It is very humid. Perhaps Kipling got some of his idea of mad dogs and Englishmen going out in the midday sun while in the tropics on route to India. Whatever the case, we are suffering in this heat and humidity.
I took my penultimate sun sight of the voyage today. Tomorrow will be the last that we see of a clear horizon circling us. We are now a day's sail away from Barbados, which we shall leave to starboard. Which means we shall pass south of the island on our westward voyage.
I am actually looking forward to the last part of the voyage from a navigation point of view. We shall be doing coastal navigation all the way to St Maarten in the Dutch Antilles, our next stop. Coastal navigation in these parts is easy and interesting, as you can see airliners taking off and landing at night, giving a good idea of your whereabouts relative to airports. The islands themselves are also mountainous, thereby making it even easier to navigate. Much easier than the Cape West Coast with perhaps less prominent features.
The moon phase is not really in our favour, as it is close to new moon, making the nights quite dark. The stars are amazing, but we have yet to see a clear night on this voyage. Lots of loose clouds about and a lot of haziness, making stargazing a bit difficult at times.
Luckily we haven't had really heavy squalls to complicate the sailing. Just enough for the odd free fresh water shower every now and then. Depending whether you are on watch or fast asleep having just completed your watch keeping stint. In his regard I have sorely missed out on this voyage and had to do with salty showers on the aft deck.
At least the sea water is almost tepid, so there is no shock reaction as the cold water hits you. You use your soap to get the sweaty grime off and it is quite refreshing. I opt to not rinse in fresh water as I like the salt on my skin. Makes it less greasy, but others get itchy from the salt.
Around the boat you can see the voyage is nearing the end. The freezer and refrigerator are both quite empty. Tools and pastime things are being packed away. Cupboards are being cleared. Lots of small things.
We also decanted diesel into each diesel tank to see us through the rest of the voyage. Ditto for the extra fresh water in loose containers.
Our food is running low too. We are almost out of coffee and the tea is basically gone. Thanks to more cold weather on the way here than anticipated, we had much more coffee and tea and less cold drinks.
We all have one more meal to prepare and I have two loaves to bake. The second one will serve as snacks on the last night sail from St Maarten to Tortola. Just an overnight trip, hardly worth the name of a voyage after what we have been through up to here!
So here I sit and write these humble words at the end of another long voyage. Another voyage full of meditation and chilling out, some companionship and lots of alone time.
I wonder how I got by in my previous existence without this time out, laid back lifestyle.
Authored by Johan Zietsman
Last updated on 2013-12-06