Every movement you take you have to think about. Where you place your foot, what you grab ahold of, if Artemo is at the crest of a wave and about to drop down or just building up. My body is sore from clenching up and using all my muscles. We all are living on the starboard side of the boat (the low side). The stove is on the low side so we had to rig up a rope about a foot in front of it that we could lean against to make our meals. We have a couple of attachment points so we can move it to lean against it to do the dishes. We have taken to wiping all the dishes down with paper towel in the cockpit to minimize the time we need to spend in the kitchen. Remarkably Graham still manages to make amazing meals. He has only the sinks to use to put stuff in so it doesn't fly as he prepares the meals. He props himself against the ropes and tries to move in rhythm with Artemo. He made us all Salisbury steak, mash potatoes, beets and gravy last night. We were all so craving comfort food.
Here are a few interesting things that have happened the last few days:
The other day we thought we noticed another rigging issue. Graham decided he should go up the mast. The wind was about 18 knots but the swell was huge. I hoisted him up. It felt so strange to have him up there as the boat lurched back and forth. Murphy's law though was ruling that day and as soon as I had him up there Alex starts yelling at me, "Mom, mom the mizzen sheet has come undone!". This means that the mizzen boom at the rear of the boat is swinging wildly back and forth. I couldn't let Alex go back there and risk getting hit trying to catch it and hold it in place, so I locked the rope I was holding Graham up with and I headed back. I managed to get ahold of the sheet and hold it steady. Alex took over lowering Graham and luckily there weren't any serious issues he could see. Then Graham came back to the mizzen and reattached the sheet (permanently this time!).
Yesterday I was in the back room having a nap and Graham was up on deck. All of a sudden I hear, "Hola Senior"! I was in shocked. You could hear that Graham was in shocked. We all ran up on deck and there right beside us is a open boat with a huge outboard and three fishermen. Can you imagine Grahams surprise as he looked up from his book and there are three guys beside him! Anyway, all was ok. They just wanted us to alter course a bit to avoid their fishing lines. We got all this from their sign language. We did back some letting them know that the motor wasn't on and our boat was round on bottom and wouldn't get caught on the lines. Not sure if they got all that through the four of us making motions like holding wheel and like no and rounding motions. I am sure they got a kick out of it though and we veered off and watched as their line went under us with no issues.
We were a little scared when we heard the boat because a couple of days before this the kids and I had been sitting at night in the cockpit and staring off the port side at the glow in the distance from the Columbian coast and then all of a sudden right in front of us this spot light goes on (it was very close). We could see so clearly the faces of these two guys. The guy in the front was wearing a bandanna on his head. They saw the kids and I and then they turned back off there light and left??? We were so freaked out. We had been in contact daily on the SSB with other boats who are also making this passage and one of them had warned us about pirate attacks off the coast of Columbia. This added to the fear we felt. Graham was sleeping at the time. Looking back it was kind of funny. Alex equates it to the "Office" episode where Ryan starts a fire and Michael flees the building leaving everyone behind. Alex shot down the stairs below before Amelia and I could even scream for Graham. He forgot to unattach his teether so there he hung down below as Graham came running from the back. Amelia and I were scrambling over each other to get down below to. Poor Graham he was in such a daze and we were all really worked up. Our hearts were beating so fast. Graham saw the tail end of the boat as he went off into darkness. It took us all quite a while to come down from this. We were all pretty shaky. It was just so freaky to have been looking directly where the light came on and then men's faces so clear.
Last night on watch Graham got hit in the arm by a flying fish. Thank god it was him and not me. He managed to grab it and toss it back in the water. The nights are really cold. It is so strange to be cold. We have been wearing socks and fleeces. We have a strawberry shortcake fleece blanket on deck that Amelia got for her 8 birthday from her best friend Amy, that we all use. It is so funny to see Graham all wrapped up in pink when I come to trade off shifts with him.
We are finally on our track and hopefully not needing to do to many more tacks. Looks like if the weather holds we can stay pretty true to our rum line. We did 6.5 to 7 knots for many hours last night. I was incorrect in the last blog the distances etc. Our route is about 1465 nautical miles. We have about 370 nm left. Our ETA right now on the chart plotter is showing that we will arrive Friday morning some time. I so hope our winds hold and this is true. We have been out at sea for 9 days so far!
We are planning to cross the Equator very close to the Galapagos, since we are riding a nice current right now. For sailors I guess it is a huge deal to cross the equator; momentous. You are suppose to have a huge party and celebrate. I think they have a couple names for sailors who haven't crossed and those who have.....shellbacks and pollywags?? I can't remember...maybe someone could look it up. I bought a bottle of champagne (non alcohol) for us all to pop and enjoy. Amelia has made party hats and we have our new years eve noise makers. We are looking forward to this!