Has it been only three days since we left land? Our watch schedule, four hours on-four hours off, breaks each day into three 8-hour cycles. Off-watch hours are spent belowdecks eating, washing, hanging clothes to dry, and getting as much sleep as the boat’s motion allows before the cycle begins again. Hours on watch can be wet, cold, and miserable if the weather doesn’t favour you: last night Grant and I shivered under a frozen rain from midnight to 4am, peering into the darkness to try to decipher the forms of icebergs. Or if the weather is on your side, your watch may be paradise, like the one I just got off. Sam and I were basking in sunlight and a cool breeze, flying north with a flock of fulmars and petrels. A family of pilot whales joined us briefly, four dorsal fins coming up together. They easily kept pace with us for several minutes, not 30 meters from the cockpit, before vanishing as soundlessly as they had came.
Reviewing my journal and this blog, our passage sounds like an ordeal, and it is sometimes unpleasant, but I’m so glad to be here. There are occasional moments of stunning beauty. And one advantage of spending four-hour watches outside with only the horizon to watch: a decadent amount of time to think, in a context-free place, about everything and anything.
Greenland, ho! If we keep this pace, we’ll be there by the end of the week.
– Graham May