Friday, 20 May 2016

The perfect egg

The day before we left, our friends Rae and Frida Audette made a special trip out to the country for us (we don't have a car) and they came back with four dozen of the most perfectly beautiful brown freshly-laid eggs we have ever seen. We stowed them safely - double-wrapped in plastic - in the bilges which (because of greater contiguity to the sea water) is reckoned to be the coolest place on a a boat apart from the refrigerator (which was already full). For the passages we made on Traversay II (which had no refrigeration) we managed to keep our eggs in fairly good condition stored in the bilges.
Rae & Frida w M.A. & Larry in London

However, yesterday the sea temperature was up to 26 degrees C. So we decided to move these eggs.

We were instantly confronted with the central problem of our existence. Eggs are fragile and delicate ... they have inspired art forms because of their perfect shape and symbolic meaning as cradles of life (note Brancuzi and Piaget) but unless handled carefully they can end up on the wrong side of a Nursery Rhyme. And a boat at sea is a symphony of motion.

We are now 920 miles from Cape Kumakahi on the Big Island of Hawaii . Unimpaired by other land masses for such a long distance, the waves gain speed and altitude as they sweep down on our little boat. These waves target the stern of Traversay ... with our mainsail open to its fullest out forward and on the starboard (right) side, there is an amazing sound build-up as they come in like trained battalions to the target. They arrange themselves to swoop straight towards us. Many of them are 12 feet in height above the cockpit platform. They seem ready to engulf us ... and at the last moment Traversay delicately bows to them, brings her stern up and the sea slides away to gather itself for the next wave.

In the daylight, it is quite awe-inspiring to see the platoons of waves mustering to come in - in formation. Sometimes, you'll catch sight of a swarm of flying fish - all taking off in a panic as our gentle Traversay approaches.

The listed height of the waves by the weather service is 9 feet - but Larry says some of them quite a bit above eye level for him as he stands in the cockpit (which is 5 feet above sea level - so they are at least 11 feet in height. That means that when we stand there, we are going down 5 1/2 ft and then being swept up again 5 1/2 feet on every oscillation. This is why moving the eggs into the 'fridge was such a 'production'.

Jackie Cowan in her Search & Rescue garb
It is also why I'm fairly certain the the exercises I'm doing (now at night because it's too warm during the day) are much more strenuous then when Jackie assigned them to me while we were tied to the dock in Victoria. Standing on one foot and doing deltoid exercises with weights is quite tricky. I do them on the starboard (low right) side of the boat - I cheat and brace myself against the cockpit seat. Many have now gained an isometric component.

I've finished the exercises for tonight. Now I can enjoy the nearly full moon and Venus which is starting to distance herself from the Moon. The other stars are brightening as the make their appearance and meanwhile the columns of waves are making an even more spectacular show by each adding a white fluorescent crest.

At 5/20/2016 06:16 (utc) our position was 14°18.23'N 140°29.04'W

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