Like pregnancy


10 days and half way through this interminable crossing I find myself marvelling that I managed to survive that Southern Ocean crossing all those years ago. There are sailors out there/here who do this all the time and love it. I’m not one of them. Give me complex, convoluted coastlines with lots of little nooks to explore – Beagle Channel, Labrador, Norway – and I quite like sailing. But I really don’t enjoy these huge bits of water with no fresh fruit and laundromats.

We’ve had very little wind and have motored most of the way so far. We don’t have enough fuel for the whole journey though and I’ve been gambling on our finding breeze up ahead. Maybe I’ve been right – this morning for the first time we have been moving under sail at a respectable speed (5.5 knots) towards Trinidad.

I thought this would be a 2 week crossing in brisk trade winds but it’ll be closer to 3, I reckon. At the moment we’re rolling our way west at 5 knots with twin headsails on poles. It is pleasantly warm under the cockpit awning and we are having one of our meal planning meetings – they are held 3 times daily and last about an hour, so I can type while we discuss our dwindling options.

It is Friday 13th and we have almost exactly 800 miles to go. I am actively resisting searching the horizon ahead for Trinidad. Like pregnancy, ocean passages get longer as you get towards the end.

Last night we passed 2 cargo ships at safe distance, bound respectively for Cote d’Ivoire and Nigeria. I do like being reminded tht we are not as alone on this ocean as it feels we are.

Ian is a brick – cheerful, chatty, enthusiastic and a complete bumbler. He spends most of his time planning meals, cooking them and kicking himself for having added too much pepper, paprika, curry powder or tabasco. Tonight we’re having potato stew ras al hanout – using up some Herbie spices which Chris donated for the Macquarie Island trip in 2006. We reckon is should be ok.

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