Sorry for the long blog silence, but the reason for it is that we have (finally) been at sea.
On 11 March, I wrote about the conditions that we did NOT want to encounter on the first leg of our trip. I explained that our fear of the first leg turning into a nightmare was the reason why we waited and waited for a good weather window. Eventually, we decided that instead of attempting to get to Taiwan directly, we would sail to the Philippines first, since going south would ensure nicer sailing conditions.
Well, suffice it to say that things did not exactly go according to plan, and despite changing our first destination port and sailing direction, we were completely unsuccessful in avoiding the nightmare conditions I so casually outlined in my post a few weeks back.
We left on the first leg of our sailing voyage on Wednesday the 29th, and arrived in Philippines, yesterday. A trip that was meant to take five days took us ten as we were battling Force 8 winds and 6-metre waves for three nights and drifted over one hundred nautical miles away from our destination. Hunkered down below in a cabin where the temperature was 29 degrees and humidity 75%, with helmets on our heads and mattresses against the cabin walls waiting for the waves and wind to knock down the boat, we swore that we would sell the boat as soon as (and if) we got to land.
Fortunately, with a couple of good meals in our bellies and the comfort of a warm shower here in the Philippines, none of us is of that opinion any longer, and we just feel immense gratitude that we survived the situation and have come through it stronger than before. I suppose there is something to be said for having the worst experience at the outset, because once you get through it, you know you can get through it later again.
We are also in awe of having witnessed the camaraderie of seafarers (such as immediate offers of assistance by commercial vessel captains who we were hailing on VHF to inform them that we are drifting), not to mention the efficient and compassionate support given to us over satellite communications by the Finnish and Hong Kong Maritime Rescue Coordination Centres. We are thankful and humbled by these experiences.
I do intend to write a full report about what happened at a later date, but right now we are again working on the boat (nothing major broke, but there are lots of small bits and pieces to fix) and on healing ourselves both physically and mentally.