Posted by: Helena Smalman-Smith | February 11, 2012

Day 69: The Sounds of the Sea

Today’s blog is pandering to Liz and Loz who suggested that we describe the sounds of the sea, to go with our visual descriptions of various aspects of the trip. They claim that this is a good idea as it would be needed for the book we would inevitably write – sorry guys, that won’t be happening because a) the world does not need another “what I did on my holidays” book and b) more to the point, everyone who might be interested in it has already read the serialised version free online (albeit quite badly spelled).

Anyway, if the L’s want descriptions of sounds, they can have ’em, even though as experienced sailors they probably know most of it already!

Having said that, one of the things we expected in advance would drive us mad on this trip would be the incessant sounds of the wind – we’d never get that effect you have when you walk in the front door on a windy day and all finally goes quiet. And this hasn’t bothered us at all, though as R pointed out, this is, to an extent, because there’s nothing for wind to whistle through annoyingly on a rowing boat – it’s not like we have masts, rigging and all those things that the wind was HOWLING through in the marina in La Gomera in a decidedly eerie way.

But back to the sounds, which are most obvious whilst in the cabin. SO to experience what it’s like, go and get in the bath. No, I mean, fill the bath, take your clothes off and get in the bath as if you were taking a bath. Now sink down so your ears are only just above the water line, and shut your eyes. With one hand, swirl the water round a bit – that’s the basic nice sound of the sea. Now, get a “friend” (given that you’re naked, one that you know intimately is most appropriate here) to kick a football into the side of the bath. That’s your basic annoying wave. Then get them to fetch a largish plastic crate, the like of which you probably keep clutter  in your garage or attic. They should put about 1 inch of water in this and slosh it slightly irregularly from side to side. This imitates the water in the foot well just outside the door. Really quite annoying, especially later on in the night, if you get my meaning.

You should also arrange for some express trains to roar past in the distance.

Now get your friend to smack the side of the bath with a wet t-shirt unexpectedly. That’s the ocean reminding you who’s boss. And finally, get them to hit the side of the bath REALLY hard with a large beaded handbag – somehow the spatter effect of the individual beads is important.

Thanks to all who keep telling us we’re nearly there – relatively yes, but a week’s a long time in ocean rowing, so please try to avoid labouring the point – our GPS DOES show how far we have to do, so we do know and can do arithmetic. Quite well. Professionally even.

And we seem to have strayed off the North Equatorial Current. Oh well, it was fun while it lasted.

But we had better wildlife today – saw what we thought was another sailfish, though it was so Barbie pink and purple that we also wondered if it was an escaped bath toy. And both of us, at different times, saw a pair of dorado –  brilliant blue – jumping in and out of the water, and a few more flying fish than usual (which dorado often chase).

Thanks to Chris M for your so-reliable daily weather forecasts – we are utterly dependent on them for feeling vaguely in control.

Glad to hear D invited to Sunday lunch in Tonbridge – hope Psyche isn’t over-awed!

And thanks to all for the updates on this weekend’s racing – largely cancelled. Along with International Rugby even! Just can’t imagine such cold out here!

Good to hear from Martin L (lovely messages), Martin R (will have to think of how to cure OARS addicts – and are you staying in the Luna now or was that where we all were when you were team manager in charge of replacing cars with no wheels?), Angus C, Beech Boys, Matthew T, Ruth E, Di, Helen (glad you have a broadband plan for your hol!) and followers of other crews still suffering from Obsessive Atlantic Rowing Supporting syndrome.

Rog – I am SO rubbish at anagrams. Still can’t get “A barber smooched wee” assuming Barbados is 1 word. And no one is helping me! Can you tell us how many words and what length each one is?

IT was very, very rough this morning, down to just very rough this afternoon. Had the bight out. Forecast is that it goes down a bit which also affects our speed, so please don’t assume any mileage for the rest of our time. Aurora, the support yacht, left Barbados 3 days ago to sail out to us so we’re hoping to see her soon, though she will have been having to tack out against this strong wind.


  1. Very interesting blog today tigers, Im off to try the bath tub simulation exercises but I can”t find my beaded handbag anywhere, come to think of it I dont have one. Am trying to use the wet t shirt and football, as best as I can with Lacey as the accomplice. Any way V and I laughed our heads off at your descriptive writing this morning over our cappucini. Nice oneI jvx

  2. From sounds-of-sea to sounds-of-welcome not too far….here’s hoping wind & currrents cooperate. We’ll miss those brilliant blogs when you’ve done it!

  3. Dear Tigers:
    Sheila and I have been enthralled by your daily log. Having spent 26 days,under the North Atlantic in 1947 on a trial of the Schnorkel (as navigating officer of the second RN boat to be fitted with this German device), I realise what a pleasure cruise this was compared to life aboard “Didi” tho’ your communications and GPs kit would have greatly helped preparing and transmitting our daily report to our depot ship in Rothesay.

    Trust that you will not have too much Barbados surf to contend with as you
    prepare DIDI and the ship’s company for the reception committee

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