Monday 2nd December
02 December 2013 | 402 miles to go
Hello and greetings to you all!
It's Monday afternoon here, the sun continues to shine and a balmy breeze is wafting us towards Barbados. That in itself brings excitement although it is tinged with sadness at the thought that this wonderful adventure is drawing to a close. We still have not decided whether to make landfall in Barbados itself or to go an extra 90 miles to Bequia which is our ultimate destination and where Johnny and I will have to be very brave and say goodbye to Wishing For The Moon and to Len, who will continue on the next leg of his round the world voyage. Richard, poor man, has a flight to catch out of Barbados on Saturday. We shall all miss him hugely. At our present rate of progress (147 miles in the 25 hours to noon today) we should reach Barbados on Thursday morning. Yes, it's 25 hours, not 24, because we have again put our watches back an hour to mark our westward progress.
We have not had to resort to the engine again (apart from a couple of hours a day to charge batteries) but the wind has been variable and a bit flukey at times. We have had the big spinnaker up quite a bit, but it came down in the middle of the night when there was a suspicion that a squall might be approaching. Fortunately, none materialised and after a breakfast of fried egg, bacon, tomato and fresh coffee while sitting in the cockpit with the early morning sun warming our backs, it is now back up again and we are making between 5 and 7 knots.
I hope this will not be a disappointment to the dozens of our female fans and admirers, but we have all decided that beards are not for us and so we have remained clean shaven, perfecting the art of using a razor while moving about unpredictably. In addition to the two hot water showers on board, Len has rigged up a hose on the aft deck which pumps sea water and that is enormously refreshing and popular.The water is warm but still a great relief as the heat of the day declines. Yesterday and today have been a little cloudier and rather more humid.
The next section is really intended for our grandchildren Joss, Rubin, Florence, Archie, Digby, Matilda, Wilfred, Hector, Frederick, Alexandra, Emilia and even tiny baby George (but it may perhaps be of interest to any others who have never been sailing) who may be wondering what it's like to be on a boat for such a long time. The boat is about 15 metres long, so there's plenty of room for everyone on board and we each have our own bunk to sleep in, but the difference between sleeping on a boat and at home is that the boat keeps moving around. Just imagine if there was a machine under your bed which made you roll around in bed and go up and down when you were least expecting it! We have to tie up a piece of cloth (called a lee cloth) to stop us falling out of bed. And also there are always noises - moans and groans and squeaks - all the time from the movement of the boat, ropes stretching, sails flapping and banging, and the sea rushing past the hull of the boat. So if you like it to be quiet when you go to sleep it would almost certainly keep you awake until you get used to it, which of course you do. The next thing you have to get used to is moving about when the boat is also moving and probably in the opposite direction to the way you want to go! You have to hold on to something all the time until you have had a lot of practice. All that movement would probably make you feel sick to start with but your tummy even gets used to that after a couple of days and then you're fine. Despite all those new things to get used to, you soon realise that it's the most exciting and exhilarating experience, especially when the sun is shining and the sea is a beautiful blue and there are little fluffy white clouds in the sky and you can see dolphins and flying fish and you get really yummy, scrummy meals. We hope we shall even see some whales, but we haven't yet. You would soon be as brown as berries. When you're a little older you must definitely try it for yourselves.
We have been so pleased to get all your Comments. It's encouraging to hear that you have enjoyed our blogs and it's good to get some of the news from Old Blighty.
Conversation on board has ranged over a great number of topics, although it would be slightly misleading to give the impression that it has always been on a high intellectual level. Yesterday, we covered such important matters as"My favourite joke" and "My very first girl friend" - no Grande Amour at that age. Today it included "My least favourite word". They all produced laughter but are probably not destined for a new panel game on television. We have cards and Scrabble on board but that is probably a little above our mental capacities at the moment. As Richard observed this morning, one can easily spend 15 or 30 minutes deciding whether to go and fetch a book from one's cabin now, or to leave it until later. What has happened to the dynamic trio who left England just under a month ago?
We continue to eat like kings. The lasagne which Len cooked for dinner last night was a tour de force. I can't remember if I mentioned that we finally ate the salted cod the other day and finished it for lunch yesterday. There is still some in the fridge and I made the rash suggestion that we could make a very good kedgeree with the remainder - that is if I can face soaking and preparing it! In fact, we're not a bit short of food although an airdrop of fresh vegetables and fruit would always be welcome.
So, Bequia beckons with an ever more discernable hand. It will be an enormous wrench to leave this wonderful existence, to leave the sounds of the boat and the sea, the sight of the dark blue, sunlit sea meeting the light blue of the sky and the fluffy clouds, the spectacular sunrises and sunsets, the brilliance of the stars, the cool breeze of the night and the feeling that one really is having a very special adventure. All that will be remembered for a very long time and the readjustment to life on land may be harder than we think.
As I write, it's just 402 miles to Barbados. To think that we have already sailed well over 2,000 miles!
On a personal note, I seem to remember that it's the Chambers Christmas party this week and that you're having it on a boat. Well, from one boat to another, have a lot of fun and be quite good!
I'm sure that this is quite enough to be going on with, but we'll try to satisfy your prodigious appetite for news with another blog entry tomorrow. Take care of yourselves, enjoy the Christmas shopping and early parties and think of us with the tough job of sitting in the sunshine getting ever browner and ever lovelier!
Lots of love etc., etc.