So its 1645 in the afternoon and we are cruising through some of the
smoothest waters we’ve seen so far. We’re 130 nautical miles from St
Pierre, the sky is a duck egg blue traced with delicate high cirrus and
sweeping mares tails of stratus. The sun is shining and sea birds are
following us hopefully, our clearest indication that after 15 days at sea,
land is near. It’s a gentle and placid scene and a marked contrast to our
last few days.
Gert turned out to be the cyclone from central casting. Far from being on
the outskirts of a fairly small and non-demanding system, we found
ourselves a bit too close for comfort to a howling monster that overnight
doubled in intensity.
The first thing that I want to say is that Aquarius did us proud. She
took a battering and came up absolutely trumps. So did our crew. The
captain? Let it just be said that in the teeth of the storm there was no
one more appreciated on board. Seaman, engineer and leader extraordinare;
to him goes the credit to our safe passage. The Genie and Betrave; who
never held back – I’m privileged to know them and to have seen the quality
of their souls –they are pure gold. And as for me? It’s puzzled me that
many friends have called me brave. I now know that definitely I’m not
brave at all. But when things are really serious, you can’t give up and
you can’t turn back and you can’t hold back because not only might you die
but the others around you who are not holding back might also come to
harm. And that’s just not possible. So you do what you have to do, and
then afterwards the world is just a little bit different, like someone
changed the lens.
Also, tinned food can be absolutely excellent.
It will take me some time to write a proper account of those last 72 hours
or so and I’m afraid that will have to hold off till my next post. For
now, we are all whole, unharmed and well in mind and spirit. Having shown
us just a fraction of what she can do, the Atlantic is being kind and
gentle as a lamb.
We will come into St Pierre early tomorrow morning on a
whisper and a smile (and our last few litres of diesel!)