WRITTEN BY MERAKI FADE
LEG 8 EASTER ISLAND TO TAHITI
Hearing the call “all crew on deck in full gear and life jackets,” from our skipper was an adrenaline rush! We had a reef line chafe on the main sail and a shackle bend on the Yankee between my day and night watches. They had been inspected and tested two days prior to this pulse raising event.
As a result of these dramas, the superstition of sailing with bananas on board continued. They were gifted to us from people in Rapa Nui, but sailors have a superstition that bananas on board are bad luck.
SV TravelEdge Skipper, Anna. Photo credit: Sophie Dingwall / eXXpedition
A team of resilient, professional women followed calm, clear instructions coming from our Skipper, Anna. I fully admire Anna’s expertise in sailing. I feel safe and confident on board, following her instructions even in the most intense moments. She instructed us to flake the sail to prevent losing it during stormy wind gusts. I first met Anna in Brighton, UK when she taught me to drive my motor cruiser. Her teaching method and sailing skills are second to none. That is one of many reasons I applied to crew for eXXpedition, following her out to the most remote islands in the South Pacific Ocean to learn and experience life at sea working for a cause close to my heart and in line with my background, previously working for Sea Shepherd.
The series of events went from an adrenaline rush to smiling with the deckhand, Millie while she played bluegrass music on her waterproof speaker and danced at the helm. She had been waiting for a shower since beginning her watch at 6am and she was in the shower when the ‘all on deck’ was called. Mille was at the helm with a towel wrapped around her hair still and grinning ear to ear. Meanwhile, the rest of the crew stowed the sail until morning when we could raise the Yankee with a new shackle.
Photo credit: Fade Meraki / eXXpedition
Later on, during my night shift, it rained heavily for four straight hours. Our team was drenched to the under crackers, and the wind constantly changed direction. We knew this voyage wouldn’t be easy, but this day did make us realise what we had signed onto and that we were living life on the edge.
Despite extreme weather conditions and news of Coronavirus escalating in the rest of the world, we adapt to our ever-changing environment. We found a level of humour, relating to each other and joking that we aren’t the ‘type’ to sign up to a yoga retreat. This was raw experience at its finest!
The quote is, “You can’t change the weather, but you can adjust your sails.” After you’ve adjusted your sails three times in one hour all you can do is laugh.
We’re getting to know the depths of our crew mates and ourselves in the depths of the Pacific Ocean. We’re getting the job done, learning new strengths, and rolling around on deck in torrential rains in fits of laughter sharing stories of the most embarrassing personal experiences we’ve had.
There is nowhere I’d rather be than all hands on deck working towards a sustainable future.