Every day I fill out a quick questionnaire to record my psychological state, and email it to my mother for her to pass on to Dr Neil Weston at the University of Portsmouth. He has been studying various adventurers spending significant amounts of time alone at sea, to evaluate how the solitude affects them and the survival strategies that they develop to cope with it, and is now doing a case study about me.
There is a special question at the end of my questionnaire, that I specifically requested should be put there. “On a scale of 1 to 10, how accepting are you of the conditions?”
I wanted this there to remind me that things will not always be as I want them to be, but in most cases (and certainly where weather is concerned) there is no point expending valuable mental and emotional energy in wishing that things were other than as they are. I learned this on the Atlantic by doing it the wrong way – I got myself into a fine old state of indignation and frustration by constantly thinking that things OUGHT to be different. “This isn’t what I expected!”
Today the weather has once again been too rough, and the waves coming at me from the wrong direction, making it impossible to row. And it is likely to stay that way for at least the next five days. This is obviously far from ideal. If I was not being accepting of the conditions, I could be running around on this track in my mind:
– I came here to row, not sit around in the cabin – I’ll be losing all my fitness – I am getting swept east, losing the valuable miles I’d made to the west – This is boring
But, given that I can’t do anything about it, it’s really best to accept it and try to make the best of a bad situation. So I’m reminding myself of these unexpected benefits:
– this is giving my (now very swollen) finger a chance to recover – and that strained pec muscle from last week – at least I’m making some headway south, which is useful – hmm, I’m providing a useful illustration of the track that a piece of garbage might take on its way to the North Pacific Garbage Patch… – wow, it’s been years since I had this much time to lie around and just think.
So that’s how I am, and that’s how the weather is, and that’s just how life has got to be for the next few days. Ho hum.
The watermaker continues on its slow path to recovery. I ran it again today, and it seemed to be doing ok. I shall persevere with the WD40/Bag Balm therapy and hope that the patient continues to improve.
I did venture out on deck to cook myself a hot dinner. But in the 20 minutes it took me to get out the Seacook stove and heat the water and boil-in-the-bag meal and then put the stove away again, I got 5 complete drenchings as huge waves swept across the deck. It is now 4 hours later and I am still trying to get my feet properly warmed through. They still have that damp, chilly feeling. So it is debatable that the warming effects of the hot food were more than cancelled out by the cold soakings. I may have to rethink my strategy.
I recorded another podcast with Leo Laporte this morning. If you haven’t done so already, do check them out. You can find them under the “Media” option in the menu bar above – but hopefully soon they will have their own feature box on the right of this Blog page. You can also listen to them live at twit.tv, or on iTunes. Sorry to be a bit vague on details, but I don’t have internet access from here – only email.
You may have noticed that there is sometimes a long interval (up to 16 hours in some cases) between updates to my position. Please do not be alarmed. This does not necessarily mean anything drastic has happened. In these rough conditions, with the boat tipping around in all directions, the Marinetrack unit is not always able to locate the satellites overhead for long enough to transmit its hourly position report. This can result in a number of updates being missed. Marinetrack have been very good at monitoring this situation – they email me if they are getting concerned so I can check the power supply to the tracking unit.
So no need to worry – just be patient. It’s not like I’m moving so fast that you might miss something!
[photo: pic from my cabin: the control panel of instruments, including chartplotter (not currently working), VHF radio, Sea-Me radar enhancer, stereo and switch panel]