Neverland - Neverland leg 2 - Days 11 - 12
Day 11 – 12
Having travelled roughly 1150 nautical miles without a squall in sight we were starting to wonder if we might make it across to St.Lucia without being hammered by the wrath of a mid Atlantic squall. Ohhhhh how wrong we were.
The typical Atlantic squall usually comes at you from behind. They kind of look like a big mushroom cloud or the aftermath of an atomic bomb depending on the size of it. The top is a towering mass of thick cumulonimbus cloud, underneath that a thick line of dark grey and below that a trunk of torrential rain. As well as torrential rain, they bring strong winds (the wind speed can triple in a matter of seconds) and a lumpy sea. By day you can spot them lurking in the distance but on a moonless night they creep up on you and if you’re not careful you could find yourself with full sails out in 30+ knots of wind. We would know…
Last night, on Dads night watch, we were motoring (again) because the wind had died to 6 knots – something we have become accustomed to. The wind had gradually started to pick up and being as concerned as Tom and I are about our dwindling diesel reserves Dad came down to let Tom know we had 14 knots of wind and should we therefore get the sails up. In the time it took Tom to put his shorts and life jacket on, 14 knots had increased to 20 knots. Is this an infamous squall? There was no moon so it was impossible to make out any kind of cloud formation and we don’t have a Radar which, at times like this, would definitely have come in handy. 20 knots increased to 25 knots. Yup, this is definitely a squall. I was woken to bench cushions being thrown from the cockpit and hurling across the saloon at me as I lay tucked under my sleeping bag on the bench. The first one took me by surprise. I thought it was Toms new and imaginative way of telling me I’d slept through my alarm (or forgotten to set it) again. Then came the rain. The squall lasted about 30 minutes and was a very real wake up call as to just how quickly the weather can change at sea. We went from having 6 knots of wind to 25 knots in 5 minutes. Our saving grace was having the engine on.
I woke up this morning expecting to be able to have my (much needed) shower in the sunshine up on deck and looking forward to finishing my third book. Instead I woke up on squall street headed straight for squall highway. Oh good. Instead of the sky being the brilliant blue peppered with small fluffy clouds we have woken to every morning it was a wash of bleak grey and the horizon (all 360 degrees of it) was scattered with mushrooms of varying sizes with a couple of atomic bombs thrown in for good measure. The sea swell was building and already making standing let alone moving around the boat a challenge. Dad has swallowed enough Stugeron (or Nicola’s as he calls them) to sedate a rhinoceros in an attempt to thwart a repeat of his first 24 hours onboard Neverland. His bucket has rather unfortunately been used in the gutting of fish and so the prospect of having ones head in it for any period of time is enough to drive anyone to a mild overdose of sea sickness pills.
Having moaned about a lack of wind for the last 10 days it looks like we are about to get hit by enough if it to more than make up for that. Have we been lulled into a false sense of security? Is this really what an Atlantic Crossing is about? Oh god... is it going to be like this for the next 7 days?