Day 5: Make Hay (Or Water) while the Sun Shines

Little boat, big ocean

5 Dec, 05 – 21:17
Latitude: 27° 14′ N
Longitude: 19° 52′ W
Miles from La Gomera: 159
Miles to Antigua: 2397
Miles since last dispatch: 21

It has been a sticky day, like rowing through treacle. It’s been calm and almost windless so instead of only seeing as far as the next wave I can see as far as the horizon – which makes the ocean seem like a very big place.

Make water while the sun shines…

..and shines directly onto my solar panels – which unfortunately seems to be only for a couple of hours in the morning. Note to self to have panels on both cabins next time around.Electricity continues to be an issue on board the good ship Sedna. The watermaker is hugely power-hungry compared with anything else, and runs my two 52Ah batteries flat in no time. I can manage to make enough water, but have to be very frugal with my electricity.

Fortunately I’ve discovered the joys of silence, so am saving myself some iPod power. There are times of day when it’s good to have music to row to, but much of the time I’m happy with peace and quiet, preferring to use the electricity for my Simrad navigation instruments, which tell me which way I’m going and how fast (or slow). I find this more motivating even than music.

Heavens above

Charles Bairsto said, ‘Make the stars your friends’ – and then looked faintly surprised and embarrassed at his own words. The young squaddie of Atlantic Warrior was talking in the marina in San Sebastian just before the start of the race.

To save electricity I’ve been steering by the stars at night, and I keep thinking of Charlie’s phrase and smiling. Before you get all impressed by notions of me standing on deck with sextant in hand, let me admit it’s been nothing that sophisticated. I check my bearings, see which stars line up with the comms masts on Sedna’s ‘roll bar’ and then make sure I keep them in line, adjusting every hour to account for the movement of the stars. Gives me a great sense of elemental satisfaction.

Comfortably numb

My right shoulder waa giving me some serious gyp this afternoon. Normally I wouldn’t even take an aspirin, but this isn’t normality. I took a Co-Proxamol but it had no effect, so I stepped up to a Tramadol… Then remembered too late we’d been warned they can absolutely knock you flat. Have been feeling rather spaced out and sleepy ever since, trying to use chocolate as an antidote.

I wouldn’t mind the side-effects so much if there were any effects from the drug… But my shoulder is still as exquisitely and excrutiatingly painful as before. But this too will pass.

Wind: almost none
Weather: sunshine
Sea state: flat
Hours rowing: 14
Hours sleeping: 6
Song for the day: Heroes by David Bowie

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