Tales from the Pacific Day 19

Wet Wednesday
Wednesday’s dawn revealed a lot of cloud astern and off to the south. It slowly built and enveloped Temptress, bringing a much needed increase in wind which doubled our speed to 6 knots. Then came the rain; another monsoon deluge for over an hour followed sadly by several hours of windless drizzle. The morning’s engine charging session was conducted in gear. Places to sit on deck were limited to the companionway top step and the bridge deck so the crew huddled there watching the horizon for a sign of brightening skies; down below is was a sweltering 30 degrees.

Baker’s Watch
As the first mate was on the bakers watch (4am-7am) a loaf of bread spent the morning cooking in the thermal cooker. Its getting great use, yesterday a mince courgette and potato layered “bake”, today bread. Wondering if I can make a syrup sponge cake to vary our diet a little too.

Petrel Spotting
Observed a flock of petrels too far distant to identify what sort; they flew into the incoming rain. Later a group were feeding during the heaviest of the downpour; they seem to attack the water feet and beak first with their wings thrown up behind them. In a messy scrabble the petrel then ‘pushes off’ with its feet flapping wings wildly to gain a little height above the waves before swooping once more. How such tiny birds survive in such big waves without wetting their feathers I don’t know but their acrobatics are fun to watch.

A Delicate Matter
One of the bits no one really warns you about sailing in general, long passages in particular is that it involves a lot of sitting around. It is not just sitting in the sense of lounging in an armchair on land with only the briefest of spells of movement to adjust the sails or cook a meal. Due to the constantly changing motion of the boat your derriere is continuously shuffling in its seat.

The resulting action of a corner of my shorts pocket and some fancy stitching on the leg edge of my underwear has chaffed the skin and raised a spotty rash not unlike nappy rash at exactly that point of either buttock that rests on the seat. In this sweaty, salty tropical heat any cut or other skin damage takes far longer to heal. So a strict routine of washing, thoroughly drying (almost impossible as stepping out of the shower brings on an instant sweat) and the application of Sudocream to the aforementioned points has been conducted. Plus the careful choice of underwear with the merest hint of a hem and a sarong or boardshorts as neither of these have rear pockets.

Its been a week and sitting is still quite uncomfortable; oh to stand or to be free from the salty sweat for even a few hours. Meanwhile lying down is infinitely more comfortable so it seems the first mate will be spending a little more time in her bunk!

Weather improves or maybe not
The rain gave way once more to patches of blue sky and a steady increase in the wind during the afternoon. By later afternoon Temptress was back to six knots.Midway through the first watch the gennie was furled a bit more due to a low thick band of ominous cloud a beam of us to the south. It turned out to be harmless and the reduction in foresail had little impact on our speed but it was a portent of the weather to come.

Noon to noon: through the water 125nm over the ground 130nm * Noon position: 08 07.75S 11436.47W

* 25 hour day and very little current