Good sailing, with a dab of oceanic science, serious debating, and a second stowaway takes over the foredeck.
It’s been a good 24 hours of progress out here in the Guatemala Basin. There have been a couple of ‘crank up the engine’ moments, but generally speaking the trusty cable ties and associated sails have been carrying us along nicely. The day was relatively uneventful, but the evening was a rich and varied affair.
I made a call just after sunset yesterday to temporarily suspend sailing activities. Hard to do on a boat at sea, but it seemed the right time to take an hour where everyone could sit down and relax together, and the constant demand of 24/7 helming be briefly put to one side. We hove-to (backed the sails against each other), lashed the wheel, and took a breath for the first time since Panama.
It also become the perfect opportunity for Renaud to finally deliver his oceanic research presentation, which had been intended for our night at anchor in the Panama Canal, but when our idyllic night at anchor turned into a stressful 12 hours 20m from a pipeline, funnily enough it didn’t happen. Renaud had put together a comprehensive but digestible PowerPoint on the background and detail behind the various oceanic research programs we are carrying out as part of The Longest Swim. It was great to get a bit more insight into the importance and relevance of some of the data we are collecting, as well as have an opportunity for Renaud to prove his credentials as the scientist he said he was. Despite the many stories of researching penguinos in the Southern Ocean, I suppose we never knew anything for sure other than the enviable ability of being able to profoundly swear in 3 languages and the larger than life personality of this Frexican (now the accepted abbreviation for French-Mexican). Any doubts have now been well and truly dispelled.
The last few days have seen some pretty in-depth discussions and debates. I came on deck yesterday for Ty to inform me that they had officially “put the world to rights” after a long 6 hours of talking. Generally enjoyable and stimulating, we still have seven different nationalities aboard, giving ample opportunity for wide-ranging and all encompassing discussions. I’m not sure we’ve totally worked out the solution to world peace and solving poverty yet, but it feels like we must be well on the way to it.
Yesterday evening briefly saw a reign of terror take over the front 10ft of Discoverer. Henry, Landon and I went forward to do yet another sail change, and as Henry moved to the bow he suddenly jumped backward and dived to the deck. It quickly became apparent that a large seabird had taken up station on the stainless steel pulpit, and was looking fairly determined in protecting it from any potential invaders, i.e. us. The headsail change took place without any of us having to tackle this new and unexpected impediment, and Henry soon added fascination into the mix of fear, seeing how close he could get to it before running away. Highly amusing, although when the bird did finally take off it proceeded to dive-bomb the boat in a quite aggressive manner for a good while.
I had a good chat with Landon yesterday, and he mentioned that his mother had been quite worried about him going off sailing. I would like to assure Landon’s mother that he is in safe hands, and despite making rounds of tea with saltwater, he is being a valuable contribution to the boat. We may in fact never want to let him go, and I will quite possibly have to ask your permission to take him to Tokyo as well.
Since I started writing this, we have done two sail changes, put the yankee 1 up, bagged the genoa with the whole team, and are now hard on the wind making good speed, nearly on target for our next waypoint. This means life is once again at an angle, but with a powered up boat for the first time since Panama, fun helming, and purposeful pace, it is smiles all round and we’ve never been happier. Until someone has to clean the galley that is…
Date: 9th March 2017
Position: 11°51.4N 094°51.8W
Wind: NNW 4
Swell: NW 4-5ft
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