Uh Oh…

‘I’ve hit a whale’. Well actually it was more ‘Oh shit, what was that?’ Last night on our 10am – 2pm watch, I’d just taken the helm in thick fog (We are crossing the Grand Banks, where Perfect Storm was filmed!) when I hit something squidgy. The poor fellow must have taken quite a blow as 40 tonnes of the Purple Beastie bumping into you cannot be pleasant. I suspect it is the whale equivalent to being run over by a bus. It was a bit of a shock as the bow hit him and then he slid down the side of the boat. All in all it was quite a strange evening. The thick, damp fog clung to everything. We could hear a fog horn in the distance and hear some chattering around us. Strangely, no source could be found for the chattering – no birds or dolphins in sight but a definite constant clicking going on. Scarlet joined in the noise and much to our surprise whatever was out there (birds, ghost dolphins?) responded. I’m on mother today, writing this at 30 degrees and trying not to slip off the seat as I write. I have clean hair and am just about to go and get on with lunch. It’s still foggy upstairs and has been trying to snow so I’m glad I’m down below. So far this race has been quite full on, especially for the new leggers. We left Halifax being first over the line, but not for long as Goldcoast took us at the first mark. After the mark it was spinnakers up and a lovely downwind run for a couple of hours. It was an amazing sight to be at the head of the pack and see the others behind, all with their spinnakers up. Once we dropped the spinnakers for white sails it was upwind racing all the way. We had up to 30 knots of apparent wind, Yankee 3 and 2 reefs in the main although the sea state wasn’t too lumpy. It was a bit of a baptism of fire for the leggers who had joined in New York. The race to Halifax had been downwind all the way, dry, sunny, calm and short. This was a bit of a change and it certainly took its toll on them. We were still in the 3 watch system which left us a bit short handed. Mainly round the worlders trying to sail, cook, clean and bilge with only 3 of us left standing on a watch was quite a challenge. Standby watch became an ‘on-deck’ watch as well so we were spending 8 hours on deck in the cold in between running down to do the bilges, make lunch, check the engine etc. Thankfully we have now reverted back to the 2 watch system and the weather has abated slightly. Most leggers are now feeling back to normal and are enjoying it much more. The other disadvantage with the 3 watch system was that no one really owned the galley or the cleaning for the day so it all got a bit slap dash and frustrating. There was no set meal time and cooking lunch 3 times created chaos along with not being able to start a job and complete it (you’d never guess that I was a completer finisher!). For example, Keith would start lunch and serve half the crew then I’d come into the galley when he went on deck and take over serving twice more then clearing up, I’d then do a bit of prep for dinner then someone else would take over and so on – not ideal, and a top tip – a baked bean pan heated and cooled 3 times does not make for easy cleaning! It is great to be on the way home. I’m looking forward to getting to Derry and seeing Daddykins although I could happily have spent longer in Halifax; it is beautiful, green, scenic, peaceful and a world away from the hustle and bustle of New York, definitely somewhere I’d like to go back to. Off to make lunch now, more in a bit.

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