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Kalimba - stories

By the time you are all reading this we will hopefully be in Saint Lucia but for now we are still crossing the Atlantic with another 140nm to go.  The ARC's start was delayed by 2 days due to bad weather conditions and possible 6m swells. 
On Tuesday, 2 days later than scheduled  we finally got going.  It was certainly an exciting moment with over 200 yachts meandering about waiting to cross the start line without a second to waist irrelevant of the fact that we all still had over 2700nm to go. 
A couple of minutes before the start we were as Andy says "In all the gear with no idea", a fender still hanging out on our starboard side which I know will came back to bite us in the derrière due to the amount of photographs that were taken at the time.  At the same time our skipper was jumping around franticly in the cockpit screaming "Ouch, ow, ow get this ***** thing off me now it sodding hurts", while all his crew are lying on the floor in hysterics . 
Pete had bought a seasickness watch that sends out an electronic pulse to a pressure point on your wrist.  I had suddenly remembered about it minutes before the start and very naïvely  handed it to Dillon and asked him to apply the gel, set the correct setting and attach it to Pete's wrist.  Dillon being Dillon spending most of his life finding Pete's pain to be the ultimate of entertainment set the watch to the highest setting and strapped it on as tight as he could.  Pete's uncontrollable frantic reaction made him incapable of being able to remove it himself and obviously all his crew were unable to help as the longer it went on the funnier it got and all the more hysterically weak we all became.  The only regret I have is that we didn't get it on camera enabling us to share the whole experience with all of you.

Our first few days in we made some silly decisions and probably lost a day or 2 but we finally sorted ourselves out and got going.  Dillon got to try out his new fishing rod on day 2 and to all of our disbelief he caught his very first fish within minutes.  (For those of you who are unaware Dillon has been traumatised by his inability to catch a fish for the past 7 months.)  Since he was not expecting to catch anything so soon or ever, he was totally unprepared for this poor suffering little creatures arrival onboard and so another moment of absolute mayhem lets rip onboard Kalimba.  
As Dillon reels his catch of the day in and gets a glimpse of the fact that this thing is for real it suddenly dawns on him that he has absolutely not the foggiest as to what to do with it upon its arrival.  He starts to shout orders and demands a bucket filled with sea water while Pete on the other hand lets out a little secret not only to the rest of us but perhaps himself too. 
While this beautifully looking blue fin tuna is reeled in and now onboard Kalimba Pete, trying to carry out orders of a bucket delivery starts to let out these very girly like euwes and aahs while jumping back and forth on tippy toes in utter determination of absolute no contact what so ever with this slippery, smelly disgusting creature.  (He later confirmed that he was only alright with fish if it came out of the fish and chip shop wrapped in news paper.)  
I on the other hand just saw this stunning creature suffering with a hook the size of its head embedded into its mouth and could only think of one thing.  Kill it and kill it now.  So I start screaming orders of 1st degree murder suggesting weapons such as a winch handle or a knife by which point  Andrew and Dillon are once again in complete hysterics only making me all the madder because no one is putting this fish out of its misery while Pete on the other hand is getting even more squeamish at all the gruesome murderous suggestions being thrown about encouraging his girly like behaviour to reach new levels. 
Finally, Dillon takes a knife and using Andy's suggestion of  "you just slit it behind the gills" practically beheads the poor sod.  There was a sudden moment of silence. Pete's face was priceless.  On a more positive note Dillon didn't waste any time showing off his abilities in the kitchen and produced a very delicious fresh mid afternoon snack.  
There were other fish that followed but due to a lack of knowledge as to what they were they were returned to the big blue still to my disgust as I am sure no fish would survive being dragged behind the back of a boat at 7.5 knots for 10 minutes by such a gruesome looking hook or any other for that matter. 
Fishing onboard Kalimba is now a thing of the past due to the fact that the wonderfully newly purchased fishing rod no longer seems to be in its holder.  It's just vanished.  Must have gone during some rough swell although Dillon has questioned Pete about it.

Andrew left Las Palmas with us with only one wish besides survival.  He wanted to see whales.  Dillon had explained to Andrew that it would probably be in our best interests not to come across a whale as it would increase the very slim possibility of us hitting one and it wouldn't be very pretty. 
Into week 2 and I walk up the stairs where Dillon and Andrew are sitting and while asking them something about food I catch a glimpse of a rather large looking dolphin swimming less than 2 meters alongside us and with all excitement and disbelieve of its size shout out to them to turn around and look.  It's gone, but the look on both of their faces was of pure "oh crap".  "Are you sure it wasn't a whale?"  No, I replied it was too small for a whale but then again for the glimpse I got it looked too big for a dolphin.  Unable to see any other sign of it the excitement dies and I waddle off back down to the galley when Dillon suddenly starts to shout "Its a whale, quickly come look. 
There it was.  This magnificent whale swimming alongside us surfing the swell then disappearing directly underneath our keel and coming up on the other side.  The most amazing moment was when we were just ahead of a rolling wave quickly catching up to us and just below the surface there she was.  We could see her in clear view only meters behind as if to show off  not only herself but her skill at surfing which was far more advanced than this strange looking thing she had come to investigate and have a bit of a play with.  
I knew that whales can be very curious creatures but I never new that they could be playful and into surfing the waves in the same way that dolphins do.  I guess I just never gave it much thought till now. This was without a doubt not only an incredibly amazing but unique experience that I will always treasure. 

We have had all sorts of conditions along the way and possibly today the biggest swell which fortunately at a guess must only be about 4 Mts high although in saying that it's still pretty daunting looking up at or down one while you are on the top of it.  We have had our fair share of squalls and on one dark evening we suddenly found ourselves in the middle of one with winds of about 32 knots.  Its not fun when you are totally unprepared for it but Dillon showed his true strengths in sailing and perhaps we saw a side to him on another occasion hat we were unaware of.  He is completely frigging insane. 
Woken to all the performance of another squall on a different evening Pete shouts up to Dillon that his overpowered and needs to get another reef in.  Dillon screams back at Pete through the howling wind while embedding his nails into the wheel and a look on his face of, bring it on,  "I want more, I need more."  This is the moment that Andrew decided to call Dillon Michael Schumacher on steroids.

Preparing meals onboard has had its moments.  There is a little space called the galley that is now known as the naughty corner and has a language of its own.  I have found a new talent of being able to blurt out full sentences consisting of only four letter words.  Who would have guessed?  Dillon has not stopped eating since we left.  Every time he looks at me he starts with "I love you" followed by "Mom, Im hungry".   Obviously this is purely my own doing through providing such a good service to them in the first place.  I will no longer be playing the perfect 70s housewife once we get there.  In fact, Im thinking about booking myself into a luxury spa resort for a week.  Just disappear and go back to a normal diet of one meal a day. 

Night shifts have been interesting.  While Bob and I have taken our night shifts rather seriously and refused to sleep it has become more than obvious that we are the only idiots onboard to do so.  Bob & Sway is what Pete chose to name the autopilot.  (Bob up and down & Sway left to right).   There have been days where Bob & Sway have been accused of being on the drink occasionally loosing it and not being able to get their act together.  Overall though trusty old Bob & Sway have probably sailed us across the Atlantic for 99% of the way.  They do get a little upset with the ongoing spinouts in big swells and decide to go sod it I'm leaving and do so without warning.  
The boys (Pete, Andrew & Dillon) all do their shifts and basically see it as another location to park their heads for 4 hours with the added bonus of a midnight snack or two mostly consisting of chocolate.  Dillon has a permanently ongoing snack time.  If its awake, it eats.  His first priority on a night shift is whether or not the snack bowl has been topped up for the night.  Pete's main issue on night shifts seem to be getting around his own safety line.  He moves about forgetting its even there and ultimately gets all tangled up and twisted the same way those miniature dogs do around the legs of a table and chairs. The thing is he still keeps trying to go even though he can feel that something is restricting him.  On one occasion he went down the steps at a rather fast pace only to find that it was well placed in-between his legs obviously creating much needed laughter for his crew.  

We had had a good week getting an average speed of over 7.3 knots and covering 150-180nm in 24 hours.  It was looking like we were going to make 6th position in our class and a possible 129th overall.  This was a huge jump from what we were managing last week so we were all focused and excited pushing to get the best speeds in the winds we had.  Unfortunately yesterday the vang broke and there appears to be a crack through the boom at the point where it ripped out.  We have done what we can to support the boom and it's probably not going to go any further but to be on the safe side we have chosen to only use the main sail fully reefed and not put it under too much of a load.  Last night was painfully slow only doing 6-7 knots knowing that we could have been getting 7.5 - 8 knots if the full main was up.  We watched as other yachts gained from behind and finally made their way passed us early this morning.  (Personally I think its broke anyway so why stop now.  Just kidding.)  Our only other option was to use the parasail which we did yesterday but unfortunately this morning  the wind is too strong so we are kind of wading our way to Saint Lucia at 6.5knots with very sad looking soles onboard.  Dillon has just found out that we have probably dropped back from 6th to 11 place in our division and obviously will continue to fall behind.  From what we can tell tomorrow  morning will only be blowing an exciting 5 knots but on the bright side we should still get there for New Years.  (Still hoping for Friday)  Time will tell.  
Afternoon:  In a sudden change of events we have just put the parasail up in 17knots of wind so hopefully we can still make tomorrow however the wind will continue to drop through the day and overnight.  I'm not sure how we are going to mentally keep ourselves from starting the engine tomorrow when we will finally see land for the first time in 17 days while sitting in 5 knots of wind.  

Conversations going on between the boys has led me to the conclusion that due to their relentless boredom they may begin to attempt suicidal missions all in the name of fun which could result in me sailing into Saint Lucia single handedly.  One example is about how the hell to get yourself out of a flying parasail once you have managed to launch yourself into it for a bit of a joyride.  Obviously, Dillon has come up with an answer so therefore it could just be a matter of time.  This time I will be sure to have the camera ready.  In some cases even the loss of an individual should be shared with others.  

Come on Saint Lucia.  I believe I have a cocktail or 2 waiting for me. 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all our friends and family.  

Written by Leandra on behalf of the Kalimba crew:  (Peter Hayes, Leandra Plantinga, Dillon Plantinga, Andrew Hayes, Bob & Sway)

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