Posted by: williekp | March 28, 2012

Thoughts on a night watch

My watch tonight is 3 am to 6 am. Personally, I like it. I get to see the dawn. The moon has set by 3am presently so it is very dark with brilliant stars. When you look up on our left hand side, it looks as though some very thin clouds are obscuring the sky. Then you realise that they are not clouds and that you are looking at the Milky Way. Literally billions of other stars just like our sun that make up the galaxy we live in. I have an app on my phone that helps you find planets and stars. One of the things you can see is Andromeda. Andromeda, is the closest other galaxy to us and can be seen by the naked eye. It is as big as our Milky Way by itself and there are billions of other galaxies out there also. When you think about that, it makes our little planet seem special. Just like this boat is special to me right now.The full moon nights are something else I am looking forward to.

Everyone else is fast asleep so the boat is very quiet and dark. We are in the doldrums so there is not much wind. The waves are making a sort of sloshing gurgling noise and the previous watch keeper reported hearing dolphins playing around the boat. We still have hundreds of miles to go in any direction to reach land. I have been listening to my i-phone music. I tend to make different choices and experiment. Guggenheim is still right up there Trevor and , sorry Chris and St John, so is Leonard Cohen. However,a few others are starting to make the list. The Snowman wouldn’t seem to fit the temperature but all the flying about in the sky fits well with the vista of the stars. David Bowie’s Space Oddity and Starman are also two that I don’t seem to tire of. It may be though, that the best music is the stuff that goes on in your head when you just sit still, look, listen and try to take it all in. The picture doesn’t do justice to the sunrise, but you get the idea.

It is the same day and I have just finished my 5 to 9 pm stint. It has been a fairly happy boat all round today. I wangled a fried breakfast. With all the rocking about it is not possible to weigh myself accurately, even though there are scales aboard. I have been estimating the erosion of my one pack by which belt hole I have been using. Things are headed in the right direction, I think, and on that topic my sunburn has been getting better. We were much better at putting up all the various poles and sails today. We still made a few goofs although nothing serious. The generator and the water maker both worked as advertised and our water reserve is back up to around 800 litres from 580. For some reason, I have been appointed as the water minister and water police. My big idea, which has actually worked, was simply to do the first pass at the washing up in sea water and just rinse with fresh. Water consumption is probably down to a total of about 25 litres a day from 70. I dread to think how much we use at home by comparison. Living on a boat is a fairly ‘green’ affair.

On the downside there are two issues. We have been going for 6 days now since leaving the Las Perlas islands. We made great progress at first but we are now firmly in the grip of the doldrums. We have about another 250 miles to run to our anchorage in the Galapagos. In decent wind that is two days at an average of 5 knots. Today we have spent long hours coaxing the boat along at 1 or 2 knots. At that speed 250 miles could take another 5 to 10 days. We don’t want to motor because the fuel in the Galapagos is both expensive and of dubious quality which could lead to engine and generator issues further down the line. Patience is a virtue. On that topic, fishing has not been going well. It is far too long since I had a proper tug on my tackle. I noticed a small fish called a ballyhoo today right beside the boat. It jumped out of the water twice and as it entered again there was a big splash and no more ballyhoo. It had been trying to escape a predator but didn’t make it. The fish are there but I think we are not trolling our lures fast enough to fool them. Anyhow, tomorrow is another day but. Are just about out of red snapper and I want something fresh to have a Sushi party as we cross the Equator.

More later….


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