The crew of Spirit of Cardiff are battling against strong winds and a large head sea as they head northwards through the Pacific...

The crew of Spirit of Cardiff are battling against strong winds and a large head sea as they head northwards through the Pacific… Clive Tully reports:

“As we say in Japan, “Omu mitai ni byoki da yo”. Which roughly translated, means: “I’m sick as a parrot”. To say the conditions aren’t too kind would be an understatement. A strong easterly wind has whipped up the sea into waves which are taking us on the bow and starboard beam, and rain is coming at us in sheets.

The radar picks up all the rain, so it’s displaying one huge splodge – if there are any ships in the vicinity, they’re invisible. In 24 hours we’ve managed to put a mere 200 miles between us and Okinawa, struggling along at just eight knots, and – not to put too fine a point on it – it’s miserable out here.

When we arrive in Choshi is very much dependent on whether the sea flattens down at all. We’d been promised an improvement for the early hours of this morning, but so far we’ve seen no change. In theory we should have been able to get there by Wednesday. At the moment, Thursday or Friday seems a safer guestimate.

When it’s this horrible, there’s nothing much for it but to grit your teeth and resign yourself to it. It’s impossible to use the stove, so hot food and a nice steaming cuppa are out of the question. Certainly it’s times like these – when a bit of music would lift our spirits – that we wish the radio cassette player on which we’d been playing our tapes hadn’t taken a flight home from Singapore.

The boat bucks about so much, the chances of getting injured by stumbling into something are greatly increased. And our ensuite bathroom – the dive platform at the back of the boat – is unusable. The buffeting is too violent, and in these conditions at this slow speed, it’s awash with about a foot of turbulent water anyway. We’re back to the bucket for a toilet, and no washing.

And so you tend to lock into survival mode, mentally if not physically. With most unpleasant situations you might encounter in normal life, you know that one way or another you can usually make them stop. Out here, the certainty is that if the weather remains the same, we have another three days of this to endure before making port.”