Sunday, March 15 at 2000 hrs and we have reached another
milestone – we are two thirds across and have only 1000 nautical miles left to
go to reach our destination of Hiva Oa in the French Polynesian archipelago of
the Marquesas. Spirits remain high, and we continue to enjoy beautiful weather,
with moderate seas and winds of 13-18 knots. We have not had to motor since
traversing the doldrums at the beginning of the leg. So our two-thirds milestone
was celebrated with Happy Hour, the ETA competition, and some specially-arranged
entertainment in the form of circling storm petrels and scores of dolphins
cheering us on, cavorting at the bow. Two lucky crew happened to be enjoying
their salt water shower on the bow at the time.
We have not seen another boat for days, and are enjoying
the solitude that ocean sailing provides. Despite there being no other humans
around for miles, a strange phenomenon can be witnessed on Skyelark every
evening at around 1600 hours. With about 85% of the crew hailing from the
British Isles, the instinct to form an orderly queue out in the middle of
nowhere is very strong. Keen to freshen up before Happy Hour, one-by-one they
wait their turn and then stagger to the bow for the much-coveted saltwater
shower behind the staysail which forms a very convenient shower curtain.
Refreshed, they return with big smiles on their faces, and the process repeats
itself the next night. There is definitely a primeval satisfaction gained from
this nightly ritual.
Food has been fantastic throughout. We are still
enjoying fresh food, but the fish are definitely outsmarting us. We have lost so
many lures that we have lost count. It is reassuring to know that the lack of
fishing success has been felt fleet-wide. We are even eyeing up the tiny flying
fish that sacrifice themselves on the deck nightly, wondering if they would be
good on toast!
While excited to make landfall, there is a certain
sadness that this unique experience will soon be drawing to an end. We are
savouring every last moment.