It is 3.30 am on the morning of Day 14 and I have just woken up from sea-weird dreams, strangely awake for this still dark hour. Outside is thick white with fog and wet and cool as ever. My cabin isn’t too different – just a little warmer and probably about as damp. Happy Socks is currently being pulled in current in various directions. Nova Scotia lies just 60 nm to the North and it’s coast reaches out on a NE run beyond. If I allow us to follow that coastline as the wind would currently have us do, then I would be sure to end up on the notorious and treacherous Grand Banks, famed for shallow, rough, fogged-in seas. So, for now the goal is to limit northing.
Yesterday that meant just an hour of useful Eastward rowing before the SW wind got up too strong for me to make progress across it and I set the sea anchor from the stern. For the uninitiated, this is essentially a parachute on the end of a long line – the drag stabilizes the boat into the waves and reduces wind drift.
Yesterday was also my 30th birthday and so the ‘day off’ was easily filled with phone calls home, presents and cards, birthday cake and a G & T. My friends and family did me proud with balloons and banners and a birthday badge – my cabin is very colourful and balloony right now, though the cards only stayed out a short while as the cold damp air turned them flaccid fairly quickly.
The Canadian Aerial Surveillance plane Patrol 104 roared low overhead in the morning sun as I layered up to row and we chatted on the radio as they looped past a few times. I was glad to see them after their first fly past the other day. I mentioned my birthday and invited them for cake. Ten minutes later they returned with their pals in another plane (this one a festive bright red) and the two did a few fly pasts together. It was very exciting and I was touched by the gesture. It feels ood to know I am being watched over.
The only thing lacking from this journey so far has been a proper deck wash – for me, you understand, as the deck itself is continually sloshed and dumped on by waves. For me to get naked on deck is going to require a lot more sunshine than I have seen out here yet so for now hooray for wet wipes (especially biodegradable cotton by Natracare) and that old chestnut about hair cleaning itself….
Hooray for birthdays too. Thanks everyone who has played a part in my life these last 30 years. I feel lucky to be alive and rockin’ out another year celebration on a wee boat on a big ocean.
Until next time,
Sarah and Happy Socks x
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