Friday 1st April 2016
It is our final night at sea, I’m doing the 3-6 am watch. It’s quite lively, I’m dressed in waterproof trousers as all the seats are wet from a succession of rain squalls, lightening flashes frighteningly in the distance and we are storming along at about 8kts. We have 52nm to go, the island of Hiva Oa is 4000ft high at its peak so we hope to see land soon after dawn. We are looking forward to getting there, this has been rolly trip.
At the end of our second ocean passage I thought I’d note down a few important things we have learnt.
Don’t buy the traditional large bunches of bananas, they arrive full of spiders and cockroaches and their sap stains the teak decks. However green you buy them and however many different places and conditions you find to store them in they all ripen together on day two and have to be chucked, for fear of banana gas poisoning, overboard by day four.
The satellite link is essential, not just for weather forecasts but for the emails we receive from everyone that, in the absence of whales, brighten up our days.
Weather forecasts are almost always wrong – well should be read as trends rather than truths.
Be prepared for copious amounts of facial hair, it seems it is obligatory for most men to grow as much as they can for the duration of the passage.
Have plenty of spectacle mending kit/spare pairs onboard, Raya seems to be a glasses disaster area.
Develop daily routines to give the day structure, like the morning “what shall we eat today?” conversation, the 4.30pm crossword and the boys afternoon cockpit snooze.
Rotate the watch system, everyone deserves to experience the uplift the dawn brings after a dark night watch.
Yes you can sleep in those sheets for a couple more nights, it is shocking how disgusting the bedding can get without any adverse effects.
Don’t rely on the fishing rods to provide dinner, or the freezer to keep things frozen, enjoy the challenge of what can be created with one green pepper, half a carrot and slightly mouldy lump of cheese.
And finally, beware of flying kettles!