Dawn of a spanking new day.. day 7 of our sailing trip to Madagascar. and finally we get a decent sunrise. I was starting to think that maybe the Indian ocean was incapable.
There are still the ever present layers of cloud around. I cannot ever in my life remember a time when there has not been a blue sky in so long. Im usually blessed with em.
Not that i need the sun particularly at the moment. I may actually have a touch of sunstroke, so the cloud cover is welcome for now… and the fire in my legs was surely a major contributing factor to the fact that i was unable to get more than a mere wink of sleep overnight.
Insomnia has struck.. and struck again when i least need it.
One of the things i love about being on the yachts is the fact that im nearly always able to sleep a hell of a lot better than when im on dry land.
On a boat your body is moving constantly… your inner gyroscopes doing a trillion computations per second, making you bob and weave in an effort to keep you balanced as the boat dances around on every wave… every moment.. of every day.
I reckon this continual workout, and the large doses of fresh sea air are the reason i lull into a deep sleep every time i complete a shift.
Another boat related phenomena has reared its ugly head too. When ever you do these extended trips you are bound to be sitting down a lot, as standing for 6 hours at a time, on what is essentially a funfair ride, is just not practical.
So as you are bobbing and weaving your torso.. that movement transfers to yer arse, as that is your base. And it is continually pushing against whatever seat you are on to maintain a levelish posture.
So now… by day 7… my derriere is so damn tender.
The bruising is quite severe and its causing me to shift continually from one butt cheek to the other in an effort to minimize the pain.
To make it even worse.. the seating at the helm station has padding.. but the cushion on it is actually harder than the hull of the boat.
I have never felt such a hard cushion in all my life. It feels like my rump is being tenderised between my madly weaving torso and a gyrating concrete slab.
Bet you didnt know that about sailing. Its not for sissies i tell ya.
So this morning we have more of the same. The seemingly constant northerly winds which are attempting to blow us down to the South pole. Fortunately for us we have 2 good motors that are resisting the winds attempts to take us to Santas home.
The wind is not too strong, and the sea state not too bad, so we are able to make decent headway in a North easterly direction.. taking us ever closer to the lemurs and the hissing cockroaches… and the top of Madagascar where we are headed.
There is zero life around the boat at the moment. Not even a bobbing sea bird in sight to say g’morning to.
The flying fish are being shy for the moment too.. and the whales and dolphins are still avoiding me. Maybe they dont like my conversation. Ive never been great at small talk.
This morning i spent extra time and care making my breakfast sandwich. A salami and cheese sandwich loaded with onion, and this morning i had an extra slice of tomato.. cause i could you know.. cracked black pepper and loads of salt, wedged between 2 slices of recently thawed bread with lashings of mustard. Breakfast of champions.
I know it seems like just a sandwich.. but its part of a very important daily ritual.. and if you make it with care and patience.. it not only tastes great.. but it also winds down about 15 minutes of a long 6 hour shift.
I wasted another 5 minutes thinking about the origins of the word ‘sandwich’ and wondered how that all went down for the old geezer who supposedly was the first person to ever make one.
According to the inside of many chappies wrappers, that was our Google when i was growing up, it is alleged that the Earl of sandwich invented the convenient stack up combination of bread and fillings… but what on earth were they doing with bread before that eureka moment?
Were they only dipping bread into stews? Just eating it dry like the ducks do? If you put toppings on one slice of bread, was that not an open sandwich back then?
Was his contribution just the addition of the top layer of bread? Or before it was invented.. maybe they put a slice of bread on top of the meat… so his invention was actually just the addition of the lower slice of bread.
The mind boggles with all the possibilities. I reckon the pompous prick probably saw a serf out in his field using his common sense and sandwiching his meagre fillings with the double slice of bread… and he thought to himself.. that peasant is onto something you know.
So he went out and patented the sandwich idea at the same time as his guards were lynching the smart peasant to ensure his silence, and make sure that everybody would forever remember the legacy of the great Earl of Sandwich.
Its more cold than normal today, so i decided to stay in the normally stuffy saloon (lounge) of the boat to eat my delicious stack.. and as i sat down on the super soft cushions of the dining area… my tender ass cheeks actually thanked me aloud.
I saved 2 corners of my sandwich for the fish and fed them as soon as i was done. Im very thorough when i make a sandwich.. so the mustard and margarine must go all the way to the outer edges of the bread.
As i tossed the sandwich edges into the dark ocean, i wondered what the fish were gonna make of the mustard. I figured beggars cant be choosers right, and if they dont like it.. im sure the crabs will bolt it down with gusto.
Crabs strike me as the Bear Gryllis types of the sea. They will eat it no matter what. Eyeballs and fish turds.. all goes in the same hole right.
Writing this blog post reminded me of school actually. On many occassions, when i hadnt prepared for an oral, i would do my 5 minute talk on making a peanut butter sandwich. It was my fallback plan.. and as i wasnt a very conscientious student, my fallback plan invariably was also my only plan.
Its funny when you think back to school days.
Cliche as it may sound.. It still seems like it was only yesterday that i was walking those corridors.. sneaking a cigarette on the school field.. getting whipped every other day cause i hadnt done this or that futile task.
Going through the motions but in reality just winding down the clock till you heard the glorious sound of the bell for the school days end.
As i age i tend to remember those days with a bit more fondness, although i still recall all too well the sense of dread i would have as i woke up every day and realized it wasnt the weekend.
So id have to get up, don the sheep uniform and drag my weary bones off to the conformist academy… where all the books got filled, but the heads were left empty.
In hindsight.. i probably should have enjoyed it a bit more. If i was to do it all over again… one thing i would change.. id be less fussy when it came to dating school girls.
I realize now that i am just waffling on a bit. Mmm… a waffle does sound good about now!
The fact is that im a bit bored today for a change. Nothing wants to say hi… and the sea is flat and grey.
We are anticipating a shift in the wind direction sometime today.. and i for one cannot wait.
Finally then we can get back to the far more pleasurable act of actually sailing.
Spoke too soon didnt i. The skipper emerged from his cabin and informed me that we would be refuelling the boat today.. so for 2 hours i wrestled heavy plastic drums of diesel across the constantly bouncing deck.
The starboard side motor was topped up first. It took what seemed like 15 drums of fuel to achieve… but was probably more like 10. The skipper made the process look so effortless, so i gave it a try on the other motor.
On a boat one tops up a fuel tank by inserting one end of a hose into the fuel tank.. the other end into a drum filled with diesel… then using a cloth to cover the lid of the drum; creating a rudimentary seal so that you can blow into the top of the drum to pressurise the contents.. which will then cause fuel to flow first up the pipe and then down.
Our good old friend gravity, and the subsequent siphoning action of the downward flowing fuel will then take over and ensure a steady stream… until the tank is empty.
Sounds easy right… and it should be. I have filled race cars and bikes like this many many times, but what is a simple task on land.. is not always that simple on a heaving boat.
I messed it up a few times… only managing to empty half to 3 quarters of all my drums.. so after the tank was topped up… i then had to use a funnel to pour all of the smaller amounts left in the drums into several other drums, topping them off.
This also is a challenge when the boat is leaping up and down like rumplestiltskin.. and i made a small mess.. which i then had to clean with soap and water.
Next time ill have to do the thing correctly the first time in order to avoid all the extra unnecessary steps. There is no teacher quite like experience.
Today i am wearing long pants and a long sleeved shirt to try and avoid the suns wrath after the devastation it wreaked on my very painfully burnt legs… so after lugging all these drums of diesel this way and that.. i was totally soaked through with sweat.
Look at that. My daily workout done at the same time as a boat refuel. Who ever said that men cannot multitask.