Bright moments in the last couple of rainy days

April 29, 2024

Author: Willa, B Watch, University of San Diego

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Elaina and I foulied up, enjoying the rain (Photo: Charlie)

Ship's Log

Tuesday, 23 April, 2024

Noon Position (Lat and Long): 30º 12.6’S x 146º 51.1’W

Ship Heading (degrees): 005º

Ship Speed (knots): 5.6 knots

Taffrail Log (nm): 2911

Weather / Wind / Sail Plan (from 1300 Watch Change): Sailing under the 4
lowers with a deep reef in the main on a port close haul tack. Wind NxW
force 4, seas are 7 ft.

Description of location: Gyre Core!

Today we had our second watch officer and marine tech rotation with only 10
more days until we arrive in Tahiti. A passage that was read aloud by both
Rocky (1st Mate) and Sarah (Head Scientist) has been floating in my mind as
we near the end of our voyage. I won’t copy the whole passage but a quick
excerpt from page 269 of Tuning the Rig by Harvey Oxenhorn:

“We had a good laugh as I recalled my romantic expectations
before coming on and my indignation and frustration once I was aboard...
What sticks in my mind most of all, I said, was the longing for something–
anything– to just stay put. For the deck to stop moving, for the food to sit
still in the plate and the plate to sit still on the table, for the compass
to stop swinging every time I took the wheel.”

While the whole passage holds a good message, this part definitely stuck in
my mind the most. As previous blog posts have mentioned- the weather has
been less than ideal these past couple of days. Our foulies have been put to
good use as consistent squalls pop up on our radar, the deck has been
restricted due to large swells, my laundry has been repeatedly rinsed and I
pray I have not lost a sock, and sleep is found in fleeting moments between
rolls. Dishes have broken, people have more bruises than they can count
(Elaina in particular), and everything is perpetually damp. As Taylor said
so eloquently earlier today in reference to the gimbled table, “Man I wish I
could just put my full body weight on this table right now.” Mo’orea is the
light at the end of the tunnel in a way for us but also as I look around and
go about my day, I am loving every second on this little boat that is
bobbing in the big blue.

Particular moments from the last couple of days include:

- Hauling on the mainsail halyard with 21 of my closest friends (and then
some) as Amy leads us in a sea shanty. All of us foulied up, and Charlie
asking me how many people are going to slip as we haul and then proceeding
to say “1, 2, 3, 4, 5” as the back of the line ends up in the scuppers (none
are injured beyond bruises).

- Being at the helm as the boat takes on a huge roll where you need to brace
as you watch the water almost reach the quarterdeck railing on the low side
and then on the high side as we go over the crest of the wave.

- Also being at the helm and Amanda is lookout also on the quarterdeck
(since the deck is restricted) and only has to turn around to report to
Rocky a cloud becoming darker on our starboard side, no unclipping
necessary.

- Trying our hardest to ID copepods at a 60º heel angle, stools sliding
(sorry Matt) and everything is on non-skid mats and then getting pulled out
to strike the jib which was probably the scariest moment on the ship so far
(but also so exhilarating). There are 4 or 5 of us on the downhaul with me
at the front and we are “AH! HEAVE!”-ing as hard as we could but the jib is
flogging, and the sheet is also thrashing around in the wind. Having to
literally hit the deck while holding onto the downhaul in order to not get
hit. Hands and forearms burning as the sail fights against us. And watching
as staff climb onto the head-rig to wrangle the jib. Rocky later told us
that we had gale force winds come and visit us. Until dawn watch the next
day, we were hove to in order to reduce the rolling of the boat. Scary in
the moment but probably one of my favorites on the trip so far.

- The full moon this morning on dawn watch! Who knew a moon could be so
bright that it hurts to look at as it peeks out from behind the clouds.
Also, the fog on the water as the sun rose was gorgeous (and damp).

Even though I am excited to get to Tahiti, I am going to miss the life that
we built on this boat and all the quirks that come with it.

Notes to home:

Nick and Murph say hi to their parents!

Davi says happy birthday to her mom and dad!!!

Captain Allison says happy early birthday, Mom!

Peace and love to all my friends and family, especially the Trautweins in
the coming days. I can confidently say that Rubble to Rubble and Hold My
Girl are 2 of a small collection of songs that I can sing start to finish
while on lookout.

Willa, B Watch, University of San Diego

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