Into the deep

Speedy dolphins

The wind is screeching through the rigging, like all the ghosts of the ocean are screaming at us.  The noise is frightening. I poke my head outside. The sun is just about up, the kids asleep in bed. The noise matches what I see. Waves, massive waves come thundering down on to our deck, crashing and washing into the cockpit. White caps and streaks of spume from the wind litter the ocean. The boat is rocketing along at 8.4 knots. Its vibrating and shuddering. She feels like she could crumble under the huge pressure. I am so scared. Our first day out 60 nautical miles from land and we are getting slaughtered by 40 knots on the nose, absolutely slammed. I can see the worry in SM’s face. My heart is racing, I am shaking, I honestly fear for my life as another huge wall of water drops all its fury on our deck. We have all the sails furled in, just enough out to keep us moving and we are still flying along. The noise indescribable, like nothing I have ever heard, petrifying, life threatening.

Beany wakes up all excited, she yahoos for 20 minutes because going fast is fun! Then she succumbs to seasickness, AK then waddles out and lies on the floor, also seasick. She starts to spew so I lie on the floor with her trying to catch the vomit in a bucket. Next thing I am down and out and together AK and I share the bucket, both snuggled around it. Beany falls asleep then heads to the bathroom each time she wakes. AK goes back to bed and I continue to lay on the floor completely incapacitated, I can’t even roll over. For three hours I lay on the hard floor hugging my bucket. AK emerges from her bed to spew every so often. We can’t carry on this way, but I am so sick I don’t care. I am no longer scared or petrified because by now I am feeling so rotten that getting engulfed by a huge wave has some appeal.

SM has been awake for over 30 hours, he can’t stay awake sailing the boat for much longer. We discuss our options, we can run with it and surf the waves and reduce the apparent wind, we can heave to, or sail under storm jib. We choose to heave to. Instantly the motion is better. The screaming and screeching, the violent shuddering are all gone. SM lies down and falls asleep getting up to check on the course, the sails and for traffic every 20 minutes. Beany, the trooper starts to feel well enough to play. She plays then spews then plays then spews and so on and so on. She then feels well enough for something to eat.

“I am just going to eat in the bathroom in case I spew, mumma” she says, sure enough her lunch is fed to the fish via the toilet.

She never whinged not once. Finally I haul myself off the floor to start my first three hour watch. That was 1pm. At 4pm SM was back on and the wind died down enough that we started to sail again. What a truly horrifying experience. The kids, all I can say about the kids is that I am so proud of them, sick as dogs they never whined or moaned and just soldiered on. SM handled the situation beautifully, he slowed the boat down, got us into a safe comfortable position and used encouraging words to make us all feel better.

In those few moments before I succumbed to sea sickness I truly thought our fate was sealed. We never would make it over the horizon, we would sink into a dark watery grave some 5000 meters below the surface. We had never been in the deep ocean before, all this was new to us. The ocean welcomed us in the worst way she knew. 60 nautical miles from land, the ocean tested us to see if we were worthy of seeing her in all her glory, to see if we were worthy of seeing what was over the horizon.