They say that in life it is the little things that really matter and I thought you might like to hear of some of those “little things” I have experienced since arriving in Australia.
In no particular order……
As I sit here writing this in the saloon (aka a white painted bench before I ruin my previous images of spartan life) it appears to be raining in here! Then I realise it is condensation dripping off the ceiling.
Crew talk about our sailing foulies not being waterproof as quite often when you take them off your under clothes are wet. In the main they work fine as the wetness comes from sweating – plenty of hard work here!
Sea water is used for a myriad of things we would never consider at home. All our washing up (and there is loads of it) is done with it and it is surprisingly effective. You suddenly realise how pampered we are at home. Perhaps we are over engineering our lives.
When I last visited the dentist he advised me not to rinse out my mouth after cleaning my teeth – just leave the toothpaste to continue its work. I’m doing that now as there is only one fresh water tap and that is in the galley and used ONLY for drinking. Rinsing out the toothbrush in sea water is fine after the first time.
Moving around the boat is no mean feat in itself. You have to very carefully plan every step and NEVER do anything in a hurry. You spot the next hand grab or anti-slip strip at every stage and when you have done that step you plan the next one. After a time you work out routes but the real danger is that you become complacent or over confident as that is when broken ribs happen – and there are loads of them around the fleet!
We also become much more efficient in our daily activities. We waste so much energy at home. Here, if you forget to take, say a clean pair of underwear (bliss!) to the loo with you, the thought of going back those 25 feet to get them is one you try to avoid at all costs. Again the thought of having to go to the loo once snuggled up in your sleeping bag really horrendous – you know you have to do it but you berate yourself for not going before the Olympic feat of getting into bed in the first place. Plan, plan, plan.
I have many small cuts on my hands and out here they seem to take forever to heal and it is then interesting using the antiseptic hand wash we use 10 times a day!
Getting completely soaked happens on every watch. As I write, the on-watch are having a reasonably (by southern ocean standards) time but as we round the bottom of Tasmania, it is raining heavily. If it is not the sea or the sweat soaking you then the heavens will!
As you change the boat’s direction (tack or gybe) you have to change the angle of your bed otherwise you will fall out! Usually, but not always some kind soul prewarns you by shouting down the companionway, so you have a chance to perform the corrective ‘tug’ on the pulley in time. Make sure you secure the cord otherwise it will collapse on you with interesting consequences- more bruises.
Did you know it is acceptable to throw overboard tin cans? It seems they very quickly rust away in the ocean depths. But no wet wipes.
No brushing hair, shaving or cutting nails brow deck – the ensuing mess is very difficult to get rid of however careful you think you are being.
At night, down below, we operate with dim red lights so as not to ruin the helmsman’s night vision. Trying to do simple tasks in that environment is quite interesting as many written things are unreadable.
I could go on but I am sure I am waffling on too much but I hope I have given you a flavour of those ‘little things