Sunday 10 November 2013

Day 22: Red Sunrise, Red Sunset

At last we had a full day of sunshine, Red sky in the morning, red sunset in beautiful red, orange and yellows. Granted, there are still some clouds about, but we had a wonderful day's sailing.

Dinner was very fast, courtesy of the leftover meat dish from last night. It was the skipper's turn to cook and he is a lazy cook by his own admission. So it was cous-cous, sweetcorn, a box of potato salad and the leftover meat. Preparation time: 10 minutes. Dishing up: two minutes. And consuming the food took longer than that.

But the meal was a hearty one and fit for the day. We actually had a moment to spare after dinner to watch the sunset.

The sunshine meant we could get on with our fishing. We need to supplement our supplies with fish, else we don't have any protein to eat towards the end of the voyage. All three the male crew had lines out today. We had good boat speed, but our efforts were all in vain. Not a take at all. Perhaps the fish take a little longer than us to recover from a week of cloudy weather.

A lesson for us all: Fish are not evenly spread in the ocean.

I did my normal navigation sun sights this morning, this time with a mostly clear sun and a decent horizon. The results were back where I like them to be: Close to the position given by the ship's GPS. With the weather clearing I have hopes of getting some star sights at dusk or dawn. These will give me a three point fix directly. No need for dead reckoning then, which is fraught with inaccuracies due to estimates.

The wind was fickle this morning when I was on watch. I spent a large part of my watch sitting at the helm station and making course adjustments. Eventually I had to start the motor after doing at least two gybes. It seems the wind is affected by the sun's energy at sunrise and sunset, making the wind fickle in direction and variable in strength. This lasts for about an hour, then the wind settles again. But this morning had some squall-like clouds prolonging the effect.

I had time to think about life on board, though. An acquaintance once remarked that doing a delivery is rather like boat sitting. And he is right. One needs to plan for pastimes on board prior to the departure. Else the boredom will catch you. One of the more important parts of your preparation for the voyage. It is a big part of your personal responsibility on board.

As far as I can discern, part of the skipper's job is also a personnel management function. That means that he or she has to ensure sufficient personal time for each crew member, as well as some time for social interaction. And, quite important, some platform for letting off steam. Living in close proximity to other people at an almost intimate level for extended periods is not a joke. And, while life on board is not really as harsh as a hard hiking trip, some differences of opinions are bound to develop.

And these differences need to be addressed before they start to influence crew behaviour negatively. We address this by playing card games. It is a good source of laughter and provides a safe let-off for cropped up emotions.

And most of all, it's lots of fun. No use to go on a voyage like this and not have fun. And go with the right people. Choose your shipmates carefully. It will stand you in good stead and you may be blessed with new friends.

And mostly, it is of no use to go on a voyage like this and not eat proper food. My favourite hobby horse. But that is what my blog is about, after all.



Authored by Johan Zietsman


Last updated on 2013-10-16


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