It’s day 6 aboard Delos on our passage to St Helena. I’m getting more and more excited by the day. I don’t know whether it’s because the currency is English, the history, or the fact that a bunch of British people live there, but it’d be nice to get a taste of home- even if it is on a random island in the middle of nowhere.
Yesterday was a beautifully peaceful day. The wind has started to die down and sleep is easier to fall into. The sea sickness seems to be gone for good, and Lisa is also a lot better.
I got up for my watch yesterday morning at 6am, taking over from Mr Brady. I was excited to watch the sun rise so eagerly awaited it with my flask of tea in hand.
The time came for it to happen, but I saw nothing but clouds. I frowned, disappointed slightly, but still awed by the beauty around me. The swell of the waves were thick, the waters the deepest blue I have ever seem. The sky stretched out in pale purples, pinks and creams. Foam hit the sides and soon the pitter patter of rain started to fall on Delos.
I didn’t mind.
Everything went smoothly on my watch and I even caught sight of two sailboats to our starboard side. I struggled with keeping the binoculars steady as I attempted to view them more closely and gave up in the end.
Brian soon took over, his eyes blinking blearily from the sunlight and his hair mussed from sleep.
“Good morning!” I cheerfully chirped, glad to see another face. “Did you sleep well?”
He blinked again, seeing the camera I had shoved in his face. He grunted something which resembled a “yes,” and sat in the captain’s seat.
Alex was next up and stretched as the sun beamed down on us. It was nice that the weather was getting warmer. I was tired of wearing a jumper, a hoody, my raincoat, scarf and hat when I did my watches.
Brian and I commenced with our little workout- he did forty push ups and I did thirty sit ups, which is no easy feat when the boat is rolling around and waves are crashing against the sides.
It wasn’t much, but it was all we could be bothered to do, retreating back to our comfy perches in the cockpit, munching on apples and drinking tea.
One of the things I’ve found whilst on passage is the pure feeling of self indulgence. You can do whatever you want. Whether you want to read, write, paint, draw or just braid your hair. You can do anything for however long you want. There’s no one telling you that you’re wasting time, that you should be working or making you feel guilty.
You can do whatever the hell you like.
And that’s the beauty of this. It’s such a pure investment of yourself as a person. There are no distractions of life for you to forget about you. This is the time where you’re kind to yourself.
In the past 6 days, I’ve read 3 books and are currently reading another 4, swapping between The Time Traveller’s Guide to Medieval England, The Golden Age of Pirates of the Caribbean, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck and another fantasy. When I’m not reading. I’m editing the sequel of my recently published book, The Contract of Maddox Black, writing blogs for Delos or daydreaming about other writing projects.
When I’m not writing, the girls are usually braiding each other’s hair- long hair can be tiresome on a boat and it seems to easiest way to keep everything in check. When we’re not indulging in hobbies, we’re cooking, eating, thinking about food, sleeping or dreaming about food.
I enjoyed my first shower aboard Delos today. It was an interesting thing wobbling naked in a small space, being whacked into the walls by the waves whilst having shampoo in your eyes. Even going to the toilet can be a challenge.
Just closing the door whilst the boat is tilting from portside to starboard side is an effort of intense balance- pulling down your trousers is hard and staying on the damn toilet is even harder.
The fear of the boat tilting and being soaked with the contents of the toilet always fills me with dread each time I go, and makes me move with haste. It hasn’t happened yet, but I’m not taking any chance.
Saving water is a must on Delos. Water is off whilst you wash your face or brush your teeth- you can turn it on whilst rinsing.
Whilst I was enjoying my warm shower this morning, Lisa knocked on the other side.
“Just telling you from Brian that we’re still having military showers!” she called.
“Yeah, I know!” I lied, quickly turning off the hose, commencing with my scrubbing whilst the water was off and only using it for rinsing.
Shaving is another thing.
Why shave? I hear you ask. Embrace being out there in the open! Why waste your time with shaving?
And my dear fellow, I would be happy to do so, if I was fair haired like the rest of these girls.
“I haven’t shaved for a week!” Lisa complains, pulling up her legging to expose a seemingly hairless leg.
I raise an eyebrow, unable to help myself. “You are kidding me, right?” I plonk my leg next to hers in defiance. “Mate, I look like a half shaved badger.”
“Oh…” she murmurs, transfixed.
Shaving on Delos is possible- if you use a cup. I hold the empty yoghurt pot that is sectioned for shaving as I wobble in the shower, a razor in the other hand. I swill out the blade from shaving cream and start work on my other leg.
We try and minimise hair going down the drain as much as possible, fear of eventual clogging always in our minds. If we can take measures to avoid it, then we will. We throw out the “shavings” (ok I can imagine your facial expression at this part and I totally agree) overboard to avoid this.
Soon I’m done, clean and fresh as a daisy. I crawl out onto the cockpit and allow the sun and wind to dry my hair as the rest of the crew relax with books in hand.
Yesterday was Lisa’s cooking day- she made us a vegan dish of home-made hummus, nachos, sliced carrots, cucumber and half an apple each. For dinner she did a peanut butter tomato based rice dish which I couldn’t eat.
I despise peanuts.
And this isn’t to be awkward or “special”. The smell of peanuts makes me nauseous, the texture even worse.
I used to love the stuff as a child- had it smothered on toast everyday. Until the fateful afternoon when I was horrendously sick from it and unable to stop vomiting.
Since then, I cannot cope with it being anywhere near me.
You can throw me down a dune. You can make me run around the desert naked. You can get me to have a shower and take the GoPro in with me to illustrate how difficult it is to shower on the boat (thanks Brian). You can get me to chase seals down the dock, dance in the streets with strangers and make you as many cups of tea in a day as you wish.
But do not make me eat peanut butter.
Safe to say, I avoided the peanut butter sauce and stuck with rice and some tomatoes, slathering it all with soy sauce and sticking some cheese in there for good effort.
I don’t know what I did to it, but I think I may have ruined it…
I was soon to be compensated with Mr Brady baking a delicious huge loaf of banana bread later that evening. It popped out of the bread maker, fluffy, fat and ready to eat. We smothered some Nutella on that bad boy, for a chorus of Mmmmmm’s to erupt from our throats.
My night watch was peaceful and uneventful last night. I made two flasks of tea, finding myself a little bit sleepier than usual and made myself do some editing to keep me a bit more alert. I fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow and was surprised when I woke up to find it was time for my morning watch already at 8am.
The morning was beautiful, sunny and warm. It was started off beautifully by Mr Brady cutting me a slice of banana bread, frying it and spreading more Nutella on it for breakfast.
Pure joy erupted in my mouth and I snuggled lower into my pillows, content with my book, flask of tea, breakfast and a steady eye on our course.
We’ve all been saying that we’re going slightly crazy on the boat, erupting into strange voices, laughing at nothing, jumping on each other and dancing for no reason. I definitely feel it, a rising of energy threatening to burst forth from me of which I quickly try and turn into something productive.
So I’ve been painting and drawing a lot whilst on this passage. It’s been a huge enjoyment getting back into it. I studied Fine Art at college and University, switching in my first year of Uni to Creative Writing.
I’ve always wondered what it would be like if I could separate my life into three versions. I would love to have known what would have happened and how my skill would have progressed if I have stuck at painting at University. Or if I had studied Acting like I had so wanted but lacked the courage. Or stuck to those Piano and Violin lessons that my mother couldn’t afford. I also would have loved to become a Specialist on Medieval History in England and maybe take up Archaeology. I’m fascinated with the past and think that’s pretty much my favourite era. But then again… there was the Celts with Boudicca… and I do love the Tudors… and the Victorians were pretty cool- and the Georgians before that- then we have the golden era of pirates in the 1700’s, and the 1920’s with Charlie Chaplin and the 40’s with Vera Lynn were exciting! Gosh darn it, I love history. I used to write time machine stories when I was a child or pretend I had gone back in time when I visited castles with family, running around the parapets and pretending that I had to vanquish some evil wizard and become queen of the castle.
In fact I still do that…
Coming closer and closer to St Helena has been wonderful because I’m so excited to learn more about Napoleon and what it would have been like to live on that island. I’ve downloaded his memoirs and another book about the island’s history, so that will be interesting to read out with the crew. We’re about three days away and I know that despite the challenges this passage has brought, I will miss being at sea for the short while we are on land.
Lisa and I were discussing our possible paths this morning as we lazily reclined back in the cockpit, our sunglasses perched on the ends of our noses as we discussed life, personal quests and dreamed up professions.
I don’t think we came to any conclusions, but it was nice to talk about nonsense for a little bit more.
This has been a wonderful time so far learning more and more about ourselves. What our passions are. What we want from life. What life can give you.
I’ve learned that everything is pretty much there for the taking- it simply lies within ourselves to go out there and have the courage to pursue our own dreams.
Happiness can be found in many forms. I think you don’t have to have a “quest” or a “message” necessarily. I feel like life should be enjoyed and you spend time with those you love- because isn’t that what happiness is in its simplicity?
And if you have those basics down and stop worrying about where you should be or what you should do, then the rest will follow. The universe will guide you towards where you’re supposed to go until you know.
And you will know, believe me.
And as I sit at the table, musing on the workings of life, I can spot Brady’s banana bread in the kitchen. Lisa is in the cockpit with Karin and Brian and Brady and Alex are watching a film.
Well, that banana bread isn’t going to eat itself now is it?