Sunday 10 November 2013

Day 35: Squalls And Retrospection

Today dawned on some thick clouds building up. A sure sign of rainy weather. We could sure do with some, it has been swelteringly hot for the past few days.

I had my chance at a fresh water shower again, which I used this morning. This was quite refreshing, as I was able to use some hot water heated by the calorifier on the port side motor the last time it was running. I had to use the mixer, as the water was too hot for a warm morning, but I did have a proper shower.

Needless to say, the clean, refreshed feeling was gone after n hour or so. Then we had some squalls in the afternoon, where I could have had a free shower again.

I decided against this. One can be too clean too.

The sea water around us are now turning the characteristic dark green associated with the Amazon river influx. It is expected to end up as dark brown-green. From the effect of the river water. We are now just north of the Amazon river delta, passing French Gyuana, still sailing on the 1000m contour. There is a current of just on two knots, helping us along at a healthy pace. Our last recorded daily run was 181 nm, not too shabby for a cruising boat.

The excellent mileage means that we can make it to St Maarten, our next stop, in a week from today. Seven days. Not too long ago, it was over forty days left of the voyage. It does seem just a short while ago.

John Lennon is accredited with the remark that life is what happens to you while you are making other plans. This rings true, especially for us. In one aspect, each of us have made a life changing decision to get out of the3 urban rat race and enjoy life in some other ways than competing with the neighbours.

But even more directly, we made a decision to enjoy life aboard. This includes looking after ourselves for entertainment, allowing others some personal space and, last but not least, eating proper food, prepared with care. This last one falls under the remark of John Lennon. I wonder just how many sailors go short on provisions to save money, then suffer some form of hardship as a result.

Consider the following: Do three deliveries per annum, that takes care of 3 x 42 days odd in a year. Add the mobilisation and demobilisation time(handover, preparation and some time to fly back home) and the count goes to about eight to nine weeks per voyage. Times three is twenty four weeks. Basically half of your year. If you do this regularly, it is almost half of your life. And you choose to spend it in some discomfort to save money? For what?

I think not.

We certainly have a good life aboard. The cooking helped a lot. And it does not cost an arm and a leg, just some careful planning and some creativity. Good food is also comfort food. And it lifts the soul as well as the body. Of course, we all lost weight in spite of the good eating. But the point is that we enjoyed the company and the dining, so to speak.

It does one a world of good to take a deep breath, relax and enjoy the ride.

My celestial navigation exercises are now fast drawing to a close. Another five days and we shall be within sight of land for the rest of the voyage. Last night's effort to get in some star sights were fruitless, but I did get a sight on Venus. This was duly reduced this morning to update our position as of dusk yesterday.

I was lucky to get some sun sights before the clouds set in and obscured the sun for the rest of the day. The sun sights along with my updated dead reckoning put us again within the limits I set for myself for precision.

Every ocean passage provides some opportunity for a pastime. I like to use this time to learn something. On previous voyages I taught myself to use the sextant and learnt to bake bread. I even tried polishing up my Spanish. This was, however, not successful, as you need a Spanish speaking person to talk to. On a boat with three Afrikaans people, this is basically impossible.

My spare time on this voyage was used to hone my other navigation skills. I like to think that my skill in this area went up a notch or so.

For now, I am scaling down on the heavy study work and am applying myself to relax. This goes for reading too. I am reading the Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy by Douglas Adams for the second or third time. Some hilarious comparisons and figures of speech in the book. Quite entertaining.

The heavy stuff like Homer's Odyssey I am setting aside for the moment.

I shall relax a bit more these last few days at sea. Then I shall relax some more when I get home.

And, who knows, after that perhaps do another delivery when the land-locked feeling gets too much.

And open my life to the enjoyments on offer.

And not make too many plans.



Authored by Johan Zietsman

Last updated on 2013-10-29

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