The sea sickness came back pretty quickly as we waved goodbye to the hole in the rock and New Zealand's shore line. Yet again I found myself lunging over the side, wondering if I'd make it down to my bunk without needing to run to the heads. Down below its worse (unless you're lying down) and is usually trigger to nausea. However, this time there were two key differences from the Tasman sea crossing. One: It only lasted 24 hours instead of 72. And two: After being through it before, I was safe in the knowledge that it would get better, that this would not last the whole trip and I wasn't the only one feeling it!
For the first few days the weather was good and therefore, the galley was a lot less 'rolly' . As there were not so many crew on this voyage, I even began doing one part of a watch (12-4) to get me out on deck. As well as taking in/out sails, there's steering at the helm and bow watch, a lot of bow watch. As I usually did the breakfast shift, this worked well. We were also pretty lucky with the wind and the motor was only turned on a hand full of times. But there were the blitz storms ,referred to as squalls, which brought sudden rain, wind and huge waves within seconds. At these times everyone on deck would need to act quickly, bringing in sails that would likely be damaged in such rough weather. And then, as soon as the orders were carried out, the rain would stop and the oceans would calm, as if it never occurred.
Out in the pacific ocean, the Albatrosses and other sea birds welcomed us back by escorting us for miles . At one point swallows caught in the wind, also kept us company. If they stopped on the ship, I was told by the 1st mate, it was a sign they were exhausted and unlikely to make it back to shore. I like to pretend he's wrong and that they all made it to shore. That they were just saying hello. However, other than the winged creatures, there were no signs of life. No ships, no fish, no whales. Nada.
That's one of the biggest experiences I've taken away from open water sailing, the feeling of isolation from human civilisation. Naturally you make your own on the ship with your crew mates, but out here, you are alone, surrounded by blue, blue and more blue.
As daily routine set in and there was little to occupy your mind, the goal you're all working towards - sighting the Island of Rarotonga - takes up alot of your thinking space. With the days blurring into one another, you cannot help but wonder what's in store for us in a few weeks time and what we'll find. Everyone has the stereotype of a pacific Island, but do they all look like that? how will Rarotonga differ or conform?
Then on a Saturday night- it was time to celebrate. After 8 days we'd made it halfway through our journey. With pizza, tacos, prizes and questionable dress-up (the theme was 'halfway'), the crew had the best possible party you could have when a 3rd of the crew were on watch. The 'prizes,' which were pulled from a hat were a little suspect. They included 'get out of cleaning a head' card and another crew member had to wear a cocktail dress for dinner (FYI - he looked stunning). Mine was to make the captain breakfast in bed. The party may have been the soberest get together I've been to since primary school, but it was great for the crew to be silly in a usually demanding environment.
Then the next day it was back to normal, the weather still cold, the sea still blue and me asking 'are we there yet?'