To St. Helena 1

It is the third night since we left Walvis Bay.  The first couple of days at sea are always a bit rough, no matter the weather or how long since we last were at sea.  Joe said, “I’m going to sail around the world again and this time, I won’t stop!”  Maybe it’s different for other people but even Joe, with over 4 decades of ocean racing under his belt, feels a bit queasy for the first 48 hours or so.

For me, it was much worse.  We left Walvis Bay with fairly calm conditions but roughened up by the time I went on watch that evening.  Joe helped me put two reefs in the main and then I went to bed.  Usually after one full night’s sleep, I am feeling mostly OK.  The next morning I did all my cleaning duties, including vacuuming the remainder of the soil and dirty water out of the bilges on the starboard side that was lingering from “the big wave.”  Doing work like that out of sight of the horizon often makes me feel a bit off so I went out to look at the horizon.  I was chatting with Gemma about the state of the waves and her level of seasickness (she rarely feels it). 

I decided to take a nap to see if it would help.  I dragged myself awake to fix something for lunch and was mostly done when it hit me.  An urgent need to use the bathroom.  Uh-oh.  I told everyone to wash their hands because it wasn’t going to be pretty and I didn’t want to share whatever I had.

Conveniently, our medicine box is right in front of the toilet so I had plenty of opportunity to rummage through it to find the Immodium.  Sadly, the only kind we had were chewable mint tablets or a vanilla-flavored powder.  Unfortunately, I opted for the mint.  I cannot disrecommend them enough.  I managed to get them down but am not totally satisfied that they weren’t responsible for the bout of vomiting that hit me a short time later.  Joe rummaged in the medicine box this time and found the anti-nausea/vomiting which worked quite well.  Fully medicated to stop both ends from extruding anything else, I spent the rest of the day on the couch, relaying my plans for meals, science projects (we’re doing all kinds of experiments on radish sprouts), etc.

By the time of my watch, which Joe kindly offered to take, I was feeling well enough to sit still outside and do my job so Gemma and Joe could get a little sleep.  The conditions had improved considerably and, despite it still being cold, it was quite pleasant.

I am feeling almost normal again this evening and we have had beautiful sailing weather, which has made everyone happy.  I am back to eating most things and it appears that I am the only victim of the stomach bug, for which we are all grateful.

Orion is out directly over the mast, keeping me company until midnight.  Then Joe and Gemma will trade off two-hour shifts until 6 am when one of them will go until 10 AM and then they will trade three hour shifts throughout the day until 4 pm when Marin takes a 30-minute shift and Cobin does 1.5 hours.  One of them does the 6 – 9 pm shift, then I’m on from 9 pm – 12 am.  They alternate each day so one of them gets a long break (4 pm – 12 am) one night and the other gets it the next night.

We had a couple of dolphins this afternoon, criss-crossing in front of our bows.  Normally our dolphin friends will play just in front of our hulls but this one seemed to be doing some sort of intricate and speedy diagram underwater, crossing back and forth about 10 feet in front of us.  We still aren’t sure if it was one dolphin or two. 

Glen and Mary on Danica wrote us via satellite e-mail and told us that their boat has been home to a pigeon with tags on both its legs for the past week.  They have been giving it water and seeds and it stays in their cockpit at night and moves into the dinghy during the day.  It has tried to go inside into the salon with them but they shoo it away.  The bird makes a mess of their cockpit but they have enjoyed its company.  They updated us this evening and said that as soon as they moored in St. Helena, the bird flew off and joined the large population of pigeons on the island.  Now they are scanning all of the pigeons, looking for leg tags so they can check on how “their bird” is doing.

We’ve had no passengers yet, although we seem to be back to warmer waters where the flying fish roam so we will most likely have a few visitors during the night.  They seem to die in the most awkward spots where we don’t discover them until they’re very unpleasant to find.

That’s about it.  841 miles to go and we will reach St. Helena, most famous as the place where Napoleon spent the last days of his life in exile.  Gemma is hoping that it will be the place she will remember for her encounter with whale sharks – one of the few adventures she has yet to experience.  She told us she has been chasing whale sharks for a while but has yet to see them.  She didn’t know that St. Helena was a whale shark location but apparently it is.  So, stay tuned and we will let you know if Gemma achieves her wildlife encounter goal!

Photos are of the inner harbor, just down from where we were anchored.  Cute little cottages, flocks of flamingos and big white pelicans were just around the corner from the industrial zone.

Leave a Reply