Thoughts on crossing #01
Night watch Friday the 10th (1st Friday long crossing)
We haven't had much wind for the past couple of days, this was foreseen on the meteo charts but still. Everyone settled in its own day/night routine which allows us to be all awake around 10 and to bed soon after the sun disappears behind the horizon, which is around 20h in our own timezone (we kept the one of the Cape Verde islands).
The windless days are hot and surprisingly packed with activities. The first crossing settled us in a routine stopped to soon by the excitation of the land approaching (it was about 5 days in total). This new one saw us settling deeper in these new routines punctuated by their own changes.
Morning are usually quiet and short, everyone waking up in its own pace, driven by the preceding night shift. Soon the call for lunch rings and calls all crew to the front table to be pleased by the chef of the day. So far only great (and fresh) food but we recently decided to drive a new inventory of food and water left (that will be for Today) to make sure we do not end up on naked pasta/rice mixes. Keeping that pace, we're planned to reach the half of the crossing on Sunday afternoon and reach St-Martin by the end of next week (hoping for the winds to rise this weekend). Surprisingly, the feeling of solitude that could be generated by this vast areas of nothingness is countered by the family feeling installed on the boat. We're rarely completely alone except for some chosen nap time.
The after lunch dip hits hard on these windless days, we're on watch between 12h-15h with Estelle which takes the nap opportunity away but leaves plenty of time for long reads and podcasting. Usually from 15h onwards the crew wakes up for the most active part of the day. Yesterday we took the opportunity of the lack of wind to take a dip in the ocean. Imagine more than a 1000 meters of water down your feet, equally in 360 degrees (we were about 1/3 of the trip so more than 700nM from Cape Verde which is about 1000km on side and 1500nM from St-Martin).
Our ocean bath was complemented by our second fishing opportunity that day. We usually let a couple of lines drifting from both sides of the cata, so far we've been told by our captain Francesco that we were pretty unlucky in our catch rate but yesterday gave the opportunity to change the odds. While washing the salt away from our ocean bath on the back platform - what was meant to be a straightforward shower - transformed itself into a frenetic fishing mayhem. The first line lost tension after the first 10 seconds, but the second one bore a solid "Mahi-Mahi" of about 60cm for 4-ish kilos. You don't take the life of such animal lightly. I had the honour of preparing a fish for the first time, gutting it and chopping it on a tray towards our freezer. Freezing the fish is mandatory to kill any bacterias it may contain.
Aside from these adrenaline spikes, afternoons are usually longer than mornings. Filled with reads, card games and couch discussions in several areas of the cata. The end of our afternoon is usually punctuated by a (shaky) sport session on the front deck and a golden hour apero. We take the best of the amazing sunsets that the crossing grant to dine together (one person on cooking duty per day). Red head lights are piercing the ensuing obscurity, they are mandatory to keep night watch keepers accustomed to darkness in case a debris is to be spotted (which rarely happened so far).
These days, those early dark moments are the occasion to celebrate the starry nights, in then moment between sunset and moonrise. Cloudless evenings offered us heart-grasping panoramas of the milky way and we quickly learned to spot the major constellations together.
Our days end (or start) with our night-shift. For Estelle and I, it is from 2h to 4h which is considered to be one of the hardest (the 12h-15h is fairly easy to balance things out). The moon being up at that time, stars aren't as visible, we've been on a crescent moon phase since we left Tenerife and recently shifted from the full moon to the descending one.
Crew wise, we observe a stream of affinities that sets itself up. "Younglings" Antoine, Theo and Magalie are usually staying together when their shift allows. Antonin our second in command is independent and sociable enough to roam around our tiny subgroups. Marine's esoterism and ingenuity turns off some of the acquaintances that could have been created. Francesco spends a descent amount of time in his cabin and is a bit less connected to the crew's conversations. Estelle and I, are a bit of a crew within the crew which suits us. We're still careful not to isolate ourselves.
Other crazy highlights of the trip so far counted Hebraic Tarot session by Marine, bread baking, crepes in the morning, yoga sessions on the front deck, dolphins rushing at the front of the cata, waterway in Antonin's cabin, cat's showers, hand garment washings sessions, werewolves multi-day games, Cuvier whale encounter and a lot of "offline" attention to spend (from my end filled by: reflexion on free will by Sam Harris, V.Frankl audiobooks and logotherapy, stoicism, meditations, thoughts ordering, Sea shepherd audiobook, reads, podcasting and pokemon !)