Thursday, April 19th, 2012
By Kate Addison
So a couple of days at sea and it’s starting to feel like home again. People are discovering or re-discovering their sea legs, looking less green, moving about the place more easily. The roll of the Picton Castle in the North Atlantic swell is becoming pleasing background music where initially it was a little jarring like europop played too loud. We’re getting used to the new sleep pattern of the watches too. Obviously the ship won’t just steer herself while we all turn in for the night, so a third of the ship’s complement are always on watch, taking turns at the helm, on forward look out, standing by for sail handling or any other jobs that need doing, cleaning things, making coffee. 4-8 watch are setting up for breakfast, taking care of deck wash, and making sure there’s hot coffee for the 8-12 watch. 8-12 clear up from breakfast and set up for lunch, take care of a spot of domestics (cleaning heads, scullery, living spaces generally), and making sure there’s more coffee for the 12-4 watch who clear up from lunch and then put the kettle on. Then 4-8 take over again, all hands have dinner at 6, and so it goes on. If it sounds like 12-4 aren’t doing any work it’s because we haven’t really started on ships’ work yet – damp and rolling a bit much for painting. Plus they’re slackers. I can say that because none of them will have internet access until Bermuda. Hehe.
We’re steaming more than sailing at the moment. The breeze is light and flukey, but we’re setting and striking the lower tops’ls as the wind comes and goes. The general plan is to keep steaming South, picking up any bits of wind that we can, but with the main aim of getting to Bermuda in good time so we’ll have every opportunity to sail onwards toward Savannah, Georgia. The fog has lifted to a haze so the sky is now a slightly different shade of grey to the sea, which is nice. Good old Atlantic grey, it’s sort of comforting in its constancy. It’s much warmer now, sea temp up to 22°C, and the first pair of winter white toes has emerged from the sea boots. Yes Niko, it’s very wise to keep your boots as un-stinky as possible, and the other bros in the forepeak will be grateful I’m sure. The general effect of the increased temperature is slightly steamy, like a coffee shop on a rainy day. Better than the cold anyway!
And as a consolation prize for not having many sails set, we have seen whales. And dolphins. And phosphorescence. And phosphorescing dolphins dancing in the bow wave. Really, like glowing torpedoes of awesomeness! Now I know I should call it bioluminescence but phosphorescence is a cooler word, and I’m sure that you wouldn’t bother reading my stuff at all if you were the pedantic sort, so phosphorescence it is. I don’t know why it happens, I don’t even really know how it happens, but I do know that I like it. Every movement in the water setting up a sparkle, every little white cap glowing and then fading. Flush the head? Glitter in the bowl! Doing dishes? Stars in the sea sink! It just never gets old. Who needs religion when you have sea critters that sparkle in the breaking seas, and dolphins playing in your bow wave?