Tuesday 31 July 2012

Day 10: Second Sourdough Loaf and a Start to Spit and Polish

The day dawned cloudy and grey. A thick woollen blanket obscuring the sun, but not our spirits. No rain, but thankfully a cool day where we didn't have to wear wind breakers or thick jerseys. Unfortunately also hardly any wind.

Today was the third day in a row where it was impossible to take a sun sight, or any other sight for that matter. I shall have to use some form of dead reckoning as a start to the navigation on the next clear day to enable my sight reduction calculations. Another challenge for primitive navigation methods not to take a peek at the GPS.

We are now closer to St Helena island than any other dry land on earth and hope to reach the island by Monday morning. A distance of just under 600 nautical miles remains. We are at present sailing along at just on six knots, nice comfortable speed in the flat sea. I say it is rather enjoyable, but from a different perspective it is rather like driving through the Great Karoo in a slow car. Or Texas, if you are from that neck of the woods.

St Helena is one of the more remote places on earth and can only be reached by sea. This will change soon, as they are getting an airport. This should open this island to the world. They have a local radio station for the population of around 4000 people. A quaint little place, where Napoleon Bonaparte spent his last days in banishment and where a number of my forefathers lie buried after being interned on the island during the Anglo Boer War.

We used the opportunity to do some required maintenance around the boat, as well as some preventive measures against chafing and other forms of long term damage to the boat. Things that will prepare you for the more stormy days, which may ease your misery. We also made a start at cleaning the decks of scuff marks and the odd rust spot. Rust spots on a glass-fibre boat, you ask? We get those from the fallout from steel grinding, blown across the harbour while still in Cape Town. These little pieces of steel then sits on the deck and rusts into the deck. A pain to remove if left long enough. That is why we take a toothbrush or two on board to use along with rubbing compound. We got a gentle reminder today of the corrosive nature of our environment, scraping layers of pure sea salt off the foredeck hatches. A useful source of the stuff should we run out. Nicely crystallised too. Your own fresh sea salt. The mind boggles.

My second batch of bread was baked this morning. After removing the dough from the fridge to thaw a little, I cut the dough into two pieces before shaping them into two loaves. These were left to rest for another forty minutes before the oven was switched on at about 190ºC/375ºF. I judged the oven to take about five minutes to get to temperature, since it is a small oven. Added thirty five minutes to that for baking time and then switched off, leaving the loaves in the oven to cool off slowly. They came out a beautiful light brown colour and tasted divine. One loaf was consumed forthwith, the other is sitting on the work top patiently awaiting its fate. We opened a can of strawberry jam for the occasion.

Our little sprout garden on board is growing well. The fenugreek sprouts have gone into the refrigerator, waiting for tomorrow's salad. Perhaps again a tuna, noodle and mayonnaise salad, maybe this time with a dash of onions and definitely the sprouts. They go well in a light salad for lunch. We are possibly running into a very real problem in that we may soon have more sprouts than we can consume at the present rate of production. Interesting problem to have. I shall cut back on the production. Whatever the case, the produce is delicious and the fresh veggies are much appreciated by all.

This afternoon I came to realize just how much music we have on board. I think I shall need at least ten more deliveries to listen to it all. Between the three of us there is a wide selection, both in spread and depth. Any genre, with a large choice in every genre. At the moment I am listening to an impromptu play list, complete with Anne-Sophie Muller playing Mendelssohn's violin concerto, Pink Martini and Anna Davel, amongst others, each doing their thing as well.

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Authored by Johan Zietsman
Last updated on 2012-12-12

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