Crew member Ros Edwards (below) talks about the changing sea and celebrating her birthday in the middle of the ocean…
I am sitting in the hatch between the cockpit (outside) and the saloon (inside). This is as far as we are allowed outside without wearing a lifejacket and clipping in. I came off watch at 0800 and am now waiting for the bread maker to finish and the generator to be shut down before I go back to my cabin for a snooze.
The wind has died down and the sea is calmer today so hopefully the people who were feeling ill will start to feel better. The sea is a beautiful simmering pale turquoise. Yesterday it was a rolling boil deep black blue with kingfisher bright turquoise patches where the sun was shining through the clouds, and on the horizon at one point a bright line of shining silver – none of that today, the sky is completely overcast.
I now understand why the inuit have so many words for snow. After more than two days with only the sea, no land or even other boats, you start to get obsessed with the different appearances of the water.
Yesterday was my (and my Mum’s) birthday. After a normal day of watches, cooking and IT, the rest of the crew sprang a surprise – cakes, champagne (a tiny glass each because we are a dry boat) and even bunting – and presents! The middle of the Barents sea is a strange place for a birthday, but it will be unforgettable. I treated myself to a call home on the sat phone. I was allowed off the remainder of my watch, but I took ten minutes at the end of my watch to go on deck on my own and stare out at the infinite blue, trying to etch the picture in my mind’s eye. The sense of isolation is absolute – the feeling that the rest of the world has disappeared and we are in a little tin boat sailing across an infinite ocean.