Monday 4 November 2013

Day 17: Flat Seas And A Laid Back Life Style

What else can one wish for? We are having the most laid back time on board, courtesy of the prevailing weather. Hardly any sun, flat seas and very little wind.

We are still motoring along relatively slowly at just over four knots to conserve diesel. The weather is perceptibly warmer than a few days ago, even though it is still cloudy. I can see that the moon is up by the eerie light cast by the clouds. The moon itself is obscured, though.

The pressure today was down to 1016 hPa, the lowest since the start of our voyage. We hope this weather will clear and that we shall have more wind and an open sky to enjoy once more. 
This weather is wreaking havoc on my navigation exercises due to the distortion introduced by the clouds. Today I had to discard two of the three sun sights due to the inaccuracies introduced by the distortion through the clouds.

The calm weather is a boon in other areas of our lives, however. It allows us some proper sleep. All of us have felt the change in routine from the on board watch keeping to the shore activities at St Helena. It took us all at least two days to settle into the watch keeping and sleep patterns again. But the longer sleeping hours helps a lot.

It appears that all of us have now relaxed into our roles aboard and at a social level we are getting along just fine. A wonderful experience thus far, in spite of the weather.

And there was a remark unanimously supported by all of us that the standard of dining on board is better than anything we could buy at St Helena. Including the best hotel.

I am keeping myself occupied during waking hours by reading and playing Soduko. My shipmates keep themselves busy by  some reading and mostly watching movies. Interesting how different age groups amuse themselves. At least the music is good.

It is quite difficult to satisfy all tastes and age groups. In our case the musical taste is towards older pop music and some light classical and soft jazz. A blessing in disguise. An acquaintance once went on a voyage of three odd weeks and the only music they had on board was a memory stick from one of the teenage crew members, loaded with the teenage style pop and disco music. Imagine that!

I am wading my way through Homer's Odyssey at the moment. An epic story, if ever there was one. This one in verse, nogal. I am viewing many of the mental images with a different set of spectacles, so to speak. This after reading The Slave Species of God by Michael Tellinger. His take on mythology casts a totally different light on the myths from classical old Greece.

But even from Tellinger's aspect, the story of Ulysses is still an epic one. I am not even halfway, but  quarrels and mischief abound. Having read the best part of the Kama Sutra as well, I can report that there are great parallels between what the Kama Sutra describes as proper behaviour for obtaining the favour and services of women and what goes on in the courts of the kings in old Greece. And there appears to be no want of aspiring suitors for the lonely queen.

Forsooth. Perhaps my upbringing was on the conservative side or else I lead a very sheltered life up to now!

The reading is doing me no end of good. It is rather relaxing to read a book. At home, reading time gets interrupted by the news on TV, or, heaven forbid, you spouse's favourite soapie. Also, working on a computer all day, even just surfing the net, tires one out and dulls the senses. Out here I specifically stay away from computerised or electronic pastimes. It is part of the cleansing of the mind and chilling out from the hurly-burly of the urban life that I strive for at home, but hardly ever attain. Mostly due to outside influences.

Here on board we are all more or less in the same mental mode, which is different from that on land.
We all have lots of private time while on watch. The other crew are sleeping, so you have a specific quietness surrounding you. At night the lights are all doused to allow your night vision to be at the best. And the music on the boat's entertainment system is also turned off. Then the only sounds are those of the motor running, the wind and the sea.

The best part is when we are sailing and the motor is also quiet. Then Nature's own voice is heard during the quiet times. Especially at night. Rather like a natural meditation environment.
It does your soul no end of good.

And that little voice in the back of your head, your ego, also is quiet. There is nothing to excite it.
So you can rest properly.

Authored by Johan Zietsman

Last updated on 2013-10-11

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