Gulliver and I are getting ready to take a beating. For the last week or so my weather router Lee has been monitoring the development and progress of Tropical Storm Mawar, which has formed off the Philippines. It is headed our way and due to hit us in a few days. From the evening of the 6th through the 7th Lee predicts we will have winds in excess of 50 knots i.e. 50 nautical miles an hour and more.
After the idyllic cruising of the last few days, in which we have zoomed along in the Kuroshio current without even lifting an oar and I have spent hours on deck chilling in the sunshine and resting, this week is going to be a monster. Yet, the irony is that the word Mawar in Indonesian means ‘rose’.
I have spent today preparing for it – physically and mentally. I have been pulling extra food into the cabin, making extra water and tidying up and tying things down. I flooded the ballast tanks again too, all the while talking to Gulliver and letting him know what’s ahead. Of course, you never quite know what will happen. Best case scenario, though rather unlikely, is that our rosy chum will wheel off elsewhere, avoid us and burn out without so much as a ‘How-do-you-do?’. Worst case scenario is that we get utterly mashed and become fish food, but instead of paying too much attention to that I have been using one of the tricks that Briony, my sports psychotherapist, taught me.
The idea is to acknowledge the full spectrum of scenarios but then pay attention to the most likely scenarios, and not waste energy worrying about the less-likely stuff. The most likely scenario is that I will be very uncomfortable, bored, scared, deafened somewhat by the noise and unable to sleep for the duration of the mad stuff, strapped to my bed being thrown about with every move that Gulliver makes. A capsize or few are also likely, I think, even though we will be on the sea anchor throughout. And I say this because the seas are going to be big, steep and confused as the wind clocks round and changes direction. But we already know that Gulliver is nifty in his self-righting so besides being shaken and no doubt queasy we fully plan to ride this beast out to the calmer stuff on the other side. Project Manager Sara sent me a note saying ‘One hour at a time.’ I corrected her. This will be about taking things one moment at a time. That said, I shall be reminding myself in every other moment that nothing lasts forever, and all storms will pass.
In other news… Gulliver and I held our very own Jubilee Sea Party on Saturday in honour of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. Do check out the 27th phonecast to hear what happened. Whizzing along in the Kuroshio has been wonderful – both for the wildlife which has visited (sunfish, albatross, whales and hundreds of dolphins) and also for the mileage – in the last 24 hours we ran 91 nautical miles.
All salty best from out here,
Sarah and Gulliver x
PS Three whole weeks since we pushed off from Choshi in the sunshine. Happy days.
PPS It is World Oceans’ Day on June 8th – get to the sea if you can and do something salty and blue!