets breaking the surface of the water streaking through the air to disappear a few moments later into a wave.

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