So Christmas dinner was good. The chicken was cooked perfectly and the roasted potatoes brushed with duck fat, a French thing, was also very good. My peach cobbler was fine but not great as we are low on sugar and butter so I used less then I would have liked. The microwave that also can be used as an oven worked but cooks slower so more time is needed when using it. We tried using the microwave for the veggies after the chicken but the microwave portion of the oven no longer works. Shame as it looks so nice. (It Will probably be replaced with a straight forward more reliable microwave.) The boat has a gas oven which does not do a good job and the captain does not allow us to use it on this delivery voyage.
The day after Christmas we washed the boat down and cleaned the salt off the chrome. It does not take long for the salt to try and pit the metal. This will be a chore to be done every time I see the boat along with many other boat duties.
So I have been asking the captain if it is normal for the waves to be this big all the time since we started all the way back in France. He says it will get better in a few days or he simply ignores me. At this point in the trip, we have put in a lot of miles and we are less then 400 miles to our final destination and now he admits that this has been a rough trip. He says he has never had a trip that did not have breaks of nice calm water. This one has never been calm. He said that the last crossing he was on just before he came on my boat, he considered their roughest day as being still calmer then this trips best day. Read that twice. And say "yuck". So, ah-hah, I knew I smelled a rat. He did not want me to get discouraged so he kept saying in a few days it will be calmer as he thought it has to get better. It just never did.
So let's talk about what the constant hour after hour tossing does to you mentally. I am trying to wash dishes bracing my body against the cabinet, dealing with sloshing water and setting the dishes so that they do not slide off the counter to the floor. After doing this simple task, that is now not as simple, day after day some four letter words that you normally do not use start flowing freely.
Everything is difficult. Walking must be done with a free hand or two holding on with every step. If you do not hold on tightly you will fall.
The captain fell today when he was up high working on the boom. The waves knocked him and he'll fell a couple of elevation changes of the boat down. I saw it happen and gasped as I saw the fall but was busy holding on tight myself. He was fine but that was close as he was heading in the direction of overboard. So the constant movement would be fine for a day or two but over many days it is draining and it starts making you mad that it will not give you a break. Not complaining but giving you reality.
Tonight it is clear and the stars are out and Venus is so bright in this pitch black ocean. It is so wonderful without the light pollution. I do not see half the number of stars when I am on land with all the lights.
Tonight at dinner we discussed the remaining food what we would/ could like to make or eat. For me it was opening the can of corn, draining it, adding some chopped onion and tomato and sprinkling some balsamic vinegar on it. The captain is eyeing the frozen sausage and Christine, she will make the frozen meatballs. We agreed to have everybody try something and maybe share. The captain hates corn and will stay far from it; so, yet another dish he will not eat of mine.
Today was also a big laundry day. Clothes were hanging up wet on the outside of the boat. That is my big excitement, to have a clean shirt to put on. Hence, laundry is done a lot by me. I have the time! So with my time I can read, write, watch a movie, do dishes, do laundry or throw the dead flying fish overboard and clean up the big mess they make.
Tonight on my regularly scheduled watch, I am writing this and the captain was down below. He noticed on the navigation system a ship going in the opposite direction, and going to pass close to us. My job is to know this when I am on watch. I am to view our surroundings, at minimum, every 8- 10 minutes. He did not tell me and wanted to see how long it would take before I noticed. Well to my amazement a half an hour went by and the ship went past and my face is glued to writing this story.
He made me aware of the situation and asked me how much time went by before my last get up and check and I said about 10 or 15 minutes. He said no it has been 30. He said that he sees this all the time. People on watch think they can be on the computer or iPad and they easily loose track of time. Danger is that in that time a ship can close in on you. He wanted me to learn that lesson very clearly and that I did. So he is now on watch and I am now practicing safe typing off my watch.
So the crossing is nearly done. I flew to France at the very beginning of November and will be done with it at the end of December. Weather and mechanical delays have really made the whole thing go a lot longer and slightly delayed my return to the office. I will squeeze in some family time on the boat at the end which I am enormously grateful. I will find quiet bays with beautiful beaches to make sure the time with family is the best it can be.
During my time away I lost a mother. I always knew the importance of family and this time away was very reflective and reinforcing of many of my guiding life principles. So was it worth it? I was out of the office for a long time and that makes things more difficult for many people. I thank them all for putting up with it. I learned more about what it takes to go further then just the next island on the horizon. I do want to sail further than I felt comfortable in the past so that experience is vital. When I add up what I learned against the cost and the challenges it created then, yes, it was worth it. If possible, I encourage you to take extended time for yourself as a retreat to sort things out. We all need that. If you can and choose to take a break for your norm, go ahead and add to it, make it interesting too!