• JM BUSHA 54 Sailing Team

Day 8: Fish - 1, Ryan - 0

Before we begin this blog post, the team would like to release a disclaimer. The water maker is up and running again and we have plenty water to go round! The only thing that is not fine is the fish that hit Ryan last night... But more on that later.

I can't believe that we are already on day 8. This marks the beginning of our second week of life at sea. We are well into the swing of things of life on board and have our daily routines and habits. Being out here for so long makes the days slowly blur together - particularly since we have no regular sleeping pattern. I've decided, much to the crew's disappointment, to start to adjust our eating times based on the timezone we are currently in. At this point we are 1 hour behind South Africa. Everyone started asking about dinner from around 4:30pm local time (5:30pm South African Time) and displayed large amounts of shock at what the time actually was - even though the sun was still firmly in the sky. You know it was still really early, because I hadn't started trying to take photos of the sunset. At around 5:30pm local time, Jono couldn't wait anymore and decided to start making dinner himself - Rice with Chakalaka and canned beans, currently ranked one of our best meals to date. Jono making dinner instead of Michaela or myself started a chain of events which resulted in an unusual change in our evening routine. Now anyone that knows Hearn, knows he does not deal with change well. He does not like it one bit. We are all convinced that it was a result of the change in routine that he started to get a sharp growing pain where he bruised his ribs earlier this trip. It was definitely not because he had been working long hours helming and grinding the winch like an absolute champion and his back muscles started taking strain. As a result of this, the team put him on bed-rest with some deep heat and a heating pad on the (not) guilty back muscles with the strict instruction of no helming or trimming tonight. Our princess Hearn decided that if he was going to stay inside tonight he was going to do it in comfort. He took a mattress from another bunk and made a stacked thrown. Back to our unusual evening routine. When we came to charging the batteries, the motor was having bit of trouble waking up. Since Hearn was tied down in his bed and we refused to let him do anything, Michaela took it in her stride to trouble shoot the motor. Mics flicked the decompression levers - yet Crystal our motor, she would not go. Mics spoke to Crystal kindly and after removing an airlock in the fuel lines, she had the motor purring.

For the next part to make sense, you first have to know that Tawanda was very upset to have missed out on the excitement of my flying fish 'experience' the night before and was desperate to see a flying fish up close. We have seen thousands of them soaring across the water. From afar, they look like a flock of graceful little baby dragons gliding between waves for meters at a time. We have had plenty debates on whether there are other fish in sea and we only see flying fish, or if there are just so many flying fish that they get out the water to get away from one-another. At around 8:30pm we heard a squeal from Michaela as a fish soared past her face and onto the deck. Tawanda and her yelled in excitement for a camera. However, since Ryan and I were putting deep heat on our dear princess, we couldn't get a camera up in time. I say in time - because after about 30 seconds on deck the whole cockpit begins to reak of fish. Flying fish are particularly stinky and as Jono described it, they smell like a three day old rotting fish instead of an alive one. All forlorn that his flying fish was not captured on camera, Tawanda threw it back into the ocean. Since Hearn was tucked in for the night, we had to revisit our night watch pattern. Instead of doing our normal pairs and rotating - we started a set of running subs. It took a while to get used to but eventually we got into the swing of things. Each person would still be on watch for 2 hours at a time, but with rotating pairs. So we started with Michaela and T, then Ryan swapped out with Michaela after an hour, I swapped out with T after two hours, Jono swapped with Ryan after his two hours - and so we rotated. This change in watch system became very key to what came next, as Mics later pointed out because if we had not changed the system - it would have been her and Tawanda on watch and not T and Ryan. It was just after 9pm local time when we started to feel the wrath of the ocean for all the change we had undergone. We were all trying to get some rest when we heard a high pitch squeak. We were all trying to work out who had made such a squeal - when it came again and there was no doubt - it was Ryan. He had taken a large (20cm) flying fish to the face. After yelling at Jonathan, who was below deck trying to sleep, to please come up and remove the fish for him - considering he is vet and should love all animals. After much laughter from the crew and more screaming from Ryan, Ryan eventually came to the conclusion that noone was coming to his aid. "I NEED PAPER TOWEL!" Ryan started to scream as the fish continued to jump around the cockpit. Ryan took a moment to build up his courage and armed with a layer of paper towel he lunged heroically towards the fish (without a single scream, of course) and successfully caught it with a triumphant yelp. He then flug the fish overboard - or so he thought. The flying fish, living up to its name, flew out his hands and landed onto the deck. Ryan promptly yelled for more paper towel and with his last piece of nerve managed to dive back towards the fish and successfully tackled it back into the sea, and I quote: "Good riddance!"

Now, just to be fair to our beloved Captain I asked him for a few words to explain his bravery to you all: "We were ambushed. A barbed projectile from the depths of the Ocean, flung by Poseidon himself, aimed right at my head. It was about a meter long, razor sharp teeth, barbed wings and bulging souless eyes. It flailed wildly. Its barbed fin narrowly missing my jugular. The crew was alarmed. Ducking and diving in despair. Utterly Helpless. Even our resident vet, who trains in the art of handling animals was running scared. The preceding battle was epic. One that I imagine people will be singing songs of for eons to come. I was victorious. I sent the Beast back to the depths of the ocean from whence it came, and prayed that it would not seek revenge. Was I afraid or brave? Both. Because it is only when you are afraid that one can show true bravery." Now that T has seen what these little demons look like up close, he is just as sick of them as the rest of us. PS. If anyone wants to relive this moment with us - I have it all recorded and if Ryan does not delete it, I will gladly distribute it once we have proper WiFi.

- Emma Clark

© 2019 by JM BUSHA 54 Sailing Team