Hello. Yesterday The Mother promised me that today there would be wind and that we’d be sailing again. Fat chance. By the time I was on my morning watch we were still motoring and by the state of the sea and sky that didn’t look like it was going to change any time soon. How prophetic that thought was. By four in the evening we’d got the genoa up and were paddling along at two point five knots. This was disappointing. By six we’d put the engine back on and were motor sailing at a steady five point seven knots over the ground.
During our brief sailing period I was awoken by an odd sensation. It didn’t feel like the boat was moving. We were moving of course, just very slowly. The thing is though that you get so used to certain sensations and sounds the you don’t notice them. Then when they go away you’re suddenly deep disturbed. For me I woke up as soon as the smooth slides and sudden decelerations of moving through the water ceased and when the sound of the waves breaking on the bow fell silent. I’ve discovered that I’ve found such noises and movements very comforting due to their perceived permanence. I expect that I’ll be similarly disturbed when twenty four hour daylight goes. I don’t think I’ve been somewhere dark for nearly a month. Even Lerwick only got dim during the night.
The expectation is that we’ll be crossing the Atlantic in near twenty four hour darkness. I’m looking forward to that. I’ve experienced it before in Lapland and really enjoyed the sensation. I like the dark and have done so for a number of years, of course there was the brief interlude of the week after I saw World War Z, at which point I took to sleeping with the light on for a couple of nights. It will of course be harder in twenty four hour night. A lack of vitamin D for one. We have a store of tablets but the effect is supposed to be quite marked. Because of this sunbeams are sometime prescribed medically in Norway to keep vitamin levels up.
I just finished my late watch and at the end I had a rather unpleasant experience. For the BBC David has to do three audio pieces a week and as The Mother and I are joint stand in technical officers I’m the one that records them. The one I did today was based at the front of the boat so at the end of my shift I went up to the bow and stood very still in the wind for three minutes and recorded the background noise of the bow. That was cold, really cold. I was wearing no hat because I had to have headphones on and my hood was down. I was wearing no gloves because I had to press buttons and was hanging onto the forestay. When you’re doing that, three minutes is a long time.
We’ve been able to see Novaya Zemlya since this morning. Not for any reasons of proximity mind. This morning it was grey and misty, in the distance we could just about see a low headland. As the day wore on the mist receded and we began to see mountains covered with snow and glaciers. I don’t know exactly how large they are but they look massive from thirty miles away. I’ll leave the rest to your imagination.
With a bit of luck it should be another forty eight hours until we reach the waypoint at the end of Novaya Zemlya. At that point we’ll turn east and then to Siberia. Yaaay. I’ll write soon, bye.