Someone has written in to ask whether I get lonely at sea. Strange though it may seem – no, I don’t. Not in the slightest.
I’d like to think I’m as sociable as the next person in normal life. I certainly enjoy being around people, and always seem to find myself among the last few diehards left at parties, having somehow forgotten my earlier resolutions to “just drop in and get an early night”.
But when I’m on the ocean life is very different. Socializing simply isn’t an option, so I don’t even think about it.
Maybe one reason for my self-reliance is that when I was growing up my parents moved around a lot. They were both preachers in the Methodist church, and tended to move every five years or so. My younger sister and I were always the new kids at school, so I always felt a bit “different” – my accent would be different from the other children’s, and my parents didn’t have a “normal” job.
My response to this situation was to be fairly quiet and introverted throughout my schooldays. It wasn’t until I went to university that I started to come out of my shell and enjoy social situations.
So I can be either – extrovert or introvert, sociable or unsociable, gregarious or solitary. It’s useful to choose which to be, as the occasion demands. For now, I am very happy to be on my own. But you can be sure that (if all goes according to plan) when I arrive in Hawaii, I will be up for a VERY big party!
Panic today. I opened up the hatch to the watermaker (see photo above) so I could replenish my stocks of drinking water – and found that the hatch was full of water. The watermaker was almost completely submerged. It is a complicated piece of electrical equipment, and does not take kindly to being swamped. I bailed it out as fast I could, and it seemed to run just fine today – but if water has got into the pump, it could be just a matter of time before rust sets in and it grinds to a halt.
If that happens, I do have a backup manual watermaker, but it takes an awful lot of pumping to make enough water for a day. For now I am keeping everything crossed and hoping that the watermaker survives. Having got this far, I am very reluctant to return to dry land to make pre-emptive repairs.
The wind seems to be in favour of the return-to-land option, though. I was able to row for about 7 hours today before the wind picked up again, and I am now sitting out another gale. The sea anchor is out and I am hunkered down in the cabin while steep grey waves crash and seethe around my little boat. And all the time, the wind is driving me back towards the coast. I just hope I have made enough progress west to avoid being pushed all the way back to California.
And one final thing: to clarify my comment yesterday about the external video camera not working. This is not a major issue, as I do still have the internal video camera, as well as a small handheld camcorder – so I am capturing lots of footage for our environmental documentary based around my Pacific row. I have at least two of almost every item on board – just in case – and cameras are no exception.