Location: Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz, Galapagos
How do you eat an elephant? I’m not sure that I really like this question. Along with raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, elephants are one of my favorite things. But what this question is trying to shed light on is clear. After all, an elephant is really big, and even the most voracious appetites among us would quickly realize the gargantuan task of consuming ten tonnes of elephant to be something of a struggle. I wonder what happens, though, if you take a step back? For example, how much food do we eat in a year? A quick google reveals that the average American adult consumes somewhere in the region of 907 kgs annually. What’s more, I’m told that an African bush elephant weighs in at somewhere around the 6000kg mark, so if – for the sake of this little experiment – we cast aside carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals, we find that if this average American adult committed to 1kg of particularly unfortunate elephant a day, you could eat it in just over six years and 215 days.
Today was about getting the boat ready to head out across the Pacific. Passage prep is an all-hands, roll-up-your-sleeves type job where we work our way through a list of things we have to make sure to get done before leaving to get underway. In this, Gillian led the charge, making sure that all of the jobs were delegated and boxes got checked off of the list. A large part of the list consists of getting various parts of the boat, what we call 40/40. This means that it is ready for both 40 knots of wind and 40 degrees of heel. Some of the most impressive feats of 40/40ing and generally getting stuff stashed came from the lazarette and anchor locker, both of which are pretty handy spaces to make a lot of useful stuff disappear into during those times when it’s not useful. For example, Steph and Nat moved through the anchor locker like a low entropy whirlwind, finding space to put away all of the dock lines and fenders that we won’t be needing for a few weeks now. Similarly, in the laz, Riley, Frankie, and Lolo managed to Tetris away all of our dive gear, an outboard, and the floor for one of our dinghies (we deflate this one during longer passages). Later Gillian and Louis, ably assisted by Elle, went through all of our various engine room checks, ensuring that each piece of machinery has the oil and coolant it needs, and again generally making sure nothing looks like it’s going anywhere it shouldn’t.
In truth, though, getting ready for a crossing like this is not a day-long process. Bringing and keeping Argo in a place whereby she is ready for a trip like this is ongoing, and it’s something that everyone helps in whenever they notice a drip or an area of chafe on a boat check, or when they wash the salt from the dinghies during a boat appreciation session. Likewise, making sure the crew as a whole is ready to take Argo across the Pacific is something we started all the way back in Antigua when we first went out for some sail training from Falmouth and something that we have continued to develop as we have covered the 2705NM that brought us up to this point.
Looking closely at the chart plotter recently, we discovered that on this next passage, we are going to be covering over a quarter of the circumference of the globe. Right now, we are 09018’W, and Nadi in Fiji is 17721’E. What’s more, if we take into account the distance that we have already covered, then we will have covered over 120 degrees of longitude over the trip – a third of the circumference of the planet. Either way, this is a pretty exciting concept but also a challenge that demands respect. Over the next few weeks, we have a considerable mountain to climb, and much like our elephant, this is quite the thing to achieve. Today showed that lashing SCUBA tanks or taking off sail covers is much more achievable, though. And waking up for watch – though it might feel like an ordeal at the time – is really quite doable, as is taking in on a halyard or checking the main engine fuel pressure. This is how we cross an ocean. Not by running into it head-on at mach two with our hair on fire, but one watch, one meal, one wake up, one gybe at a time.
So how do we get our laughing gear around said elephant?
One bite at a time.
p.s. I’m sorry, the photos are not from passage prep. We have a bunch from diving that haven’t been posted yet, and they’re really cool, so I decided to put a few of them up.
The dive crew during their surface interval (we’d been swimming with dolphins and two Mola mola about 3 minutes before this photo was taken)
Lolo, Renee, Bella, and Thea surfacing from a dive
Izzy, Giselle, and Nat diving a really cool wall at Gordon rocks