12 Dec, 05 – 19:07

Latitude: 26° 06′ N
Longitude: 22° 23′ W
Miles to Antigua: 2202
Miles in last 24 hours: 3

One oar down, three to go

I thought I had emerged unscathed from the big blow of Saturday night, but I was wrong. This morning I realised that one of my oars is broken. Not broken in two – that I would have noticed – but splintered along its length in four distinct cracks, like a plastic drinking straw that has been trodden on.

Not a big problem – I’ve got 2 spares, although obviously by the time I’m down to my last oar I’ll be having problems going in anything other than circles.

So I swapped the broken oar for a spare, which had been serving as a guardrail, and taped up the broken one with my boathook as a splint so that if I fall against the guardrail it won’t give way.

Biding time

The wind is still blowing the wrong way – the wrong way for my purposes, anyway. I tried rowing for a while this afternoon, but the best course I could make was a very slow WNW, which might have got me somewhere but certainly not Antigua. So I did what any self-respecting adventurer would do in the circumstances – stowed my oars, put Sid the sea anchor out to play, and went to wash my hair.

The had been a slight lapse in standards of hair hygiene. My body was acceptably clean, with regular bathing with sponge or wet wipes, but my hair had generally been stuffed under a hat and out of sight was out of mind.

It felt astonishingly good to get rid of all the tangles – feeling like a mermaid as I sat on deck, butt naked, combing out my tresses – and give it shampoo and conditioner using my nice-smelling and very eco-friendly Green People products (cue blatant plug for sponsor).

La difference

I have been receiving a gratifying number of messages via email and text, with words of support, encouragement and advice.

An observation – as a broad generalisation, and with notable exceptions – women tend to offer support and encouragement, while men offer advice. As I recall, this applies on terra firma too. Interesting.

And finally…

A moment of pure tranquillity this evening – standing up on deck, hanging onto the roll bar behind me as we rode the rolling swells, looking towards the setting sun. Not another human being as far as the eye could see – just a couple of birds wheeling low over the waves. The gentle sound of waves lapping against the hull. Bliss.

Wind: 7-10kts, from the wrong direction
Weather: sunny and clouds
Sea state: swell, also from the wrong direction
Hours rowing: 1
Hours sleeping: 6
Thought for the day: A good scare is often worth more to a man [or woman] than good advice.

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