A LONG WAIT AT CUSTOMS..
Tuesday, 18 April 2006 at 12:50
Latest Email from Charlie
Hmmm not really sure what to say, it's pretty unfortunate that the customs guys in Japan don't work 24/7 as this is really going to impact our leg this time around, adding something like 14 hours. [NB: the stopping time to clear customs will be deducted from the overall elapsed time on this leg.] This looks to have knock on effects with the weather - though it's not particularly predictable, the sailing hasn't been to bad though, even trudging upwind in 18kts of wind it's not too wet on deck, and it's not too rough. But its the change in temperature that has had the biggest impact, the southerly winds make a huge difference and we can go on deck in base layer thermals, with just waterproofs on over the top. It makes you feel a lot freeer to move around - compared to the five layers we needed when sailing into Yokohama on the delivery, or up to Dalian. We even got a few flying fish starting to fly around us, which is a sure sign that we are heading in the right direction!
Life on board is relatively unchanged we are working roughly around 3 hours on 3 hours off, although this normally is more like 4on 4off as it gives the other watch time to wake up, and provides a bit of overlap etc. And, we get to see each other the big risk is that you just cross paths in the companion way and never actually have a conversation!
The main meal of the day is more social, last night Erwan cooked tuna pasta (I think it might be the only thing he can cook as we have had it a few times now) and tonight I think that it's going to be pasta again - may be with cheese and some funny sweet sausages that we bought in Shanghai, but that's a few hours away.
Other top items that are good to eat on board are MeltyKiss chocolates (these are about the size of a sugar cube, and give you a massive chocolate burst). Ellen likes all the exotic dried fruits we have found here - cranberrys, sweet potatoes, and some things that look like apricots - but we have managed to convince Erwan that they are poulet pied, chicken feet!
On deck it's just a fairly simple routine of making sure we don't hit anything, and keeping the boat moving as quickly as possible in the right direction - that's not too difficult right now as conditions are stable (as stable as they ever are here) and the ocean is fairly empty. A ship that would raise you heart beat in the channel barely seems to register here now - as you let it do it's thing passing less than a mile away. Nights like our first are few and far between in life, nice conditions, but more ships, fishing boats & fishing floats than you can shake a stick at. It looks like something out of Cowes Week fireworks night, or a 360-degree view of Blackpool illuminations. Once you live through it though it's just another thing you have done, and you just hope you don't have to do it again a bit like eating jellyfish in a local Chinese restaurant!
We are promised that there is a nice place to visit when we arrive in Taipei, a nice hotel with all the modern luxuries, I hope the weather gods can see those facilities too - as we would like to spend as much time there as possible!!! Looks like it might only be one night, unfortunately one of the problems of this rapid tour is that we don't get to stop too long to look around, may be next time....
Looking forward to big baths and comfy duvets of our next stop.... oh... and did someone mention the golden arches?