A late hour and a night watch, where you are being quiet together. The night black water glitters from the beautiful phosphorescence and I am moving around to sit more comfortably, putting my head back, resting on a winch. Neither thoughts or view are blocked – the dark horizon seems infinite. It is swarming with shooting stars but all at once one stands out. It is so beautiful it drags a tail all the way over the sky and leaves me with the big question – what should I wish for?
The evening started this quietly – but that changed. The wind picked up and it started blowing stronger and stronger. We were organised and had readied the boat during the day. Having lashed everything down and changed sails we were well prepared to meet strong winds ‘head on’.
The wind picked up and from there on everything became harder. Taking clothes on and off in the cabin was comparable to an Olympic discipline – at least it felt that way. Clothes on hangers were at a 45 degree angle to the wall. Lying in the bunk you weren't just tossed from side to side, it literally felt like you were lifted from the mattress and then immediately forced back down again. Walking around entailed a high risk of bruises, since it was impossible to keep your balance, so you really had to hold on to the strategically placed handle bars. On deck everyone had to wear lifelines.
Imagine a 20 hour roller coaster ride – that’s how the whole night and following day felt!
Our breakfast consisted of hardboiled eggs, crackers and fruit – it was impossible to make anything more advanced. (I didn’t see lunch but I imagine it was something of the same.)
Most of the crew were on deck during the daytime. It was very warm and humid, and quite exhausting to move around too much, so most of us were just lying around on deck in their oilskin suits (including myself). Cascades of water were breaking over the boat and if you were lying on deck, you got your share of the water for sure. Everything was wet and everything was covered by a thick layer of salt. At one point it started raining – the fresh water was welcome but of course you didn't get any less wet!
If you sat on deck and enjoyed the ride, it was fantastic. The yacht was doing exactly what it was built for and easily rode the up to 5 meter waves and ever as elegantly down the valley of the waves.
The stirred ocean was an awe inspiring view, with the large waves and vicious white sprays. Every once in a while one or more of the crew applauded the boat, especially when we were riding an extra large wave.
We manage the power of the nature but quickly things can happen that mean we are no longer in control. That's how it is being a human as well. It is a general human condition: that not everything can be taken charge of or be controlled. We are here on nature’s terms – you are once again reminded when sailing in a gale in the middle of the Atlantic.
During the evening it became quieter. We had freeze dried food for dinner because the waves were still too big which made it impossible to do any cooking. But the wind was decreasing and it was now much more harmonic sailing.
The stars were back too, so those of us on the night shift could enjoy them, and again there was a beautiful shooting star to raise the question: what should I wish for?