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Settling Into Life at Sea

Captain’s Log
Kate (Bob) Addison – 4 November 2015

The theme of today has been rainbows and wind. Squalls have been blowing over bringing short rain showers and gusty wind, but there’s not been much bite in them so far. And the sunshine after each shower kept our own personal rainbow aglow for much of the day.

It’s been one of those bright, active days when the few seabirds still around dance and glide in the wind like it’s all just for fun, and the clouds scud across the sky on their celestial sleigh ride. The afternoon sun breaking through the clouds to starboard could have been a renaissance oil painting and with the wind between force 4 and 6 on the port quarter, we’ve been flying along our course. Just a great sailing day for a square-rigger making passage across the North Atlantic.

The edge of the Gulf Stream has taken the chill out of the water, so while it’s still plenty fresh on deck, at least the living spaces are a comfortable temperature so you can warm up and be snug down below on your off watch. And if Donald’s not too busy then the galley is a great spot to sneak in and warm up your hands over the stove.

Donald’s been keeping us well fed – it never ceases to amaze me how he calmly and cheerfully turns out big soups and stews and rotis, usually served with fresh bread and fresh or canned fruit no matter the weather or how much his galley is rolling out from under him. And that’s just as well because boy does being at sea make you hungry! There’s the constant motion of your whole world meaning core muscles are getting a work out just from sitting down or walking around, even lying in your bunk takes muscles or at least careful wedging. There’s all the fresh air and exercise: running aloft to loose the mainsail, or out in the head rig to furl a jib; even setting up for meals and cleaning up takes a whole lot more effort on rolling decks, when you can’t put anything down without it being lashed or taking flight. There’s also a whole lot to learn and hard-working brains need feeding.

It all reminds me of a quote in our Crew Handbook by brilliant marine author Jan de Hartog:

“Apprenticeship is a necessary period in one’s life as a sailor. There will be moments of elation when the future presents itself in all of its boundless glory, while gazing at the stars; there will be moments of dark dejection when one will mainly feel hungry.”

4 Nov Rainbow

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