INDEPENDENT PURSUIT ATLANTIC CROSSING 2018 (Part 7)
We lost yet another hour.
At around 03:30, the distinct racket of the clock on the wall racing sixty minutes forward woke me up. Suddenly, I was again an hour older.
Awake now, I played some Solitaire on my iPhone before falling asleep again and woke up at 08:00. I got dressed and went down to Deck 1 for my breakfast.
We have quartering seas on the port side. Waves are about three to four feet with white caps. It makes for a bit more movement on board and, because the ship is rolling more than during the previous days, I need my sea legs.
My cabin is at the portside end of a hallway and the stairs are at the starboard end. It makes for interesting walking. One moment you are going up a ten degree incline and, when the sip rolls down to port, you speed up running downhill. Slow up and fast down… Thank goodness I don’t get seasick.
I was by myself for breakfast and got my eggs and bacon then joined Emilio in his galley (or kitchen in the parlance of landlubbers). We chatted for about half an hour about food, recipes, the beauty of the Dalmatian coast in Croatia and of Istria, closer to the Slovenian border. The “Admiral” has been bugging me for the longest time to go visit Pula and its Roman coliseum. Emilio told me that, to keep her happy, I’d better do it sooner than later. Let’s see if it fits in our 2019 flotilla program?
Up to the bridge for another Spot positioning transmission. Even though it is cooler, out of the wind and with some sun, it is agreeable outside on the bridge deck. The shorts however are stowed away until we are in Italy.
I had good internet connection this morning and was able to check my emails.
It was even possible to get the news although, most of the time, due to the slow connection, I could not read further than the headlines. I almost regretted the decision of checking the news as it is very relaxing to be in a total ignorant spiritual bliss out here. The headlines about politics are not mood enhancing to put it mildly.
After checking out some facts for today’s report, I went down for lunch.
Emilio had prepared a hearty vegetable soup followed by a chicken Milanese with oven roasted potatoes and, again, asparagus, but this time wrapped in bacon and melted cheese instead of ham and cheese. Discard the bacon and the cheese and only keep the asparagus…
The Captain was also having his lunch and said that, although in theory, we should jump another hour forward tomorrow, he would keep the clocks as they are and have them jump forward in increments during the next two days. I wonder how that is going to affect my sleep and appetite.
Talking about appetite, tomorrow evening the crew is going to roast a whole lamb on the spit on the aft deck. I just love lamb and am sure this will be the most memorable meal of the trip. It should also make for good pictures as I have never seen a lamb being roasted on a cargo ship before.
Back to my cabin for a short nap. With these crazy hours, my body needs some rest in the afternoon. Moreover, what else is on the program?
When I wake up from my siesta, I climb the stairs to the bridge with the idea of reading my book there, but the watch officer is so eager to talk that I don’t get a chance to sit down. Over a cup of tea, we changed the world for the better but, being so far from land, we don’t see how we can convey our ideas for improvement to the masses. Oh well, we tried.
While up there on our high perch, we see a sudden commotion on our port side, only a few yards from the ship. Hundreds of flying fish jumping out of the water and literally flying in all directions. The reason was soon evident; a large pod of dolphins was chasing them while swimming alongside the ship at 16.5 knots of speed. Total panic and pandemonium among the flying fish. It was quite a spectacle. I had seen flying fish before on a sailboat passage from Bermuda to
St. Thomas, many years ago. They would land on the deck during the night and not be able to get back in the water. Makes for good breakfast food.
A little bit later the Chief Mate arrived to take over the watch and I stayed on the bridge with him. He has been all over the world as a seaman and loves to share his stories. We exchanged impressions of the countries we have visited and talked about the difference between life in Croatia and in the USA.
At 17:30 we headed for the mess where early dinner is being served. Emilio asks me if I want an egg, sunny side up, with my steak. Reminds me of the “Bistek a lo Pobre” from Admiral Mila but of course not as good. Right when my plate is placed in front of me, the Chief Mate tells me that, actually, the menu of the day is beef tripe. I love tripe when it is well prepared, and this here was definitely the case. A few drops of Tabasco sauce and it was just perfect. Emilio promised to keep some for me for tomorrow.
Back to my cabin to read a bit, try to connect to the emails, send my Spot position and ready for another night.
Cloudy sky tonight and no glorious sunset like last night.
Three more days and we should see Land’s End in the UK.
SEPTEMBER 7: IT HAS BEEN A FITFUL SLEEP NIGHT AGAIN WITH THE SHIP CONSTANTLY ROLLING
We are still a good 1000NM from Land’s End according to the GPS on my iPhone.
It has been a fitful sleep night again with the ship constantly rolling. I was being pushed from one side of the double berth to the other and it woke me up several times. Around 04:00, I played card games on my mobile until finally fell asleep again. The alarm went of at 07:45 and, as breakfast is served between 07:30 and 08:30, I took a quick shower got dressed and went to the officer’s mess where Emilio was waiting with a steaming plate of tripe. The leftovers of yesterday, breakfast of champions…
The forecast calls for grey skies and drizzle. No drizzle yet but I am sure it will start right when we put that lamb on the spit. Murphy’s Law of the high ocean.
It is very warm again in the cabin and, for the first time in three days, I switch on the A/C.
I decide to pass on lunch and only had some fruit. The email was working slow as usual but, at least, I was able to communicate with the Admiral. We are looking forward to getting together in Scarlino next Thursday for our next sailing adventure.
After checking the emails and answering those that needed attention it was time for the now daily siesta. One hour was enough to get my energy back and I went back to my new Grisham novel, The Runaway Jury.
Around 16:30 time to go up to the bridge and have a chat with the Captain who was reading the news from his home country. He only is interested in sports and cannot stand politics. That is why he is happy to be on a ship. I can sympathize.
The smell of the lamb on the spit wafts all the way up to the bridge. We go outside and look down on the aft deck where the rest of the Croatian team is having beers and check on the progress of the grilling. Time to go down and join them.
They already had a few Grolsch beers and were in a very talkative mood, while one of the Filipino crew members was turning the spit. The Chief Electrician was the grill master. He is originally from the Rijeka area and is the specialist in preparing and grilling lamb and he takes his responsibilities very seriously. The result is phenomenal. I love lamb, but this is by far some of the tastiest lamb I have ever had. I had some of what I call Andrew Zimmern moments. For those who know the TV series “Bizarre Foods” you know what I mean. I just start rolling my eyes upwards with an ecstatic look on my face indicating that I am having a so-called “gastrorgasm” (I need to have that term published in the next version of the Merriam Webster dictionary).
We had a fantastic meal, a few bottles of beer and great conversation. I could not help but see the irony of having had my eye problem in Croatia in June that forced me to go on a cargo ship that was crewed by Croatians in order to eat a lamb grilled Croatian style. How crazy is that?
I will have to do laundry tomorrow morning; my clothes smell of smoke and barbecued meat.
At the end of the meal, the rain started and, and after sending my Spot transmission, I decided to retreat to my cabin to prepare my daily report.
While writing this, the clock was advanced half an hour. We are catching up.
Tomorrow will be interesting. We will have a real emergency and evacuation preparation drill. I will have to run downstairs to the muster station with my life jacket and helmet on and stand at my position nr. 22.