Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Day 1 on the expedition yacht

I have come on board a week early as hotels here are very expensive and Cath (the skipper) invited me to stay. I am earning my keep by helping prep the boat in anticipation of our voyage across the Drake Passage to Antarctica.

This is a whole new world for me and one I have been a little worried about! Not only do I face the crossing of one of the roughest crossings in the world in a 60 foot sailing yacht but possibly more scary is the thought of spending 3 weeks (or 4 if you include the week at the port) with 8 other people in very cramped conditions!

Day one and I have been mostly cleaning the boat. I haven’t done any of this domestic stuff for over 10 months now. Actually I've quite enjoyed getting busy and singing as I go!  It’s quite interesting learning to adapt to to the tight corners and low ceilings. Making a bunk up was very amusing!! I think I’ll enjoy sleeping in it though. Certainly whilst in the doc and I have the gentle rocking. The crossing is going to be a whole different ball game.

Another luxury of the doc is that I have a cabin to myself and loads of sleeping space compared to what I will have when we start sailing. Once everyone is on board I will have to move to another bunk and squeeze me and my stuff in where I can along with everyone else. We will all have to get on and we will all take it in turns to cook, keep watch, clean etc etc. I have no idea what the etc etc stands for but I have a feeling I will soon learn.


Cleaning today has been good for me. It has helped me to familiarise myself with where things go
and how things work at a basic level. I am learning to feel at home and it helps that I am ahead of the others.

Today I have bought my sea sick tablets and I would love to have bought some sleeping pills too so at least I can knock myself out if it gets too much!! Apparently you need a prescription for those! Who knew!!!  The videos I have seen of the waves look crazy but I’m trying not to worry and just take one day at a time. This is bread and butter for these guys. They have done it many times and I am going to have to deal with it whether I worry or not!

The paid crew consists of Cath, the skipper and Ollie. Cath is a Kiwi and clearly a very experienced sailer. She has two grown kids so I guess she must be mid 50s but doesn’t look it. She sailed around the world with them when they were young.  Ollie is 29 and has already sailed around the world. He plans to ride a motorbike around the world next and then fly. I am sure he will. They are both nice people. Those are my first impressions anyway. Lets see how we get on after a few days at sea! I'm sure it will be fine. I've not met the rest of the team yet so that will be interesting! Sociable? Me? I can do sociable! This part of the journey is definitely NOT SOLO!

There will be no privacy once we set sail. We eat sleep and live together. Even the loo holds no secrets! We are in this together! Come hell, high water or both!

We are making plans for how we will handle the bike and things are looking promising. I now know that Cath and Ollie see the protection of the bike as an important factor, not just an afterthought. This is very reassuring and we are working together to make sure she is as protected as she can be from the salt water whilst on deck.  Nothing is going to be easy about this but nothing is impossible either. We are working things out as we go! I'm feeling confident!

Because of the situation as it is, Cath was going to have to drop me off on King George Island and I was going to have to fly back to Port William while she continues on her mission for another 20 days. This would have meant Rhonda stays on the boat and I find my way back to Ushuaia before being reunited there mid March. However, we are working on trying to hitch a lift back on a ship. Both me and the bike from King George. If this comes off, we will both get back to Port William just over 3 weeks after setting off. I am praying this comes off as I want Rhonda off the sea and away from the salt as quickly as possible!

Lets see how the next few days go!




12 comments:

  1. Wow!! Looking forward to hearing all about this phase of your trip...

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Steph
    See if you can find or make some anti seasickness wrist bands, it's a tight bracelet with a bump on the inside that activates a pressure point on the inside of the wrist.
    Really simple and workd for a lot of people
    X
    Steve

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi Steph
    See if you can find or make some anti seasickness wrist bands, it's a tight bracelet with a bump on the inside that activates a pressure point on the inside of the wrist.
    Really simple and workd for a lot of people
    X
    Steve

    ReplyDelete
  4. Many thanks for the update Steph' ... Have been on lots of boats in rough seas (though very little sailing), and generally find that staying occupied & focused helps keep any motion-sickness at bay. Good luck with getting a lift for Rhonda. Looking forward to hearing about the voyage into the Antarctic ...

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi Steph, I’m a fellow Colwyn Bay-ite like yourself (albeit don’t live there anymore) but read about your adventure a few months ago. Passed the Ace cafe earlier today in a rather murky and cold London which reminded me to check your blog out! Sounds like you are having a wonderful (and eventful!) journey! Wish you well with the rest of it!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Be sure to take a video of your ride in Antarctica!

    ReplyDelete
  7. From FREEBIRD to SEABIRD to ICEBERGs.
    So happy that this is all coming together.

    ReplyDelete
  8. It's amazing the captain is going to let you bring along makes for quite the scuffle on deck! I had my bike aboard a sailboat in the Caribbean for about 3 months off and on and the sea takes its toll but that was only in easy seas, not the roughest ones in the World where you are going, at least you are in the summer season. Looking forward to seeing the pictures. Good luck with it.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Wow, an adventure in an adventure. Don't over feed the fishes ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  10. I didn't know you could buy a berth to sail to Antarctica on such a boat - I thought the only way there was on big cruise ships. A sailboat with a small crew looks way more awesome!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hi Steph, i write you from Argentina, Patagonia. I live in a small town named Caleta Olivia. It's in the coast of the atlantic Ocean (Route 3), near Comodoro Rivadavia (80 km), Sta Cruz province. Me and my family, my wife and daughter like to meet you and we can give you lodging if you need. I ride bike's like you and i have an CBR250l too. You can mail me to this adress luis_tad@yahoo.com.ar. visit my youtube channel "lobos delaestepa".
    Good look

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hi Steph, i write you from Argentina, Patagonia. I live in a small town named Caleta Olivia. It's in the coast of the atlantic Ocean (Route 3), near Comodoro Rivadavia (80 km), Sta Cruz province. Me and my family, my wife and daughter like to meet you and we can give you lodging if you need. I ride bike's like you and i have an CBR250l too. You can mail me to this adress luis_tad@yahoo.com.ar. visit my youtube channel "lobos delaestepa".
    Good look

    ReplyDelete