Letter to Cornwall part 2

posted in: Innocents Abroad | 0
Val taking a noon sight

31/5/82  Hello again!  It’s now a week later and we haven’t sighted land yet – the wind hasn’t been in our favour, so we’re not moving along very fast.  Ah well, it gives me plenty of time for sewing, mending + reading, not to mention a bit of cooking.  Talking of cooking, I made some biscuits this morning (a la Jonas) and seeing as I’ve never attempted them all by myself before they came out rather well – and it’s easy to blame the motion of the boat for any imperfections.  I let them get rather too brown (silly me), but I thought “never mind, Chris likes them dark”, and then he goes and tells me that he’s changed his mind and likes the light ones now!  I had to stop him from grabbing a handful when they came out of the oven.

Well, so much for my culinary enterprises.  Do you know we’ve been at sea for 11 days now, travelled about 900 miles, trailed a fishing line almost every daylight hour and we haven’t landed a fish yet.  I’m almost ashamed to tell anyone.  We’re having to go easy on the meat we have as we’re not sure what we’ll be able to buy on the way to the small islands; so each time we more or less scheduled a fish dinner, we have the same meal, minus the fish, and have to leave it up to our imaginations.  Chris saw a six-foot shark swimming alongside the boat a few mornings ago, and some fish bit the whole bait off the fishing line, but apart from that the only marine life we’ve seen are a few flying fish and squid that get washed up on deck.

On the bright side, the weather has perked up considerably.  We’ve had several days of beautiful sunshine (so my tan is looking pretty good) and we’ve been able to relax out on deck with just enough breeze and shade from the sun-canopy to keep us cool.  Unfortunately, with the nice weather, the wind has dropped quite a lot, so that we’re not moving very fast.

I have been learning to navigate, and think I’m doing quite well; I have my own sextant and I take readings at the same time as Jack the captain.  Then we compare readings and so far my sights have been fairly close to his, when we plot the bearings on the chart.

We hope to arrive in the Galapagos soon – that sounds hopeful, doesn’t it – and that will be the true test of our navigating.  Sometimes when you look around at the ocean – miles and miles of it – you wonder how on earth anyone can find a tiny island in the middle of it.

Well, quite! So all the more credit to Val, who was using a relatively cheap, plastic sextant, and with it doing equally as well as Jack with his expensive, precision engineered German one.

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