Day 2 of the trip, Vanuatu to Oz
07 November 2010
Sorry this is late - it's one of those from the trenches reports, and better savoured while it's actually happening, and I thought I had posted it at sea. I came across it jjust now while I was looking for another omission, the story of our catching a big mahii mahi - I thought I wrote this up too! Anyway, I'll post that one next, and also I'm adding some photos, which pushes the entries down and off the page. So go looking for them, by clicking [older]
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We are out here now on our second night, the first coming on almost immediately after departing Port Vila harbour. The waves heaved and rolled us, arcing the masts through ninety degrees - but it was just as promised - the waters outside the islands rush and dance, pulling any little boat into their dance, telling us we were at sea now, not tied to a dock. Adrienne went down to the galley and soon brought us up dinner, but Kez was in her bunk, Quent intense, not hungry. Soon the lashing rain and thunder and lightning plied our little boat with dark visions, split with dazzling cracks of light and the drums and guns of thunderous war. How were we to survive it? Simply by going on. Going on as usual. As the flash and the crump of thunder came closer and closer -Ah! - we now know it is right on top of us, close, so close. I seem to grow calmer in this imminent death scenario, as if a fatalism overtakes me with its bland message: if you're gonna go, you're gonna go ... I stood up with the little GPS in my hand and moved towards the gas stove, and I popped it in the oven, later transferring it at Adrienne's suggestion to the old wood stove, with the mini laptop, into the Faraday cage within the Faraday cage of our steel hull. (I have talked to many about lightning strikes - the word "fries" is inevitably used.) Our least seasoned member of crew had moments of anxiety, she tells me. But tonight she stands her watch and does it so well, aware of the need for sail, following a windshift. Wins us one knot! She's just about got her sealegs and wins the watchkeepers award for today. Quent is a gift to have on board. Enthusiastic, cheerful, and knowing so much about the ways of the sea and of sailing, even though he says it is many years since he's done a passage on a yacht. His experience of the sea comes from captaining ships, skippering fishing boats in Bass Straight and Western Australia, doing delivery voyages. A professional mariner, and yet he defers to the Captain, whose role I play with greater confidence, with him as crew.