Day 5

Atlantic crossing: birds of prey

Day 4, 3d of November 2011

…Night shift seems fun!
It’s calm outside: wind is insignificant so we keep going with engine. We haven’t changed sails for two days.
Perfect time for enjoying movie session ; ) From a back cabin I brought to the deck a long wire that is connected to a yacht’s battery.  It’s dark so there’re no blinks on a screen of my computer.

I wrap myself in a blanket. It’s not a mean of survival anymore, but of comfort. Nights are amazingly warm here, so I can stay the watch in light summer clothes. We’re getting closer to equator!

I watch Japanese cartoons and started a serial about a dead girl, who helps souls to get to heaven. It’s called “Dead like me”. And it helps me to kill time.

So at night in the middle of the ocean I’m sitting on a deck, wrapped in AirBerlin blanket and watch a movie about dead people. Could sound ridiculous but it’s fun!

… It’s 6:00, and the sun is up. It takes it not more than an hour to climb ¼ of the sky.  It wakes up early, right at the beginning of my morning watch. And goes down with the end of my day watch – 18:30.

This night I unexpectedly felt asleep. Now I have a slight hope that my sleeping habits will adapt to new conditions. Humans, not alike other animals, can get used to any way of living. That makes human kind so widely spread. Rats, cockroaches can do it too.
And we have hope that dies the last : )

…It’s still calm – just 5 knots wind. Perfect for that limited list of activities that are available for me here: sleep, eat, watch movies, write, study, take a shower. You say, perfect being? That one you have always dreamt about?  You kidding me!

Day 5, 4th of November 2011

The moon is so bright that stars are barely seen. A huge dark cloud crawls on it: first it looks like a caterpillar, then – like an old crooked man, and the moon itself turns his only eye. I imagine that the cloud is a fume from a burning battleship, which crew needs help and looking for SOS signs.

The rest of the day made me the most amazing present I could dream about here. Excited?

Unfortunately, I guess, all of you will be disappointed with the further story. But for me it was a miracle.

This morning I was bored: with endless water, studying, movies on a small screen, reading, nuts and chocolate and even sleeping (my organism finally adapted to a new schedule, thanks gods!).

I switched on my dull sense of humour and tried to figure out some fun. Idea to jump from a board with a rope around the waist was rejected by Chris categorically. Boredom continued. I took a sunbath.

Around 3pm we noticed a dark curtain of clouds on the horizon in front of us.
Looks like it’s going to rain…
“All right, some fun” – was my first thought. Tho I left it without being said aloud. Chris as the owner of the yacht and experienced sailor wouldn’t share my excitement.

So I stopped watching my serial and started to look forward thoroughly, awaiting for thunderstorm – big waves, strong wind and rain.

We were entering dark area…

Reefed sail was flopping annoyingly without wind. In Russia we say “Quiet before storm” – I almost rubbed my hands like bad heroes in cartoons          ( – What a stupid girl, welcoming nasty weather! – everyone thinks now. I do not deny))

And here he came… No, not a storm : ) A big bird crossed the sky above me.

She tried to cling on a stay. Circle, attempt, another circle. It was a birg bird, much bigger than all those we saw before. It was definitely a bird of prey.

At that moment I felt myself an acient priest, receiving blessing from Gods. I was a priest, as natural wisedom and power is what I believe in.

The bird was a hawk. What did he do in the ocean? Watching him returning from another circle, I rushed downstairs. He noticed empty cockpit and landed on a railing.

It was light rain outside. In order to escape water, he moved under “doghouse”. He perked on a winch and from there inspected me, frozen downstairs in fear to scare him.
In this silent position 10 minutes passed. Then he slipped from a winch and moved on a railing again. For a while we continued to watch each other.

My uncareful movement made him leave. Another round above the water. I climbed to the deck. He wasn’t afraid and returned to the railing. I pretended I read book. The hawk stayed calm, silently swinging from side to side with a boat. I turned to look forward – he didn’t mind.

Now it’s night, and he’s sleeping on top of the mast. Not the most convenient place but the bird of prey wouldn’t risk his freedom for comfort. Unlike most of people – they sell their freedom for much less…

Even if the hawk is not a sign, as a Greek prophet would tell us, but just a tired traveller who had found some rest on our boat – doesn’t it make all this meaningful?

Day 6, 5th of November 2011

All the night “Vagabond” is followed by thunderstorm. Light bolts are so frequent that interrupt each other.  It’s coming…

When I start to distinguish twists and curves of the lightning, I reef genoa. And wait.

It doesn’t happen. The wind from the south comes and throws clouds backwards. They continue chasing the boat, but she slipped from their sparkling fury, thanks to the southern wind. Keep your paws away of “Vagabond”, thunderstorm!

My happy hawk was sleeping on the top of the mast. I saw his tail swinging above navigation lights. In the morining he left. I wish him safe flight.

Light southern wind that accompanied us at night, at dawn turned into the wind “to the face”. Massive raincloud has arrived from the south-east. Waves rise, sails tremble hysterically.
This wind makes us to go almost 30 degrees to the right. Boat’s fore hits wave that comes with clouds. After 3 days almost without wind that doesn’t make us happy.

– Damn, we’re in downdrums, what a f*k is that?  – I thought (sorry for my French).

I turned off the engine. For half an hour we made 5 knots with wind. I tried to find the most painless course against messy wave.

Go 190.

This day my desire for swimming was fully realised. And who cares that I was already completely out of mood of jumping to salt water?

Chris wakes up and asks if I hear that sound of the engine has changed. Well, I would lie if I say I notice that. But the reason is: we wrapped a seaplant on the propeller.

So we roll genoa, Chris turns the boat against wind and I jump under the hull. It takes me 5 minuted and 2 dives to clean the propeller and check all screws.

Thought of the day: beware your dreams – they can come true.

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