18 December 2013

Imagine your house is suspended from a giant bungy cord. The cord isn’t in the center of the house but to one side so your house isn’t flat but hanging at an angle of 30ยบ. It is continually being jerked from front to back and from side to side. Every few seconds it is lifted up then dropped down suddenly and every now and again it is lifted a bit higher and dropped so that it hits the ground with a bang and everything shudders and shakes.
You can’t move at all without holding on as your world is never still for a second but you somehow have to go about your everyday duties, cooking, reading, writing, trying to get your cursor steady enough to hit a particular dot on the screen…
The movement isn’t predictable at all but completely random and chaotic. You make a cup of tea but you can’t set it down anywhere and all the while someone is throwing bucketfuls of saltwater over your windows.
You are lucky enough though to have a cooker that is gimbaled i.e. the top stays reasonably flat while the house swings around. So cooking is possible once you get to the stage where everything you’ve prepared is actually in the pot. Then, of course, you have the fun of trying to eat it without ending up wearing it.

If you can imagine that you will have some idea of what life is like on Elsi right now. We are battering to windward in a F5-6 a couple of hundred miles north of the equator. The equator can be stark calm with blue skies or it can be like this. For all the movement though I would far rather have that than have nothing at all and be going nowhere. At least we are moving albeit in every direction as well as forwards.

The wind was more or less steady all night at around F5-6 and I slept through most of it. At first light there was little change but by late morning the wind had eased a bit and I could set the full mainsail again. The sky was more blue than anything else with a warm sun shining through. The upper cirro clouds appeared almost static and sentinel. The lower broken of bits of cumulus were fast drifting across us but as smooth and steady as a hand passing over sheaves of corn. Down on the water there was nothing smooth about it and we were still being pitched about as much as ever.

I’m not sure if these winds are the N’ly limit of the SE Trades. They feel steady enough and the sky is taking on a Trade wind appearance but we are still north of the equator so we’ll wait and see what happens over the next two days.

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