Endeavour of Cork - ARC+ - The Highs and The Lows
I canvassed everyone earlier today to come up with the high(s) and the low(s) of the trip for them. Everything since we all boarded the boat - over a month ago now!!! (A general high must be that we've all survived together for that long at all, and are still talking!!!)
There's still a few miles left to go, so still time for contending experiences (I'm sure crossing the finishing line will top all of our lists when it happens) but as of now, in no particular order as they say......
Top has to be Heads-gate. On only day 3 of our long leg. The prospect of two weeks of bucketing and chuckiting. The horror (only imagined in our case) that Dermot and Conor faced in sorting it all out. Kudos, guys!!!
Blowing the cruising chute. Having just sorted it out and discovered its ease of flying, and realising that we should be able to keep it up at night - and then BANG, there it was, gone.
The last few nights, when we were all so, so tired from lack of sleep and the heat, and there were still a few hundred miles to go - so near, but still very very far really. You began to think this was never going to end.
The fecking heat.
Watching all the other crews pull out from Mindelo marina on the Wednesday to start for St. Lucia, when we still weren't sure if we were ever going to get going at all. That was HARD.
Swims. Oh, that feeling of jumping into clean, clear water after days in the stifling heat of the boat, and getting to stretch the limbs a bit. Never mind the thrill of it being the middle of the Atlantic - not a lot of people get to say they've swum there!
Dolphins - although we haven't seen much wildlife considering all the time we've been at sea, the dolphins put on a good show for us near the start of the second leg - they're always a highlight.
The fish catches - just reward for all the effort Dermot put into the fishing, and the endless slagging he took day after day when the lines were pulled in empty. And the gorgeous lunches and dinners dreamed up by the chefs on board to make the most of the catches.
Clear starry nights. On watch in the middle of the night on your own, with nothing to do but gaze at the vastness of the sky and watch shooting stars and admire the Milky Way and see planes go by, and watch the moon rise and set.
For Dermot - a high as well as a low was his first night watch on a windy night on the way from Las Palmas to Cape Verde - he said he was terrified and exhilarated in equal measure, never having helmed a boat this big, or a wheel, or at night before. A steep (sometimes literally!) learning curve!!
I'll include it in the highs, but really it deserves a "bizarre" heading all of its own - my monsoon watch during the few days of squalls we had. Two hours helming in big wind while having a bathtub emptied over me the whole time.
The day trip to Sto. Antao in Cape Verde. Not only a welcome break from all the work that was going on trying to get ready for departure, but one of the most spectacular and unusual places I've seen.
The day we got the (full) spinny cobbled together, rigged up, and flying - now that was a welcome sight!!
These blogs - forcing me to notice, and remember, and recall all the bits and pieces that happened to us all, and record them - I know from previous experience how it all starts to blend into one big fuzz in your head after a while, so these will be nice to look back on and remember!
The emails from everyone - friends and strangers - which became one of the highlights of our days, giving us news of other boats and happenings outside our tiny temporary world.
The latest big one - just now, spotted by Conor - LAND AHOY!!!! 38 miles to go!!! (shortly afterwards, he asked, innocently, would anyone object to us stopping for 15 mins for a swim..... never did you hear a more unanimous or resounding NOOOOOOO!)
And lastly - in a few hours' time, we'll be able to say WE SAILED THE ATLANTIC!!!! WOOHOOOOOO!!! WELL DONE US!!!!!