Hi. Apologies for the radio silence for the last week or so. Also for the lack of photos. Keeping a satellite connection for long enough to send a blog post is hard enough – so I haven't bothered posting any pictures – although I have tonnes !!
You wouldn't believe how the days fly by. I'll run you through the routine we've settled into:
8-1400 – Watch 1 – Rig check and sail setting, followed by breakfast and coffee.
1400-2000 – Watch 2 – although in reality, we have Rumadan here, where, depending on the appetite for Rum, we either stick rigidly to the timetable, or or all hell breaks loose. Unfortunately, its rarely somewhere between the two. Also, I cook supper during this time, which depending on the aforementioned Rumadan, can be a clean and tidy affair, or completely chaotic. In either case, all crew inevitably end up with food down their shirts, and lashings of Rum. Kemp has invented a new drink, which has been christened the Camel's Rectum – because of its ability to quench even the most Saharan of thirsts. Rum, Orange & Tonic and fresh Lime (well, they were fresh when we started). Don't knock it till you've tried it. It makes the Rum taste nice, and fends off the scurvy.
2000-0000 – Evening watch, split into two, two hour, one man watches. The success of these is largely dependent on the preceding activities. We each have our own style on a one man watch. Kemp continues his Mayhem namesake, often making one man sail changes unannounced. The Mayhem has quietened considerably since we convinced him that putting in his hearing aids would double his sensory perception (when its dark out here, boy is it dark). Pete smokes his way through his, cup of steaming Nescafe in hand. I listen to music on my headphones, singing (badly) to myself. Cooper is utterly transfixed on the numbers, ensuring we make the best headway. The silence broken only by the odd expletive as he wanders from course and is applauded by the booming report of the headsails.
0000-0400 – Dog. 2 times 2 hour, one man shifts. Actually, despite the time, the moon is up and its really rather pleasant.
0400 – 0800 – The boat rouses, gently into another day.
For the chaps not on watch, or cooking/tidying/sorting/finding things for Duncan, we're sleeping. And so the days roll on. Until tomorrow, when we'll finally be there, greeted by our loved ones. There are an awful lot of people who have helped this become a reality – if not for Dad, but the rest of us. For those we crew pass on our greatest gratitude.
Again, as always, the support of all at Rippaway HQ has been like a rock. Each of us has had some real low points – sometimes close to, other times actual tears. The kindness and compassion has been abundant, both on the boat and on shore.
Lastly, I'd like to dedicate this final 'At Sea' post to two very special people who passed away whilst we've been on this voyage. Nancy's brother Michael, and Bill's brother Rob. Rest in peace folks.
More pictures to follow once we're ashore.