Sunday, December 9, 2012

Taking the rough with the smooth

Position: 05°41'N, 124°52'W

The big push eastwards is going well and we've travelled over 500 miles
to the east over the past week – hurrah! At this part of the world, one
degree of longitude is equal to 60 miles so every degree gained east
gives us a great sense of achievement.

This week had its ups and downs. The ups included news from two close
friends in Ireland of a marriage proposal and a baby on the way; we
recorded our best day of progress on Sunday with 130 miles travelled in
24 hours; and we (read Skipper) finally found the source of a deck leak
that has plagued us since leaving New Zealand.

However in the middle of all of this, we had two becalmed days when we
were either on the engine or heading back to where we had come from. We
can catch water from the sky and we can generate electricity from wind
or water. However fuel is the one thing we can't replenish out here and
every hour on the engine in this first half of our passage adds another
line to the Skipper's handsome face. And heading back the way we have
come is mentally frustrating as it feels like all our hard work to move
forward has been for nothing. However this is all part of the sailing
package and if it was that easy, it wouldn't be an adventure. We're now
back in strong 20 knot south-easterly winds, the engine is off and the
forecast is looking good. Just gotta take the rough with the smooth.

Food has become an obsession for both of us as we come to the end of our
fresh fruit and vegetable supplies. The Skipper is dreaming about juicy
steaks and has decided to bring his own knife and fork from the boat to
the first restaurant we find in Panama, to reduce any possible delays in
getting red meat to his stomach. The other day, while looking for a
biscuit recipe in a cookbook, the First Mate came across pictures of
succulent roast dinner dishes – and nearly cried. It's hard but it's not
exactly the hardship as experienced by the sailors of old. Modern
canning and drying technology have enabled us to stock a diverse and
reasonably healthy amount of food on board - salami, tinned chicken and
a variety of canned vegetables (mushrooms, spinach, peas, corn, carrots,
beans, potatoes) give us a lot to work with.

For breakfast we have porridge with canned fruit. For lunch we have
cheese sandwiches, tinned soup, instant noodles, baked beans or boiled
eggs. For dinner, we have a list of 12 meals to choose from including
pasta carbonara, vegetarian chilli con carne with rice, vegetable curry
with noodles, kidney bean curry with rice, creamy chicken bake, tomato
tuna bake, hot potato salad with fried chorizo, couscous with
ratatouille and feta. This really makes life on board a lot more
enjoyable and we take our hats off to people like Joshua Slocum, the
first solo sailor to circumnavigate the world in 1895 on a diet of
coffee, dried biscuits and potatoes. Or Eric and Sue Hiscock who cruised
around the world in the 1960s without refrigeration.

Saying that, Joshua Slocum and the Hiscocks did manage to feed
themselves from the sea. Despite Skipper's continued best efforts, we
still haven't caught a fish. We did catch a sea gull though. After
circling the boat for a few days, he swooped just a bit too close to our
wind generator and plop, dropped like a stone into the sea. Somehow the
tables have turned so it is we who are feeding the sea, instead of the
other way around.

3 comments:

  1. So we should expect a cookbook to be published after the trip?!?!

    ReplyDelete
  2. It's been a couple months now... Have you got the hang of life at sea yet? How's 4 hours of sleep/wake pattern doing for you?

    I've heard that people who gone out to sea for in small groups usually end up with lots of beard after sailing for a extended period of time... So grown a few inches of beard recently?

    Should put some photos of you guys out if you have the chance! :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi Guys sounds like great sailing conditions. Hopefully you have been having clear sky at night to see the meteor showers that have been coming through. Thought the following headline from B&T would resonate with Myles. "Festive slush-fest rom-com Love Actually (686,000) was the top non-news program of last night, beating Seven's fantasy series Once Upon a Time (628,000)". Its one of the signs that Xmas is coming, blooming Pohutakawa's and having to watch Love Actually (again!). Hope you are all well and the fair winds continue.

    ReplyDelete