Letter from Marquesas, pt 2

posted in: Innocents Abroad | 0
Val at the wheel

5/7/82  Well, the fish cakes were a resounding success, along with the fish pie I made a couple of days ago.  Unfortunately, my Toad in the Hole didn’t rise, but I can blame that on the motion of the boat, along with the fact that we’d had a hectic day.

Why a hectic day, you may ask.  Well, once again it was our very bad luck to tear our main sail; one of the ropes used to pull the sail down had been rubbing against the edge of the sail and eventually it wore through and ripped.  Therefore, we spent all day trying to repair it and get it up again before dark.  One very fortunate thing was that we had very little wind and the sea was beautifully calm for us to get the sail down and then back up again.  But when we get to the Marquesas we are going to have to take all 3 sails and overhaul them – if there is one thing I detest it’s sewing sails, but it seems likely that several days will be taken up with needle + thread.

Another consequence of bringing down the main sail was that we lost a day’s sailing and also our captain has decided to take it easier on the sails, so that we’ll be moving more slowly.  However, the captain  and his wife change their minds so often about how to sail the boat that this policy may not last long.  One thing we do know is that we can’t dally too long as our water supply is not in plentiful supply.  Don’t worry, we have plenty as long as we only use it for drinking; the main reason we’re as low as we are is that Alma, the silly woman, would insist on washing up (and rinsing!) the dishes in fresh water so often.

You must sense that we are becoming rather disillusioned with our travelling companions – well, you’re right.  But it’s only to be expected really; we are two couples, with very little in common other than a love for books and a wish to travel, who have been thrown together into a very confined space for long periods of time.  I really wonder we get on so well, really; but I think one good thing is that we act as separate couples except for eating, and that seems to be the way things work out best.

Chris is disappointed today – England got knocked out of the World Cup football championship – we listen to the results on the BBC world service – but then, he would never have forgiven me if England had gone on to win, as he wanted to be at home to see the matches anyway.

It will soon be dark now, so we’ll just have time for a couple of games of Backgammon, using the pocket set I bought Chris for his birthday.  We play rather a lot of backgammon lately and Chris is thrashing me on an overall score since we left the Galapagos.

It looks like our watches tonight are going to be tedious; the wind has picked up (damn good job we got the sail back up when we did) and our automatic steering system can’t operate when the sea is too rough, so we have to steer by hand.  Ho hum, at least I won’t be likely to fall asleep. See you soon.

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