Posted by: Helena Smalman-Smith | December 18, 2011

Day 14: Making tea at sea

We start today’s blog with an excellent joke from one of R’s colleagues in the Maths Dept at KGS (its provenance is relevant to the answer):

What did the little mermaid wear?

We’ll leave you to ponder that as we give you an insight into life at sea – we are absolutely fine with the rowing bit of all this – it’s the shipboard life that we find rather difficult, and this may help you understand why.

How to make a Cup of Tea:

In the stern of our boat is a small cockpit area, just under a cubic metre. On either side of this are 2 large hatches. One houses our water maker, the other what we call the “kitchen” – it is basically a semi-waterproof hole that contains all of our cooking equipment. Across the cockpit goes the stroke foot plate.

SO, draw up 2 kitchen chairs and place them facing each other about 80cm apart. Sit on one of them. It’s upto you whether you take off all clothes from the lower part of your body and dampen the whole area you’re sitting in at this point. Put one foot either side of the foot plate for stability

Reach across to the other chair and get out:
The jetboil cooking stove
The Igniter (because the jetboil’s inbuilt one broke after 3 days which is a lot longer than they usually last)
The mug

AT this point the Northern face of  the Eiger passes so grab on to the footplate with your 4th hand to stabilise yourself as the boat wobbles wildly from side to side. Did I mention that these instructions are for octopuses?

Then remove the lid from the jetboil with that 4th hand and using a 5th hand, pump water into it from the water dispenser.

Replace the lid and place the whole jetboil in the wooden stand so beautifully mended by Eric after someone trod on it…

Annapurna unexpectedly hovers into view, and as you cling to the jetboil try to be a biodynamic gimbal, the igniter falls to the bottom of the cockpit. Where there is permanent;y 1-2cm water. Now it won’t work.

So, using 1 knee to stop the jetboil falling over, open the cabin door, lift the mattress, unscrew the hatch under it and rummage around amongst spare packs of hot choc to get another igniter. Close the cabin hatch, oh dear, and now the Matterhorn has lurched past and the jetboil’s fallen over and the water spilled out of it.

Never mind, refill it, light it with the new igniter. Whilst water is boiling, reach back into kitchen hatch to get out tupperware of tea bags and the one of dried milk powder. Water has boiled, so pour into cup, add tea bag, and milk powder, and remove tea bag after suitable period (related to how long you’ve spent in Yorkshire). Place cup briefly in cupholder whilst you put everything away. Just as you close the kitchen hatch, prick ears up at wife on oars and watch as Mont Blanc delivers itself into your cup of tea. Throw liquid in cup over side and have a swig of water from bottle.

Honestly, a floating Starbucks would do SUCH good business out here…

Back to that joke: What did the little mermaid wear? An Algae-bra! Many thanks for that one, Louise.

Many thanks for many other messages today, some of which may only have got to us from previous days. Delighted that Psyche has become a blog dog.

Michael – sorry to hear of lack of water in Bewl – you must have had to turn round an annoying number of times to get a decent outing in. A problem we have not had for 2 weeks nearly!

J & V – we had a mars bar today with a msg from you – will you be clapping your hands when we go across the following lines we’re aiming for next – 20 degrees N (trade winds don’t happen above this) and 25 degrees west?

Annie the KGS cox – I am making Mr S push, but am glad to report he hasn’t fallen off his bike yet.

Dan – great to hear from you though we don’t fully understand what on earth you’re on about. Remember that sat texts don’t always arrive in the order sent! Try to abbrev. Have you been to Folkestone? And somewhere else with Ma B’s gentleman friend? R has a beard now so watch what you say about hirsute types. Hope Sabrina is coping being an uptown girl now.

We have finished Life of Pi on the ipod – if you are stuck for a pressie for anyone, we do recommend it (for over the age of 16 – there is a touch of cannibalism towards the end).

Land Team – we are so sad that Tommy Tippetts’ tech probs have been insurmountable. We enjoyed doing our courses with him at the “we’re not scared of sums” end of the table. He is a top young man and would certainly have succeeded if it was just about his qualities. If you can get a msg along these lines to him that would be great.

Must go before I deplete batts too much.

MANY thanks to all for your support!

The picture below shows Helena standing above the water maker and Barnaby from crew H2Row standing in their stern cockpit as H gives him a last minute hair shave on the December 5th. You can have any style you want as long as its grade 1!(Land-ed)

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