Passage to Cocos Part 2 – By Babs


Delos is swaying really nicely. Not too rough, not too still.. perfectly comfortable. I sank into the cushions of the saloon, ginger tea in one hand and pillows squished behind my head as I lay back and put a movie on.. Avatar. I remember seeing it years ago and it being really good. Brady is laying in the saloon on the other side looking comfortable wearing that classic Coca Cola bandana of his catching up the season seven of Californication. The time passed by and Brady went up into the cockpit for his night watch. The movie finished and I looked around to see everyone had gone to bed and there were dimmed red lights inside the boat. I got up and walked through the companion way into the cockpit for my watch. I see Brady listening to his iPod. “Hey Brady, how’s it going?”, I ask him. He takes out his earphones, “Hey, good thanks. We are cruising along pretty nicely, steady wind, steady speed. If the wind shifts a little, turn the boat port or starboard, and if there’s a big wind shift or a squall coming, just wake me up”. I lean over the helm to take a look at the conditions, as Brady jumps out of the seat. “Wake me up if you need me ok, goodnight”, Brady says disappearing into the darkness inside the boat. “Ok, have a good sleep”, I said as I sat at the helm, shoving cushions behind my back.

I look around, I see the down-wind sail lurking out and the conditions are absolutely perfect. We are sailing maaate! I scan the horizon for other boats or things in the water, but there’s nothing. Just the peaceful night sky with some clouds. I put on my iPod and started listening to Lauryn Hill in one ear.

I hear these noises from the port side so I take out my earphone, and lean over the rail to take a look. All of a sudden I see these huge white shadow looking creatures flow around under Delos. I step back in shock. “What is that?!” I think to myself.. holy moly, could that be a giant squid?! I have no idea what it is. I got a little scared, but I took a closer look. It was so dark in the water, but they were almost glowing and I wanted to see what it was. They went up to the bow, so I followed them, stumbling up deck, passing through all the lines and squeezed past the dingy. I got this rush of excitement and I look down and to my surprise they were dolphins! The white shadow was the bioluminescence that was flowing behind them making them look bigger. It looked so amazing. I just stood there watching in awe while they danced by the bow. There were a few of them, some jumping up and diving back in the water creating this splash of glowing, fluorescent mist behind them. They looked so beautiful and I was totally hypnotised. They swam around the bow for a bit longer before disappearing into the distant ocean. And I could hear them splashing water out from their blow holes. “Thank you for the amazing show dolphins!”, I said smiling as the wind carried my voice. I noticed flashes of lightening every 30 seconds. It seems so bright, or maybe because the sky was so dark. Every time the sky lit up from the lightening, you could see all the clouds in the distance. And with the down-wind sail out, I could see the big buddha light up every time there was a flash. A very unique sight. It looked really amazing. With the magical dolphins and the lit up flying buddha man is a night I will never forget.

I wake up slow, stretch out in my bunk, the red elephant sarong hanging to my left blowing from the fan and a picture of a little gnome stuck on my cupboard to my right from my sister Phoebe. I smile, get up and chuck on a dress I find in my bunk. I pull the curtain, wrap my legs over the wooden piece of my bunk and jump on the floor. I make my bed, use the head and wonder into through the companion way into the cockpit. Josje is on watch, “Good-morning”, I say to her as I rub my eyes. “Morning”, she says turning her head to me smiling. The waves seemed to be getting bigger, and it was really cloudy. I made some cereal and a cup of earl grey tea and managed to walk up to the cockpit without spilling anything. We all spoke about our dilemma on wether or not to sail inside the Nicobar islands down to Banda Aceh or go down the western side of them. We are using a software called “predict wind off-shore”, which we hook up to the iridium go, and it gives us a weather routing, which is pretty sweet so we can check the weather when ever we want, in the middle of the ocean! The wind was coming from the east, south east, and it will eventually change to south west, so it will be perfect to sail west through the Nicobar islands.
There was a little sunshine peeping through the clouds, so the boys got straight onto some wood work on the deck. They are making a fishing platform, so when we catch a fish, we can put it on the platform to fillet which will help so much! I remember filleting a barracuda by the stern and my legs were numb from kneeling for so long. I sat and watched the waves roll by and the ripples Delos left behind. It’s so strange drifting along steadily and not seeing any boats for a while. No birds. No planes. No-one else. Just us. In this huge ocean. Sometimes I stand up and turn 360 degrees, look around and all you can see is ocean and that fine line to differentiate the ocean to the sky. It’s beautiful, wide, so blue.…and makes me feel so small. I look at Delos, it seems like a big 53 foot boat, but it’s realistically a minuscule dot in the world. We are like tiny ants on mother nature’s crust. It makes you realise how big the world is. It is huge. And the ocean is the biggest part, with millions of sea creatures living in it. So much of the ocean has never been explored. Imagine all the alien creatures far below us that we haven’t yet discovered. I find it so fascinating.

I grab a mango from the fruit hammock, cut it in cubes and slurp on the delicious flavour while it drips through my fingers. I love mangoes, they are one my one of my favourite fruits.. along with feijoa’s. Ohhh, I miss feijoa’s… my parents have 10 tree’s at home. I miss them…. and my parents of course. Back home in New Zealand, it’s wintertime. I sometimes miss the colder weather, putting on some boots, wearing a coat and wrapping up in a cosy scarfs. We were all talking about this, saying how nice it is to cuddle up under a warm blanket while it’s raining outside. Meanwhile we snap back to reality and I look down to see me wearing bikini bottoms and a singlet. I guess you always want what you can’t have. I really appreciate the present moment because that’s all we have. That’s all we will ever have. And this moment, right now, is here, and tomorrow it will gone. So I try to remember to live in the Now and learn to love it.

It’s time for my watch, so I take over from Brady and sit at the helm. I noticed there’s not much wind, we’ve got the genoa out, but it seems to be picking up. The conditions were pretty good, we were sailing a smooth 3-4 knots, not the fastest, but we were moving forward. The wind was really shifty, and we were dodging squalls, so I ended up hand steering. At first, it was quite scary because I didn’t want to get back-winded as it would damage the sail. So I was keeping an eye on the gages, making sure the apparent wind angle stayed between 45-50 degree’s. The wind was picking up and now read 10-15 knots. After a while I didn’t feel so nervous. I felt really comfortable and confident behind the wheel of this massive sailing boat! I think at that moment, I really got the feel of Delos… the way she moves with the wind, the waves, having a better understand of how it all works. Watching the sails luff, and changing course a few degree’s and watching the genoa fill with wind and see us cruising a little faster. The feeling of my heart was beating a little faster when the wind changed drastically and making the correct change of course to match it. Oh, it felt great!

The past 2 hours must have flown by because Brian arrived for his watch. Brady and Max were standing by the stern in the sunshine working on the finishing touches for the fishing platform. “Man over-board!”, Brady screams. Everyone comes rushing into the cockpit. “The shower cream fell off the stern!”, Brady yells. I felt relieved it was only a bottle and not a person. I stand up on the back deck to try and see it in the waves. “I see it, come round more to port, Bri”, says Brady pointing out to see. I squint my eyes, where is this white bottle?! “More to port…a bit more to port”, says Brady from the back. Brian turns the whole boat around. I thought it was funny how we were going in a full circle back to where we were to retrieve this bottle of shower cream!
I could finally see this bottle floating in the rolling waves, it came a few metres off the port side and drifted toward the stern. Josje had a stick with a hook on the end. She tried to grab it, but the lid came off so it wasn’t going to work. “I’ll get the net!”, she screams! “I’ll get the camera!”, I scream, rushing down the stairs of the companion way to get it. I started filming while Josje was reaching with the net. “Keep reaching, you’ve almost got it!”, I yell. We both looked at each at one point and laughed at the situation. The bottle was rolling with the waves, then one waves came and the bottle came really close, so Josje swooped it up. “Oh yeah! We caught a mighty fish! A white princess!”, I said as I was still filming. Our “man over-board” drill was a hilarious success.

The sun was creeping slowly towards the horizon with piercing colours and pastel clouds so we all sat down and watched this magical event. It happens every night, but this one was especially beautiful. We took some photo’s of Brady posing like a super model, which he did quite well, holding on to the lines with one leg up on the rail. We were all laughing and everyone sat down to enjoy the view. Delos was drifting along really nicely, while we all gazed in silence.

Something scratched my head softly as I woke up. “It’s time for your watch now Bubsie”, I hear, as I roll over in my bunk to see this dark figure standing over me. It was Brady. “What time is it?”, I yawn. “It’s 4:06AM”, he said while he closed the curtain. I looked at my clock. Damn, I set it for 3:55PM. I climb out of my bunk, go for a tinkle and put the kettle on. I walk up to the cockpit and scope out the conditions. It all looked pretty good.. so quiet, light winds of 8-10 knots from the north-east behind us, still going down-wind with the genoa out, no other boats on radar and we’re going a smooth 4 knots. I made a cup of ginger tea with a drop of honey and milk and sit at the helm. The sky was slowly getting lighter. I look over my shoulder and notice rays of sunshine peeping through the clouds. A tint of yellow and orange appear. The clouds drift on by, and I notice the warm rays on my shoulders. I quickly grab my camera and take some snaps of the sunrise. It’s so beautiful in the morning. It’s not too hot, not too shiny and the colours are so pretty. I felt so peaceful as no-one else was around, everyone was sleeping. I had this morning to myself and really enjoyed some alone time. When you’re on a boat with 6 other people, constantly around them, you sometimes forget to be at peace by yourself. It’s so healthy to have some YOU time. So I sat at the helm, feeling the sun on my back, listening to the waves splash on the sides of Delos and I was there. Not really thinking about anything. My mind was completely blank and I was in total peace and harmony.

Brian stumbled up with his scruffy morning hair. “Good morning” I said to him, jumping up. “Morning”, he said, yawning. I told him about the past 2 hours, nothing much happening, everything still the same. “I’m gonna make a coffee, do you want one?”, I ask him walking down the companion way. “Oh yeah, that would be awesome” he said stroking his hair back out of his face.

Everyone was still sleeping, and I felt pretty awake, so I sat in the saloon and started working more on my video. I’m making a music video using my sister Phoebe’s song “paradox” with all the drone footage from Delos. It matches so well together and it’s almost finished. It will go up on youtube and I’m really excited for people to see it. I can spend a couple of hours behind the screen in the morning before I need to adjust my eyes. It definitely feels weird on a moving boat, so I try and not over do it. Karin wakes up for her watch “good morning”, we say smiling to each other. It was such a peaceful morning. I sat in the cockpit reading my book “The Power of Now”, which is a great book.

“Dolphins!” Karin says. I sit up and see them swimming towards the bow. I grab the camera and sit at the bow filming them all. There were about 20 of them swimming across each other, diving up and down, splashing around, swimming on their sides. Brian and Max were on the forward deck hooking the go pro to a stick to film them. I climb out from the bow seat and watch Brian put the stick in the water. All the dolphins disappear. He kept it by the bow hoping they would return, but nothing. “Maybe they are scared of the stick” I say to Brian. “Yeah, it happened last time. It’s a shame” he said getting the go-pro off the stick. “Maybe next time, we could put in the stick on the port side and slowly come towards the bow”, I suggested. “Yeah, that’s a good idea, we’ll try that next time”, he said as we both walked back to the cockpit. I read my book for a while longer until Delos was ready to tack. Since the wind was going south easterly, we changed direction down towards Sumatra.

After dinner, we all had our “love circle”. It sounds cheesy and it’s definitely not an orgy or anything. It’s simply a time where we all come together, go around the circle and express what’s on our mind. There’s no laptops, phones, books, distractions… just us. Wether big or small, positive or negative, we each have a turn with no interruptions, no judgements, just love. It was actually my Dad’s idea, he came up with when we were in New Zealand, and he called it the “medicine box”, which is an awesome concept, but for some reason, we felt the “love circle” suited this concept better. I think it’s amazing that we chose to do this because living on a boat, things tend to get blown much bigger in proportion. The main thing we spoke about at this love circle was stress. There was quite a lot of tension when we had our last provisioning run in Port Blair. So we all agreed there was this unnecessary level of stress and next time we are going to relax and really enjoy it. We had a great idea to make a list of all the tasks to do in Coco’s Keeling, write them down and put them in a hat. It ended up being Karin’s hands, and we picked out each of our tasks. We felt so much better having our own little job, really focusing on it and getting out of our comfort zone. “So let’s all try and have fun with our tasks, like if you have propane, you might meet a truck driver, and you are chatting with him about his family and he ends up inviting you over for dinner!”, Josje says really happily. We all laughed and ended the love circle.

Suddenly we heard the plastic bottle but the stern, so Max quickly jumped up and started pulling in the line. We all gathered around, Brady helping with the line, someone was filming. Suddenly this fish jumps up, Brady and Max both holding it down. It was a small Barracuda. Brady managed to pull the hook from it’s mouth, while it was flapping around like crazy. “It’s just a baby one, let’s throw it back”, Brian said. I was watching as I kneeled down on the back deck. Brady grabs a hold of it’s tail fin and chucks it back in the water. “Oh well, better luck next time” I said standing up. We all stumble back to the cockpit and I noticed Delos was really leaning. We all watched the sun dip below the horizon and enjoyed the pretty pastel colours. This sunset was more orange, yellow and pinks which was really cool.

I had my watch at 6pm. The wind was coming from the north-east and we had beautiful sailing conditions. We were coming closer to the northern tip of Sumatra, so we were seeing a few cargo ships to Asia. It was fairly windy and the radar was showing some squalls, so I kept an eye out trying to dodge them. It was quite peaceful, and everyone disappeared into their nests. The plastic bottle smacked the side of Delos, so I quickly jumped up and started pulling in the line. I didn’t feel any force, so there was no fish, but I kept pulling it to see how frankeinbeast was. Yep, there was nothing. False alarm. But good old frankeinbeast was still in one piece. I threw it back in and sat back at the helm. I gazed out at the horizon, watching the sky dim to black. The moon slowly appeared and it was so bright. Almost glowing. I put in one earphone and listened to the soft voice of my friend Hannah Kettle sing and play guitar. I got inspired so I got some paper and pen and started writing my own lyrics. I really love it. The flow of words, telling a story, thinking of rhyming words and how you can add chords. Brian arrived for his watch, and I told him about the conditions. I went down into the saloon and lay down thinking lyrics. I closed my eyes and let the dreams take over my mind.

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