Thursday May 28
Today is our seventy fourth day since departing from our normal (cruising) life on leaving Djibouti. It has not been solitary confinement but a rather extreme form of semi-isolation in the company of a slow changing cast made up from the crews of the few other boats we have encountered enroute.
This morning I read an interesting short article on Shackleton and how the crew of the Endeavour survived trapped on the Antarctic ice for so long. Now I know we haven’t had long dark nights or extreme cold but we have been confined to a fourteen metre long space with few opportunities to get off whilst things others have been able to do during land-based lockdowns going to the shops or for a walk have been denied us. Regular exercise has been impossible, meals are made from what others interpreted our shopping list into, maintenance has been down to our combined ingenuity, survival down to the sharing of knowledge and resources.
Though recovering slowly from the extremes of the Red Sea we still find life quite challenging. Shackleton and other Antarctic hands spoke of vital mental medicine that routine, a weekly sing-along diversion and the vision of a positive future brought. It rang true with me.
On Temptress the crew have developed over the course of our ocean passages, a loose routine that marks the way through each day at sea. This has become even more engrained during these past months with meals, tea breaks, night watches and even sundowners as the milestones that mark the passing of the hours. Activities like making bread, laundry, navigation, reading and boat maintenance fill the spaces between. Routine has kept our lives together.
The Antarctic explorers played dominoes each evening and had weekly concerts; we play canasta or cribbage most evenings and have joined with other crews for BBQs when circumstances allow. It’s been good to relax and forget the situation we are in even if only for an hour or two.
Routine and diversion have played a large part in our seventy four days, whilst the goal to sustain us has been of living life back in the UK or even more simply the opportunity to ‘choose our own toothpaste’ as one of our co-strandees put it yesterday. Saturday, our first day ashore, is going to be a fabulous day!