Ali makes time from the busy schedule of rafting to share AnTiki’s news…..
Apologies to our readers but since unlucky Friday 13th An-Tiki has been in something of a pickle. The ominous day had begun with blissful calm after a mighty stormy night. Thunder and lightening very very frightening had started around 2am. Dazzling light and drum rolls becoming brighter and louder. I rolled up my bedding, collecting solar light and Saki’s Short Stories and retreated inside the cabin.
An-Tiki’s sail curtained off the blackening sky as rain splashed the turbulent waves inciting the Dorados to shimmer the surface with electric blue. Even Bruno, the most resilient of hammock sleepers, was driven inside, drenched through, so we resorted to tea and cookies until Friday’s dawn brought total calm and we swam circuits around the raft.
We waited, going nowhere as the waves became rolling hills and the sail flapped and juddered recalcitrantly, impatient for the promised winds. Still becalmed after a lunch of finely cut apple slices by the Captain Smith’s own hand, tuna mushed with mayo and lemon and yummy raft-made bread, we waited in the hot and sultry air watching black weather gather on the horizon.
Hatches battened, wet laundry stowed, the squall buffeted us as we tried to maintain our westerly. We pulled the sail down and tied down the top. Then we pulled down the sail and tied up the bottom. Either way the storm sail refused to oblige as a rainbow curved colourfully across the blackened sky.
Never to be beaten, Bruno, chief skipper, resorted to a human-held mizzen sail and became all smiles as we corrected our course by 20 degrees but the sea was growing more intolerant and disgruntled as it tossed a sizable chunk of wood from the raft’s nether regions.
No choice against the angry ocean but to stow the sail and enlist the sea anchor. Untangling a cat’s cradle of ropes whilst being pounded by squalling rain the parachute was submerged and we retreated for cover, warmth and supper.
Saturday was a horrible day as we rolled and wallowed in the gigantic waves tethered to the sea anchor. With loss of direction, appetite and enthusiasm we turned in early as An-Tiki plunged and creaked across truculent seas. At least the rains had abated allowing the stars and what was left of the moon to illuminate our rolling groaning passage.
Early Sunday morning’s concerted efforts pulled up the sickening anchor, retrieved the rolling flotsam of storm thrown tins and ropes as we raised a third of the sail and set forth, precariously adjusting the raft’s direction with our Heath Robinson-in-style repaired-at-sea rudder.
With the never abating many metre high waves crashing across our decks and persistent easterly winds dogging our progress we took shifts throughout the night to maintain our North West course – pushing sail, yardarm and jury-rigged jib to their nth degree.
Monday morning, soaked and exhausted, but spirits far from dampened we enjoyed small talk with Noordam, an enormous and fast approaching Norwegian cruise ship with curious passengers, before making our last concerted effort to put right our northerly route.
Full sail on a beam reach and the compass needle pointing at N with a good 2.5 knot speed. Time for making bread on our bobbing jolly raft.
I hope the above goes some way to explain our erratic yellow brick!