Tuesday, April 12th, 2011
This Sunday was a near perfect day of sailing in this barque of ours. With all sails set, including stuns’ls, we were smoking along at an average of 8 knots, sometimes 9. The current raced beneath our hull and the wind through the rigging sang of promises yet to come and held the sails in its strong embraces. The sun shone down through veils of cirrus clouds with delicious warmth. The doldrums seemed a thing of the distant past and even the front of squalls we experienced on Friday and Saturday morning were nearly forgotten.
“I love Sunday galley duty” Dave Farrall confided in me as he passed around homemade chocolate croissants. I sipped my coffee. I was not quite awake yet, but there was a buzz of activity on deck that had pulled me from my Sunday morning slumber.
It had been a long week of getting much work done on the ship. Now all around me the crew were working on individual projects of their own. On the well deck Dan Eden was washing his laundry. Joh sat beside him, repairing her sandals. Brad planed the handle of the serving board that he was making. Niko, who had his new serving board in the vice grip, was busy doing the same. Ali had two projects on the go, she was painting the lid of her sea bench and varnishing the bottom of her ditty bag. On the hatch Nadja cut circles of leather for the bottom of her sea bag. Dan R and Suzanne made and tarred the new lanyards for their knife/spike rigs. On the focs’le head Robert strummed guitar, Doc Petran read his book, Siri stitched her sea-bag and Katelinn practiced scales on her violin.
After a spaghetti lunch Taia and Pania announced the first of a series of Polynesian dance lessons. The ladies went first. We all donned sarongs and lined up on the hatch where Taia taught us the first steps to two Polynesian dances. To say that we were out of practice would be a serious understatement. It has been almost 8 months since we had danced barefoot in the sand under the palm trees on Palmerston Atoll and told stories with our hips and arms. For many of the women onboard this was also their first introduction to Polynesian dancing. Still, it was a productive first practice.
Afterwards Pania led the men in a raucous Haka dance practice. This something of a New Zealand Maori war dance. The All Blacks rugby team dances a Haka on the field before each game. When a new police staion opens in New Zealand, a Haka by the police leads the ribbon cutting ceremony. The thumping of our boys feet reverberated throughout the ship as they answered her war calls with strength of voice and manly chest pounding.
At 4 pm the smell of popcorn and BBQ smoke roused the crew from their bunks or their individual activities. Even the monopoly game in the salon came to an early end as everyone made their way toward the hatch. The crew munched on popcorn as Paul threw pork chops and fresh caught mahi mahi on the BBQ. Two different iPods played competing reggae music, much like you would find on Caribbean street corners.
While the meat sizzled some crew danced on the hatch while others played a rowdy game of dominos on the well deck. Captain says that in the Caribbean, dominos is a contact sport. With just a few days to go til we get to Antigua we were all dressed for the occasion in colourful sarongs, big earrings, snazzy tropical shirts and sunhats. We were not just celebrating our imminent arrival in the Caribbean, but also commemorating our last long passage at sea. The music and dancing continued long after we had filled our bellies and the sun had put itself to bed for the night.