My day began at 12.30 am, when I was woken up to go on watch. I’d been moved back 31/2 hours because J + A had been up dealing with problems. We’d run right out of fuel in one of the tanks, so now we were sailing. A pleasant enough evening, though a bit drizzly, but at least the boat was staying more or less on course with the wheel locked. Val had a much more difficult time when she took over from me, having to wrestle with the wheel for much of her watch. Our breakfast was our crossing the equator celebration meal – biscuits + jam again, + coffee, but also peaches + champagne (not provided by J + A tho’ – a friend had given them the bottle.) A flying fish had landed on deck overnight, so I used him as bait. He was only down there about an hour tho’, when a bird spotted him, dived down, + pulled him right off the hook. You can’t win ‘em all, I know, but we don’t seem to be able to win any of ‘em. The noon fix had us due north of the island, + about 35 miles off, the current having pushed us west, so we decided to power down – we really didn’t have any choice. A great meal for dinner – the quality of fare seems to have taken one of its periodic upswings – with steak + baked potatoes. Just about then we thought we could see land, but we never were sure, right up till it got dark, so Jack decided to switch the engine off + drift till morning. Also, for some reason, he decided it was necessary to operate double watches, in pairs – first the 2 women, then the men, then the women again, then the men. Crazy + stupid. It served no useful purpose, meant nobody got a decent night’s sleep, +, Val + I agreed, was fucking tedious as well. We don’t have much in common with J + A, certainly not for scintillating night-time conversation. Oh, I read an excellent book for much of the day – Kent State, by James Michener. Very thoroughly researched, + well-reasoned by someone right of centre, yet fair + sympathetic.
The frustration of not getting to the islands is really getting to us. I know that maritime navigation is an imprecise science – or at least definitely was back then, using a sextant. But at least we were comfortable, being fed, and had plenty to read.