We have arrived in La Palma, Canary Islands (by Eddie Hecht, ship’s cook)

7 days at sea, which is pretty speedy for this leg.

We seem to be just speeding the whole thing really. Which is both amazing and exhilarating to be travelling so fast, but also exhausting as that means that the boat is moving and lurching all over the place all of the time. Walking from one side to the other becomes a complicated manoeuvre, getting dressed is difficult and sometimes nauseating and the galley a perilous place to be.

Two statements keep going round my head: “the galley is the heart of the ship” (and it is always warm as well) and “trust nothing” (especially in rough weather of course, when the galley can become the perfect setting for the Chaos show – beware also of the downwind sunny rolling by the way). Both things are, of course, not mutually exclusive and I feel grateful and honoured to be the current custodian of this space.

To reside there I have had to perfect a few new moves: “The Saturday Night Fever Disco Slide” (with a knife in hand), “the Emergency Karate Kicks” (to brace myself against an unexpected wave) and “the Ninja Catches” of various objects from various angles. And the most important lesson: ‘expect the unexpected’, a more positive-sounding version of the equally true, in this environment, ‘trust nothing’.

The food seems hell-bent on escaping, this recently included flying parsnips and twice saved tahini (now with extra seasoning). As for the dry store, that is a whole other matter! I caught 80kg of brown flour trying to make a break into the forecastle, little did the flour know that it would never find its freedom there. Numerous bilge potatoes – perhaps hoping to catch a ride out with the anchor chain?- and a mass exodus of lentils some of whom are still on the run but will no doubt be found with more extensive searching in port. To those that won’t, good luck to you – you deserve it. There was also an orange that ended up on a shelf 4 meters away, a commendable effort. Some of this is down to the odd bit of ‘interpretive’ lashing I discovered down there, but most of it is just because it really has been that hectic.

And so I embrace the chaos and love every minute.

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