Day 50 – Blame it on the weatherman

Isabel Burnham By

Day 50 – Blame it on the weatherman

We’ve heard that there is a bit of a heatwave in the UK at the moment. As I explained in my day 46 blog, we’ve been learning to live with some serious sunshine out on the Pacific as well of late, until about 72 hours ago. And then the rains came.

On Monday evening, just as the sunset shift was ending, the skies started looking an ominous grey colour and the wind picked up. Laura and I took over for the first night shift and the heavens opened. The whole of Monday night and much of yesterday was spent rowing through a series of mini rain storms. Out on Doris’s exposed deck, we are completely at the will of the elements. Looking out of the cabin on Monday night and yesterday you could see two figures sitting at the oars, trying their best to hide inside their wet weather gear, with the hoods pulled down over their heads to the eyes and the necks pulled up to under their noses. Laura and I wear glasses to row at night and soon could see nothing for all the water droplets on them, so were rowing blind.

The rain didn’t manage to dampen our spirits though, and the night shifts were spent singing as many songs as possible which mention the weather. Take it from me, there are a lot. While the continuous rain can get miserable, the warmer temperatures now mean that we don’t get too cold and a wash with fresh water is lovely, removing all the salt that has collected onto Doris’s deck, our skin, clothing and life jackets. The feeling of freshness is, however, very short lived, as the 12-15kt winds mean that we are still being splashed by waves crashing over the boat.

Today we are celebrating 50 days at sea since Santa Barbara (66 since San Francisco) and the rain has made me realise how lucky we have been so far to avoid much rain, or any storms. Today we are back to bright bright sunshine, another reminder of just how changeable conditions on the Pacific are.

In other news, we have started to receive a lot of visitors, particularly at night, as flying fish have started to land all over Doris. Most are tiny, 2-3cm, but the other night Laura was hit by one that was about 15cm. We have read that they can grow to be as big as 1.5 ft! Each morning as the sun rises we have to go about the process of picking them off the boat. They have a bluish tinge and dragon-like wings. We have seen the larger ones gliding through the air and they go a remarkably long way. Today we are joined by shoals of beautiful mahi-mahi, with their bright light blue bodies and yellow tails.

The last couple of nights two fast moving shearwaters have also been circling very low around the boat, close to the rowers. They make me jump when then fly by unexpected, but it’s great fun to be seeing more wildlife again and to have them so near.


1 Comment

  1. JG says:

    Well – don’t know if you are interested but the Solare Impulse landed in Honolulu at 16oo hrs universal time approx having flown non stop for 118 hrs using only solar energy. I watched the arrival live on the internet and was amazed at how fresh looking the pilot was. He had sat or lain down for 5 days and nights being unable to stand in his cramped cockpit. A rigid schedule of 20 minute rest/sleep sessions Yoga exercises and pretty close monitoring of his reflexes by the teams of really clever people in the control centre. A great achievement with a real Hawaiian welcome at the end. Your turn next. I expect you will be given a similar welcome when you arrive in a couple of weeks. Hope so anyway.

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