Having fallen a day short of our initial goal of landfall by the 26th, today I was faced with celebrating my 30th birthday at sea. My initial thoughts on how I would like to spend today went along the lines of a nice lie in after 4am dawn patrol, a jug of warm water for a wash, fresh pair of pants, and the possibility of a cuppa brought to me in my bunk. Well, little did I know that Elinca had other ideas which the crew had been cultivating over the last few days. ‘Project Lyndas Birthday’ had kicked into action 8hrs previous, with Sari, Raffe, Andy and Emma feverishly baking a 2-layered chocolate and tropical eggless cake (the last of the eggs having been accidentally eaten with lunch 2 days ago), topped with Creme de Menthe icing made from the icing sugar shavings lovingly grated from the granite-like block of sugar that had solidified over the last 5 months. After a quick wash and a phone call to my Mum and Dad, I was then banished to my bunk for 4hrs while preparations continued, which is not as bad as it sounds as I did get that cuppa and Raffe for company. At 12pm, I was allowed out and up to the balloon filled, bunting-clad phuket to a glorious serenade of “Happy Birthday” and presented with the aforementioned baking masterpiece, complete with replica-Elinca, penguins cut out from the gaffa tape that had been holding the padding on the phuket celling, and 30+ candles that had to be blown out before our tail-wind did the job.
Amazingly, the crew had also clubbed together multiple gifts. These included a set of very flattering earrings that had been fashioned from shrimp lures out of Nicks fishing kit, a turkshead bracelet (a quintessential sailing accessory, which can double as a prussik in case of emergency), homemade soap from Sari, the boat Spring Edition Goodhousekeeping cookbook that Emma had brought along, a origami necklace made by Cliggy, and a beautiful rose quartz and garnet jewellery set made by Raffe, a Curlywurly, an original signed and autographed Adventure2013 ensign (reminiscent of the one now hanging in the McKelvie yacht Club, Puerto Williams) and finally one of Jon’s T-shirts that I’m assured had been washed. I was astounded and amazed by how much effort had gone into making all these lovely gifts, and for someone that just wanted a cuppa tea in bed and a wash, I consider myself one very lucky girl and i will cherish all of them for a long time (maybe I’ll put the t-shirt through a hot cycle, just to be sure).
After enjoying a piece of cake each, we had a lunch of mozzarella, humus, salami, and cheeseball crisp sandwiches, using up the last of the supplies from the fridge, and settled down for what will be one of the last days of Leg 10s ocean crossing. Happily, the sun was out and with the cruising chute up since sunrise, we were steaming along at 8.5kts and dreaming of getting into port for last orders tomorrow. Rather thoughtfully, the crew had arranged for a dozen dolphins to perform an energetic 5 minute fly-by the bow just for me. One of the benefits of having ones birthday in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean!
At sunset, the whole crew were treated with a small glass of wine or G&T, which was followed by an enthusiastic game of ‘Parce the Parcle’, forfeits designed by Emma, notably resulting in Cliggy completing a circuit of the deck whist imitating a bunny, sound effects included. The treats continued after dinner with a bowl of jelly that had taken a while to solidify in the newly empty fridge, and then prompt melted upon the addition of hot custard. There’s a valuable lesson learnt here folks, there’s a reason why its called Jelly and Ice cream. Nevertheless, the bowl of extra thick custard and liquid jelly was very much enjoyed with another piece of cake and a movie, to round off one fantastic birthday.
It’s a very humbling experience to realise that those who up until recently were all perfect strangers, can become such good friends and to have put so much effort into all the little things that made my birthday so beautiful. Definitely a day I wont forget in a hurry – THANK YOU so much James, Clare and the rest of the Elinca crew!!!!
p.s. Love and hugs to all my family and friends who are still reading the blog. I’m looking forward to reading all your posts, and seeing you in Falmouth soon!