Happy new year everyone, no sore heads here. Only sore bums and hands (claws). Our crazy New Year’s Eve consisted of a treat of a fruit pot each and a mint tea....we know how to party out here. Life at sea is slowly getting easier and dare we say we’ve had some fun.
It’s fair to say that the last 21 days have been full of highs and low. But definitely more highs than lows. Lows being power failures, calm water and no wind, salt sores, bruises, sea sickness and claw hands. Highs being whales, sharks, wildlife and generally appreciating and laughing that we are actually in the middle of nowhere.
Our conversation is now getting pretty dire. We have exhausted most topics and laugh at the complete rubbish that we find ourselves chatting about. We recognise we are both going slightly delusional and will definitely need to work on social skills quite quickly upon our return.
We are now having to clean the barnacles off the bottom of the boat more regularly, a task we both still dread. Whilst one of us is in the water, the other stops rowing and is on shark watch on deck. Previously we haven’t seen any fish whilst doing so, but we now seem to have built up a little following - 2 tiny zebra striped fish now appear to have moved in under the boat. Although seemingly harmless, we have quickly learnt that said fish get quite angry when ‘their’ barnacles are removed. They then apparently spread word to their larger fish friends and moments later there appears to be a small audience of tuna or such like attracted to the boat. It’s amazing how quickly they seem to appear out of the abyss and always reiterates the importance of our main trip motto - ‘remain calm’!
Our food is playing a massive part of our every day and is solely thought of as fuel. From dusk till dawn we don’t stop snacking. Crisps, chocolate, raisins, biltong, biscuits, sweets....the list goes on.
When leaving for the trip, people asked if we were nervous. One big worry for us was if we had dehydrated the food well enough and therefore have enough for our time at sea. If you have seen Lauren on an empty stomach and without food, you’ll know it’s definitely a Mayday situation. Thankfully the food is fine and we are enjoying trying each new meal we pick out of the hatch. However, the dreams and endless conversations we have had about fresh fruit platters, bacon sandwiches and random cravings is getting silly now. It’s definitely made us realise how lucky we are with our choice of food everyday and just how precious food is.
Second to that, water. We had a minor power failure over Christmas and were having to hand pump our water instead of using our solar powered electric water maker. The hand pump produces about 3 litres of water per hour. It turns out that spending your off-time pumping water, is definitely not ideal.
The weather has been painfully slow. The Atlantic currently resembles more of a pond than an ocean. The last few days has seen us with no wind, no waves and no shade. We hope the weather will turn this week. As the weather has been so poor, we have adapted our rowing routine to enable us to row more hours together in these slow conditions, unfortunately resulting in less time for sleep.
We continue to have a love hate relationship with our cabin - It’s damp, cosy, sweaty, hot and cold. For that reason, we have renamed it “the chokey”. Recently we have spent as little time as possible in there, in preference for napping on deck. This has resulted in a beautiful golden tan for Lauren and a more sunset red for Jemma.
We have been lucky (so far!) with aches, pains and injuries. Claw hand is setting in and we struggle to open our hands fully after more than a couple hours of sleep. It’s quite fun to watch the other try to open the cabin door when this happens.
The evenings remain our favourite time - usually cooler and with faster conditions. The sky starts with a blank dark canvas and by 2am is filled with a show of light.....stars, satellites, falling stars, shooting stars and we get front row seats.
A couple of nights ago, we had a whale visit the boat at around 1am. Hearing it’s big burst of water and then grabbing our head torch to make out it’s large self. We’ve been so lucky with wildlife encounters so far and we hope it continues.