The first few days were quite a trial, getting using to an aquatic life in less than ideal sea conditions. While I will spare you the gritty details, I broke through the worst of it on the second night.
Waking at 2am for watch, I barely struggled into my ‘foulies’ (wet weather gear). I stumbled on deck, the cool air instant relief, and the milky way spilled across the sky. In these wee hours, First Mate Dale teaches me, complete sailing novice, to steer for the first time, using compass and stars to keep the 72 foot boat on course. Tethered to the boat by the 5 foot length of red webbing attached to my life vest- harness, I am jostled by swells I cannot judge in the dark, which send occasional heavy splashes of sea water direct to my face. Flying at 10 knots, with shooting stars above and bioluminescence below, I finally feel I am doing something as part of the crew. The rest of my watch team nods off as I hold the wheel through dawn.