Ollie writes:-

I’m writing this at 2:17am.

It should be the penultimate hour of my watch. But I’m actually only seventeen minutes into it.

That’s because, I’m ashamed to say, I overslept…massively.

I ran out of my cabin to find Barry, staring contemplatively into the starry horizon.

“Barry I’m so sorry, I must’ve slept through my alarm.”

– “That’s alright.”

“But it’s been two hours. Why didn’t you wake me up?”

– “Well I knocked on the door but you didn’t answer.”

Quite a piece of somnolent tittery from me then.

Not only did I sleep through the alarm, I slept through Barry’s attempts to stir me as well.

“Well next time knock louder, or better still – come in and shake me on the shoulder.”

Barry chuckled and replied, “Don’t worry about it.”

I have an ex-housemate, who was once three hours late for work after sleeping through his blaring alarm for two and a half hours.

I found it hilarious at the time, and now I’ve almost matched his record!

Plus, he’d been drinking and all I had was a couple of glasses of wine-in-a-box and a rum punch.

Perhaps it was the rum punch…augmented by engine noise.

Now I fervently hope for three things.

1. That by committing this to the blog, I can purge myself of some of the guilt at making Barry do an extra two hours on watch.
2. That by being contrite on here, I can side-step some of the piss-taking from my commanding officers.
3. That the skipper, who’s on watch next, sleeps through his alarm too.

That last one is probably the most important.

Now, what else to report?

The sea’s been steadfast in its lumpiness.

But on the plus side, the sun’s been shining.

We even caught a faint glimpse of a pod of dolphins today, which was a treat.

It’s the first wildlife we’ve seen so far, other than the odd flying fish.

I’m hoping to see more next week.

What else?

– Despite the choppy conditions, the skipper cooked up a lovely chicken and rice dinner.

And rather than a film, we opted for a couple of episodes of a sitcom called ‘Nighty Night’.

I’d never seen it, but would now recommend it to anyone with a sense of humour. It’s great.

Right, not long till the skipper’s watch– let’s hope he remains snoring…

Nick writes:-

Sorry Ollie, I was on time – for a change – so you’ll have to continue to feel guilty!

We continue to ‘show the way’ for AWOL and they have stubbornly continued to sail as the wind has dropped and headed us. This is understandable and agreed over the radio as they have smaller tanks and a more limited stock of diesel but I have agreed that, in the event of needing it, we can transfer a can or two from our rather ample supplies should it be necessary. As a result of logging less than 3 knots, we have just both agreed to modestly (economically) motor while we wait for the wind to fill in. Unfortunately the sea state is still quite lumpy following the ‘blow’ but this should diminish as we traverse the modest high before the next low comes sweeping in.

Somewhere on this leg a subconscious change occurred when, quite naturally, instead of pulling on a pair of shorts, one instinctively reaches for socks and long trousers. Our track is only slightly north of east and Bermuda is definitely shorts – as the name suggests. The difference has been that the winds and currents have been resolutely from the north with nothing between us and the North Pole. Apart from trips home, this is the first long trouser wearing since Iberia, last summer and the change is significant. Most of the fleet are heading to Lagos on the Algarve but Hejira and one or two others are heading back to Northern Europe and the pulling on of the long trousers makes me quite contemplative. Over this last year, I have been asked on more than one occasion, “Why don’t you leave the yacht in the Caribbean for a couple of years?” There are several reasons behind my decision to complete a one year ‘Atlantic Circuit’:

The insurers insisted that the yacht was taken out of the hurricane zone between June and November. Speaking to other cruisers even with the same insurer, it seems that if you push the point, you can store ashore in approved places complying with certain stipulations – I didn’t know that or push the point. Irrespective, it would be difficult for me to come to terms with losing access to my yacht for six months – over the summer.

I imagined there would be maintenance and repair work required which would need to be done in the UK – wrong on both counts, Hejira is in great shape and there are good tradesmen in the Caribbean.

I had also entered the ARC Europe rally for this return leg but it would seem that this could have been deferred.

Interestingly, I met a couple who were moored alongside in Jolly Harbour in Antigua. They had a solution to the dilemma; they had two yachts, one they left in the Caribbean and used it over the winter and they kept another yacht, a Southerly in fact, at home in the West Country, thus achieving year round sailing. Hmmmm………….

I have managed to push the issue to the back of my mind and accept the ‘fait accompli’ on the basis that this has been a ‘taster’ and I would happily do it again. This attitude has also enabled me to come to terms with sailing past inviting islands and anchorages without exploring them which has been most helpful as the Caribbean has such a lot to offer and next time, what about Cuba, the Bahamas, Florida, New York?

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