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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Out of the Abyss : Still a Blip in a Vortex of Blue


[continued from http://barefootedgypsy.blogspot.com/2012/11/into-abyss-but-blip-in-ocean.html]

Week 3 and still we hadn't caught up to the drowning sun. The heavens still had balls of fire to fling about. The ocean still held suicidal fish to die upon our decks. I suppose that's what happens when you average the incredible speed of 6 knots (tenish kilometers an hour). And then finally, we saw the southern cross and it felt like we were getting somewhere, almost.

Sailing into the sunset day after day - not a bad thing to do really...


We busied ourselves with reading and darkening (My skin's gone black[er], My hair's going ginger) and tried our hands at baking and sewing and carpentry and art and poetry: (Sorry to inflict this on you)

With Reunion alooming
I feel my heart glooming.
How will I stand
On dry stable solid land

Three weeks of wobbling
On every waves throbbing
Holding on for dear life
Catching falling sugar and spice

With every windful gust
Forward Fiddler was  thrust
Sailing from rise to sunset
And still we're not there yet

For each item we break,
Something new Jim must Make
And whilst we sit alurk,
Kirk's always hard at work

A hole through my lip
A big bruise on my hip
Even my halo's gone tarnish
And the boat really needs a varnish

Deaths aboard have been plenty
At this rate, soon the seas will be empty
For while flying fishes astound,
On deck it's only their corpses to be found.

Computers keep dying
People's hands keep frying
We fall left right and centre
And soon may need dentures

But some day we'll arrive
And our challenge will be land to survive.
 
Halloween chinanigans - nothing in comparisson to the puppet show that came with "Memo day"

Just some of the incredibly drool inducing cookies baked at sea

I really tried to join the mohawk madness - but [despite littering the decks with masses of it] I have to much hair....

Deaths 17 - 21 [20 was a mangled wreck]

And then, in the early hours of day 24, I saw the lights... "Land ahoy". We were but a mere brick throw away... The winds died. The waves died. We sat bobbing motionlessly[ish] on the glassy waters. It took us a whole day to pass Mauritius.


The first land seen in nearly a month! - A mind blowingly beautiful sight!

We spent another whole day staring at the distant Reunion before we finally furled the sails and fired up the engines. Dolphins escorted us the final few miles and, finally, on Wednesday November 21st : 26 days (619 hours and 37 minutes) after licking land farewell, we finally stepped ashore on La Reunion, France: a blip on the map littering the Indian Ocean somewhere between Madagascar and Mauritius - technically in both Africa and Europe...

Greeting land with a lick

It's a massive shock to the system finally being on solid land again - you can put things down and they don't involuntarily move; you don't have to trod cautiously, constantly holding on with one hand, expecting to be flung in some arbitrary direction at any given moment - you can eat without having to hold onto the salt and pepper and your plate and chilly sauce and water and vegetables and chair....

Weirder still, after a year in Asia, is being back in the Western world, back the first world. You don't see whole families and their livestock on a single scooter, you don't have to use squat toilets, people don't yell out "hello mr, where you go?" or "masssaaaaage-a?" or "you want boom boom?? dr bob? you want to fly to the moon?" You don't have an endless mob following you around trying to sell you wooden frogs and chicken giblets. 

The most amazingest yet is that in our little floating world there were no mutinies, there was no keel-hauling and no scurvy. Let's hope the next stretch, to Richard's Bay (South Africa - the homelands), is similarly epic!!!!


Monday, November 26, 2012

Into the Abyss : But a Blip in the Ocean


"When I grow up, I wanna be a pirate." - Former me, age 5ish...
And I really did. I wanted to swing by ropes from boat to boat waving plastic swords (all swords are plastic when you're 5ish) demanding cookies and cake... that's what I wanted to be.


 But out in the ocean, the last thing you'd like to meet are them pirate types - especially when you're delapan ratus delapan pulah delepan (Indonesian for 888) miles away from the closest splotch of land.. There's no calling the coast guard or radioing a ship for assistance. There's nothing. And in the real world, pirates aren't nice. Or so I've heard.

Stocked up with canned vegetables, a freezer full of chillis, and enough tofu and tempe to circumnavigate the globe [and the rest of the planets] at least 27 times, we licked land goodbye (18:42 pm, Friday 26 October) and prepared for the great vortex of blue that awaited us.

Approaching our last wake point before 3512 miles in a straight line...
The wind whisked out of Bali just in time to celebrate captain Kirk's birthday, which was conveniently located the day before Halloween which was conveniently located the day before Christmas [island] - which you have to celebrate - which created a plethora of convenient celebrations to mark the start of our Indian ocean crossing.


All through the first week, dolphins leaped at our bow and spun through the air and awed us with their magnificent beauty as we chased the sunset. One tanker overtook us, one tsunami warning buoy beguiled us, one soap wrapper floated by. Apart from that, there was nothing.



And then the winds picked up and the dolphins were lost in the 3-5 meter swell; lee cloths went up because life became a constant 30 degree lean to the right, and it's hard to not roll out of bed at that angle. We saw one bobbing coconut and a plastic bottle, but for all we knew there may well have been treasure chests lurking nearby - the seas flamed like a furnace.

Bathing (by hanging onto the stern ladder) became restricted to holding on with both hands, and only when there were at least 2 people to supervise; it's not as easy as you might think to furl the gib, lower the main, start the engine and about ship to rescue fallen sailors.

The captain trying to ski swim off the back of the boat.... the captain was the only one crazy enough to try this... the captain was also almost lost to the sea...


Electronic devices died left, right, over board and centre. The deck became littered with flocks of flying fish (54 found dead - one rescued).

Storms came and went. Movie nights were either done verbatim, or moved indoors.  

One hand was constantly clinging on for dear life whilst the other caught falling people and produce and toilet seats. Make that falling everythings - things learned to magically fly every time we heeled at the mercy of a giant wave. Our bodies glimmered blue with bruises.

17 50 379 S; 086 45 777 E, Day 12, I flew across the galley and somehow succeeded in piercing my tooth through my chin. It hurt a lot. It bled a lot.

The healing of my pieced lip... and no it did not make me turn yellow... I think that may just be the camera.

White waves mesmerised us by day, shooting stars awed us at night. Our trusty swivel, sea force stove kept our stomachs well sated.

Shortly before our furthest point from any land (902 miles away from Cotos Keeling and 902 miles away from Chagos), we spotted a small fishing boat -- the last thing you expect to see out in the ocean. Another two vessels purpled on our radar. Pirates??We sat nervously watching... they eventually disappeared.

At 14:04 pm, Day 13, we hit the half way to La Reunion mark - 1756 nautical miles in. Pop pops and tom thumbs and a message in the bottle went off. Hugs did their rounds. And then we all sat back down and carried on being mesmerised. We still had a very long way to go.

The excitement that is beer oclock (especially on time zone change days, where 5ish oclock came around twice)