December 4th on Northern Child

By December 4, 2014 Uncategorized
Now about two-thirds of the way through our currently anticipated passage time (dv!), this is another voice from our on-board group who has been benignly ‘persuaded’ to lend a view by Mike – our still very much active director of journalism and stalwart contributor to initial NC blogs! 
Our on-board activities and routines as described previously continue with it seems an increasing sense of routine acceptance and commitment. Despite the wide range of people and personalities reflecting our very differing backgrounds, ages and experiences, the group including both guests and professional crew seem to have settled well into a necessary acceptance of  and respect for diversity – and occasional differences of viewpoint and style! – and of the need also for a well-oiled and structured boat and a people management  system.   In terms of the process of group formation described by group analysts we seem to have successfully negotiated the stages of ‘stormin, formin and normin…’.  
As previously noted, our activities include watch-keeping and helming at all hours of the day and night, cooking under constrained circumstances in a small, bucking and rolling galley, and keeping things (including ourselves) clean. The culinary delights emanating from the galley continue to amaze with their quality  and diversity. These have included light brunches such as bacon baguettes, omelettes, tuna and potato salad, and meals including wholesome staples such as pork chops and mash through to curious esoteric spicy pasta sauce fusions and, last night, a sublime veg and chicken curry. This curry magicked up by Laura (talents obviously wasted in the media!) was undoubtedly and by general consent the outstanding and much appreciated dish of the trip so far. 
Other tasks have of course included keeping this grand, old, hard-worked boat maintained and repaired  and in this respect our skipper and mate have been performing heroic endeavours above and beyond the call of duty. Today saw a further check and tightening of some seals around the rudder stock which had previously caused some slightly leakage but which all seems now well under control. 
Our own food provisioning efforts have also finally borne fruit again today after some frustrating days in the shape of a seriously large mahi-mahi caught on the line thanks to the efforts of he fishing sub team led essentially by our younger Dutch master mariner Arie and our first mate Xav. We estimate the fish to be at least 7kg – naturally! This really is a great catch and will provide a good few tasty steaks and more immediate – any minute now! –  sashimi type snacks. Xav, our expert fish processor and chopper up, has however noted the urgent need for a decent sized chopping board for such specimens!
On the watches especially at night maybe more emerges through our chats of our reasons, probably often only half conscious,  for being here and undertaking this voyage, and of its personal and collective challenges. Maybe one emergent theme has been the competing inclinations we seem to variously experience between our agendas of ‘getting places and doing things’  – and just being here and ‘in’ the experience with its challenges and anxieties. This has perhaps been best captured by our resident de-facto on-board philosopher Dr Paul N who has noted that he finds that ‘focussing on just being somewhere’ helps us ‘to experience being nowhere’. 
Certainly experience of the endless unpredictable hugeness of the ocean by both day and night can be a scary, unnerving but also fulfilling experience – and at a personal level very thought provoking and sobering. As the French philosopher Blaise Pascal famously voiced ‘the infinite endless space of the universe overwhelms me….’  But pithy as ever, Dr Paul also notes that staring up a brilliant star-filled sky for too long can give you a sore neck!   Our discussions have also illuminatingly ranged from topics such as comparative human rights and ethics (e.g. in the Middle East) and the never far away reminders of what horrors humans can inflict on each other and the planet – through to work hassles, holiday destinations and good places in the Caribbean to partake of ‘a serious refreshment’!
So this challenging and engaging process continues to unfold for each of us and for our emerging group where contacts and perhaps longer term relationships are developing – all as as part of the whole experience. No doubt there will be no clear resolution to any of the issues this has touched on – all just part perhaps of ‘life’s richly woven pattern’. As Arie has suggested we should just  treat each new day as a new day sail!
On that note, we are all, I think, still looking forward to the next and further days sailing! And hopefully Mike can ‘persuade’ someone else to offer another voice to reflect on them tomorrow!
PS Another hot and sunny day, blue sea and sky,  with some good sailing chute hours! 
position: 16.31.840N, 42.15.677W