We crossed that line!
23 November 2007 | 20,25 Deg S ; 0,8 Deg W
Shaun and Shaheda
We have finally crossed the Meridian. I still refer to it as the Greenwich Meridian, but I am told that, that is now outdated. It took us more than a week to sail across the line which got me thinking about why we regard ourselves as Westerners when it takes a damn long time to cross over to the West. Although we only crossed the line last night we have set our ships clock to GMT 2 days ago. We have very calm conditions with little to no wind blowing as little as 8 knots at times and the swells have settled to a comfortable 1.5 metres. Whilst this makes life very comfortable on board it is threatening our ETA at St.Helena Island which we set at Sunday noon. In the meanwhile we made the decision last night to motor sail and we are now running the engines one at a time alternating them every 3 hours. Since doing this we have picked up our speed to around 7 knots which is exactly what we require. If we can maintain this speed and the rain that has just started to pour down outside continues (it is good for our lawn :-) with the associated increase in wind then we are likely to get to St. Helena as predicted.
Everyone is well on board but Shaheda seems to have been hit with round 2 of the seasick bug. I am actually not sure what is the matter with Shaheda as she has been having upper respiratory problems since we left and it has still not settled. She is constantly craving jelly and ice cream and the joke on board is that the sea sickness is in fact morning sickness. I am going into hiding!
Shaheda: We are now 2 hours behind you and it is 00h32. Had my first Shower since leaving Cape Town (being using wet wipes otherwise). Shaun seems to be coping well and having a ball, but I am still struggling with sea sickness. John has given me Sturgeron out of the first aid kit and it helps a bit, but I constantly have a queasy feeling. I eat 2 slices of toast in the morning, skip lunch and have very little of what is on offer for supper. So far these have been macaroni and cheese, penne and sauce, fried tuna steaks, tuna paella and last night beef steaks. I crave jelly and ice cream but there is none on board. The flu like symptoms I had when we left is only starting to abate. So all in all I am having it rough.
This first leg of the journey is tough mentally, physically and emotionally but surprisingly I have no fear. I have absolute confidence in John, Shaun and Terry. They are highly competent and take everything in their stride. So when the boat is pitching in 35 knot winds and 7 metre waves I remain calm. We have been in contact with radio hams from Cape Town and are aware of the extreme weather conditions back home. I hope everyone is okay and thanks for all the emails it keeps me grounded here!
We reach St. Helena Island on Sunday and I hope to make a few phone calls home. Che when are you going to write to us! I understand that you are too busy cleaning up after yourself. This I have to see. I guess my visions of walking into your room and trying to find your bed under all the dirty towels, dirty plates, glasses, coke bottles, etc are unfounded.
Regards from all on board with love.
We just had a catastrophic situation on board. We were flying the spinnaker for most of the day and made a last minute decision to take it down before night fall. The goodness for that decision, because the spinnaker halyard failed and we had a spinnaker jammed on top of the mast. If you have no idea how powerful a spinnaker is, how dangerous it is and how much havoc it can cause picture yourself if you can on ice with ice skates trying to hold onto a Boeing 747 about to take off, this is no exaggeration.
The real difficult part was to get someone up the mast in the pitching boat before dark. John volunteered and we set up the bosun chair to haul him up the mast. After a short briefing from John about how life threating this maneuver was at this point I proceeded to haul him up the mast. I struggled and Terry took over haulng John up in double quick time, I did mention this lad has strong arms did I not? John cut the halyard down and we got him down the mast safely and stowed the spinnaker. Thank God this happened during daylight hours and again, I know I am ranting on, that we had someone of John's experience and calibre aboard.
"Thanks John" is all I could say with a massive sense of relief.