Sunday 16 September 2012

2nd Leg Day 22: A Day of Introspection

Today was a day like any other day of the past week. Brilliant sunshine, a calm sea, hardly any wind. We have completed all the daily, even weekly, chores that are required and that we can do at sea. The boat is clean.

It gave us time to sit and reflect on the voyage thus far, and on life in general.

All of us were quiet at some time during the day. Perhaps more than normal. The voyage has been long, even if it had been relatively good sailing up to now. Barring, of course, the fun and games with the autopilot.

For myself, I was thinking back and reflecting on the life and times of my late son Werner, who passed away last year. Today, 22 August, would have been his 29th birthday. One does not want to nurture memories to the point of a sickly clinging on to bygones, but today was a good time to sit back and relive some of the memories. Then to wrap them neatly and store them away in a special place in your heart for later, when the need for reflection and meditation arises again.

We all need this as part of closure and coping with trauma. Some people jump on a religious bandwagon and go off in a huff, just to realise after a while that one cannot run away from your memories. All that is needed is some time to sit back and reflect on the past, and not to dwell and belabour all the negatives. Rather recall the positives and use them as examples of what can be, then build on them and move on.

We are now nearing the end of the voyage. And we are nearing the hurricane zone in hurricane season, of all things. There is a low pressure system developing about 800 miles south- southeast of us. Hopefully this system will not hinder us in our travels. We are about three to four days' worth of sailing from the islands of Barbados and St Lucia, where we can dodge the storm if necessary. St Maarten, our next port of call, is another three days' sailing from there, so we should be safe.

The day was so laid back today that I missed my usual sextant navigation slot. I had planned to take a noon sight of the sun and completed all the preparations, including dead reckoning and time of meridian pass of the sun. And then got busy with a book and navigation lessons for Dawid, distracting me past the hour. I shall do it all over again tomorrow.

The weather is exceedingly hot and humid, with no wind. We have been motoring since 06h00 this morning, generating our own wind on the instruments. The heat is stifling and we have difficulty in sleeping inside in these conditions. Renier reckons that it gets hotter still. Luckily the cumulus clouds gathered early this evening, providing a shower or two to cool us down. I actually took my first al fresco shower on board, quite refreshing. You need to wash fast, before the rain stops and you are left standing in soap suds. I managed it just in time and by standing where the water runs off the Bimini top over the aft deck. At last I got rid of that sticky feeling, at least for a day or two.

The barometer is rising again. Hopefully it is more than the diurnal change and we get some wind again and be able to stop the engines and sail for a change. Or perhaps this time we really hit the doldrums. We shall just have to wait and see. We are at the moment being whisked along by the Guyana current at a brisk 3½ to 4 knots, making a total speed of 8 knots, so this helps in getting along before the weather breaks.

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

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