Jackie Parry – author


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Mid Ocean Drama

Excerpt: This Is It – 2 hemispheres, 2 people, and I boat

Intro: We’re in the middle of the ocean – thousands of miles from land, sailing from Galapagos to Easter Island, the remotest inhabited island in the world….

‘What the f**k!’ I yelled from the galley. My feet were soaking wet. I looked down. Brown, filthy water swirled around my ankles. At that moment, a wave slammed into port side and shoved Pyewacket over and onto her starboard side momentarily. The disgusting water that caused me to pinch my nose gleefully ran to the other side of the galley, washing its mucky trail all over the floor.

Three difficult weeks at sea, living on a tilting vessel!

Three difficult weeks at sea, living on a tilting vessel!

‘What the effing-hell is going on!’ I looked in the sink. Another shot of water came up and over the sink’s edge as we lurched back onto our port side, my feet desperately trying to grip the sloping, slimy floor.

I peered through the window that led to the cockpit and watched Noel merrily chirping a pretty song with a hose in his hand.

‘Whatever you’re doing, STOP!’ I yelled.

I knew we weren’t sinking; the brown muck had come via an internal system.

‘What’s going on?’ Noel sauntered into the galley and sharply stopped. ‘Oh dear.’

‘Oh dear! Oh bloody dear,’ I screeched as the foul water sloshed around the gyrating floor, and I tried to sponge it into a sliding bucket. I skidded on my hands and knees within the quagmire as if on ice, cursing as each bump on Pyewacket’s bow caused the odorous water to leap up and splash the cupboards.

‘It’s from the cockpit drain,’ Noel explained sheepishly.

‘Never mind, help me clean up.’

Water constantly splashed over the entire boat - coating the everything in a fine salt

Water constantly splashed over the entire boat – coating the everything in a fine salt

In the galley floor were four boards that lifted. Beneath the floor were large bilge cupboards, where we stowed items in plastic containers in case water came in. While scooping and sponging up the marsh-like water, we hauled out cartons of pasta and rice and tried to find an alternative place to stow them in the tilting, squirming boat.

Half an hour later, we were drying out; the smell eased back to a wafty pong, and we sat in the cockpit, unaware of the jarring boat, glad to relax for a minute.

‘The rain wasn’t draining from the cockpit, so I connected up the deck wash hose to flush out the drains.’

‘Hmm.’ I allowed myself a small grin.

‘The pressure must have forced all that shit up through the kitchen sink. What a stupid way to arrange the plumbing…  I should have looked at that before we left,’ he admitted.

I wasn’t upset or angry any more. Noel was simply trying to make a repair; he didn’t intend to cause such mayhem. We don’t blame or hold grudges – we’re both working to achieve the same thing: a safe passage. Recrimination is such a damaging emotion; it can follow you around like a shadow, sit with you at dinner, and cast a depressing grey over all you do. We had no room for that in our lives.

We made it! But it wasn't easy - the plumbing problem was minor to the other events en route.

We made it! But it wasn’t easy – the plumbing problem was minor to the other events en route.

Find out what we are up to currently on a 1920s Dutch barge in Europe – here.

Would you like to take a look around our boat – look here.

Author blog: www.jackieparry.com

Travel blog: www.noelandjackiesjourneys.com

Horse: http://helpinghandforhorses.weebly.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jackie.parry.7543

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Horses: https://www.facebook.com/pages/For-the-love-of-horses/1048526295173146

Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00OT9CWV8

Amazon book links

A Standard Journey: viewBook.at/astandardjourney

Of Foreign Build:  viewBook.at/OfForeignBuild

Cruisers’ AA (accumulated acumen): viewBook.at/cruisersaa

This Is It: viewBook.at/thisisit

Audio Excerpt Of Foreign Build: http://goo.gl/AnsKRr

Twitter

https://twitter.com/NandJJourneys

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Photo album of A Standard Journey: http://goo.gl/1QgMp2

Photo album of Of Foreign Build: https://jackieparry.com/of-foreign-build-photo-album/

Photo album of Cruisers’AA: https://jackieparry.com/pics/

Photo album of This Is It: https://jackieparry.com/photos-this-is-it/

A Standard Journey FB Page: https://goo.gl/uV7NGY

Cruisers’ AA FB Page:  https://goo.gl/2vEnkB

Of Foreign Build FB Page: https://goo.gl/VvLT3M

Listen to me chat to Carol Graham (Never Ever Give Up) about sailing, pirates, adopting horses, and surviving life! http://app.stitcher.com/splayer/f/69073/41215218


6 Comments

I am not sure how we made it

But we did make it. Ecluse number 56 de Fonseranes (K206.5), has six locks, one after the other. Fortunately, we were first in line, but two other boats where squished in with us, testing everyone’s skills and patience.

6 locks

At the first lock, the lock-keeper swaggered over and managed to stop chatting on his mobile for a second. I naturally assumed he had come to take my line (as per every other lock-keeper). He took the line, slipped it over a bollard and then rapidly shot fast-French at me, ignoring my pleas to slow down. His disgust at handling our lines was evident.

He chatted on his phone more, watched the other boats come in and then said, in near perfect English, ‘you do your own lines.’

‘Of course,’ I said, ‘No problem.’

To which he replied with the most magnificent Gaelic shrug, that I would assume is usually reserved for vermin.

This was before they REALLY let the water in.

This was before they REALLY let the water in.

The hire boat was ordered to leave the first lock, first. While the crew gathered the lines the lock-keeper tutted, rolled his eyes and stood with hands on hips. Who knows what was going on in his tiny mind – but the phone rang and it was all smiles and back to chatting with buddies.

As we puttered in I wondered how I was going to get the lines on the bollards with the boat-hook, the lock walls were too high.

‘About a third-of-the-way-in are steps,’ I said to Noel, ‘You’ll have to get me near them.’ Noel nodded in his usual relaxed manor.

I’d climbed up many locks before in our sailboat. I know it is ‘not the done thing’, but we had no choice back then or here. Back then I was on a low boat, with no lock-keeper I had to get the lines on a bollard, so up I went. Here, with muscles some thirteen years older, I had to think carefully about what I was doing.

The dry steps, of course, the lower ones were underwater and covered in green slime.

The dry steps, of course, the lower ones were underwater and covered in green slime.

I took my time but it was  a little scary.

I took my time but it was a little scary.

You could walk the boat through (and others did, keeping hold of the lines) but they had plenty of crew, shorter boats, lighter lines. But, they still couldn’t ‘walk the boat through’ when we all got to the bridge. Besides Noel was doing inch-by-inch manoeuvring (handled brilliantly), and I wanted to help him too.

What followed was a scary launch of my body out to the slippery, slime-ridden steps, a steady climb with a fore and aft line on each shoulder and crowd-pleasing success. Noel manoeuvred the boat’s bow and stern right up close to the wall, however the curved lock-wall still meant I had large leap. I received ‘whoops’, claps and admiration. Meanwhile, the lock-keeper straightened his sunnies and chatted on the phone.

There was plenty of cheering as I made my way up.

There was plenty of cheering as I made my way up.

What resulted was me feeling alive, working the ropes, being independent, and being strong. I was thinking on my feet. On this trip, we’ve been hauling anchors, furling heavy ropes several times a day, climbing on deck, jumping ashore and shopping via bicycles. My muscles are becoming defined, my jeans are looser, I feel alive and yes, I am loving the whole thing!

The other amusing result I’ve noticed is that our precious paint is no longer precious. After six locks in what can only be described as ‘water-fall’ conditions, just inches (sometimes much less) between boats and walls, and all of a sudden you don’t give a flying fig about your paintwork – just surviving unscathed!

The climb.

The climb.

In my opinion, as lock-keepers, there’s too much responsibility for surly youths, which results in an attitude. That said, apparently since their hazard pay has been taken away, the lock-keepers on the Midi will not take your lines. I am not sure what the hazard is of taking lines. Actually it created a hazard as we took a moment or two than usual to secure the boat, and the lock-keeper let the water in before we were ready! Not fun!

I noticed, also, that not one of the boats’ crew looked at, waved, said Merci or even acknowledged the lock-keepers.