The wind swung around a little more last night, and for the first time in a week I had tailwinds. 15 knots and we raced towards the equator, surfing waves and tugging at the bit.
We crossed the equator just after sunrise. There was no visible sign as I crossed hemispheres, but sometimes the best things in life can’t be seen!
I splashed myself with a bucket lest I be barred from the courts of King Neptune, and poured a dash of laphroaig into the sea. An expensive toast, but it’s the only stuff I had left.
The excitement of the morning over, we settled down for another day at sea.
I have quite the routine these days. Cup of porridge in the morning. While the porridge is cooking, I mix the dough for the damper, and once the porridge finishes, the damper goes on the stove.
Then I tip the porridge into a bowl, dip a bucket into the ocean and wash up the cooking implements with a fresh water rinse at the end, then settle down for porridge.
Once I’ve finished my porridge, I get the damper off the stove and put it in the insulated slow cooker where it cooks for four hours, ready for lunch.
I’ve grown quite fond of damper, simply 2 cups self-raising flour, dash of sugar, pinch of salt, and 1 cup of water. It’s quite a heavy bread and I eat it raw and warm in chunks.
Unexpectedly, I think it was late morning, the wind dropped. I had little wisps of wind for the next 5 hours, until it returned and now I have a pleasant 10 knots again.
It seems a little weird and self-gratuitous to publicise my mood to the general wide world, but if I wax lyrical about what a great time I’m having and then say nothing else, it seems a bit dishonest and trite.
Anyway, about an hour into my temporary hiatus, something negative awoke in me.
I don’t think it was primarily about being becalmed. I think it was the combination of a grinding disturbance to routine, still being an unchanged speck in the ocean despite another milestone, and perhaps an inevitable let-down from a high.
It was an acute sensation of isolation and despondency. Suddenly the sea that has been my dear home felt foriegn and uninviting. My home is thousands of miles away and I was not welcome here.
It was a real grind of willpower to confront it, and I was losing the battle a little.
I loaded up my email system and read all the lovely messages of support that people have sent through, and I felt a real warmth looking through them. My clouds disappeared and I felt once again that the sea is my home and where I belong in this time of journeying.
So thank you dear readers and may all your gales be short lived!
I put Queen’s “I’m going slightly mad” on the stereo, had another dash of whisky for good measure, and whistled for the wind like a proper sailor does.
I spent the rest of the day listening to Bach. Mostly his brandenburg concertos, orchestral suites, organ preludes, and concertos for random instruments. It struck me how positive and light some of this music is. I spent a while trying to imagine what the man who created all these delightful sounds would be like in the flesh.
I must have been going extraordinarily fast overnight, as even with the windless period, I still managed 138 miles today. I think my tally in the morning at the 12 hour mark was 83 miles, which is an average of 7 knots!!
With the equator behind me, the doldrums now loom ahead, but I think I’ll have around 400 miles more of solid trade winds until I hit it!
Latitude: 1.282, Longitude: -126.694, Time: 05:12:15 08-06-2018 UTC