18/06/2010 - Healthy living and a note from Neptune

I Didn’t sleep as well last night and so wakeup this morning was a little less welcome.  As with the previous day the first few hours of our watch were pretty quiet, but then we started sailhandling… Nadja explained that this really is the sail handling watch as if we are going to set or furl sail we are liable to do it before it gets dark – so it will be our watch to do it, and as soon as it gets light sails are often set again so that’s us as well… looking forward to learning more about sail handling.

Dr. Gary was checking out another crewmember’s blood pressure and while he had the monitor out I asked if I could check mine too, especially since the doctor in Spain had told me to keep an eye on it, amazingly my heart rate was 116 over 67 with a bpm of 53,.. this was quite a change from my previous average of 140 over 87!  Just shows you what a couple of months of sea air and (relatively) healthy living can do for you!!! I was pretty surprised!

I heard a shout of “acrobatic dolphins off the starboard beam” and ran on deck to see some very dark dolphins with a very narrow caudal peduncle jumping just a few boat lengths from the ship, they were really going for it and looked like they were having a lot of fun!

We also received a letter from Neptune today printed and posted on the scuttle door (apparently King Neptune has email!). It shows his disdain for “Pollywogs” i.e. people who haven’t yet crossed the equator, and his respect for “shellbacks”.  We are presently at 4º North, as each degree is 60 miles, we therefore have approximately 240 miles before we cross the equator, at 140 miles a day we should arrive somewhere around Sunday.  Now the details are purposefully hazy, but as I understand it, Neptune comes aboard and judges each pollywog who then has to undergo an initiation,.. in the past this has been anything from being covered in slops, to having their heads shaved, to going aloft naked….  Who knows what they will come up with this time,… all the girls are terrified of having their hair cut off and there are some who really won’t enter into the spirit of it… I am expecting at the very least to have my head shaved, quite looking forward to seeing what my scar looks like after all these years! (I had a pretty serious SCUBA accident when I was younger and took a chunk out of my skull leaving a pretty impressive scar under the hairline) And if I have to get covered in slops, well I’ll just shower afterwards and if I have to go up naked,… well, I’ve got nothing to hide or be ashamed of!!  I’ll let you know what happens on Sunday, or probably Monday as it is also rumoured that everyone gets shitfaced too!  Quite looking forward to it… hope it doesn’t rain!

The weather slowly worsened as the afternoon wore on and manropes were put out in case it got any worse, at a guess I think the winds reached 25mph with a swell of about 12ft, so not much in the big scheme of things!  I was on lookout and the bow was being inundated as she buried herself in the big swells, apparently one of the pro-crew had her porthole open and got soaked!  Fred and I were ordered out to the headrig to lash down the outer jib,.. we got some fantastic footage, albeit a bit dark, but it was great fun watching the ship plunge in and out of the waves from way out in front of her!

Big swell, man ropes up and me n Fred out on the bowsprit… got a good video!


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