Monday, February 19, 2007

November 9, 2006, Thursday - just about the same position as yesterday at this time

After midnight, there was a brief lull, and the wind speed dropped down to about 15 knots. Rain was pouring down, pummeling Merrill who was sitting on the leeward side of the cockpit. Soon, the winds built right back up to the 40’s, and Merrill declared “It’s back.” At 1:30, Bill relieved Sten. We both tried to rest in our berth from 1:30 to 3:30, but after much discomfort and a bit of bickering, I decided that it was futile, and went up on watch to relieve Merrill, who at that point had been on watch for almost 12 hours.

By morning we had drifted 17nm east of our course. We still had SE winds, so our position for approaching Bermuda had become worse during the prior 24 hours. We remained hove to, but changed our heading to the west. Eventually, the wind began to veer to the south, and slooooowly to the SW. At 9am, we began motor sailing under the storm jib alone. That afternoon, Bill and Merrill saw a double rainbow during their watch, but I was too concerned about Lenore’s continuing deterioration to find much joy in it.

Two days into the trip and her hunger strike, I had called her vet, whose assistant wasn’t at all concerned, and Suzy and Alena who began looking for advice on how to get her to eat. I was able to reach Alena, and she did some research. I took the advice she found online and worked with what I had. I tried to use a fresh caulk syringe (no needle, just a curved plastic tube) to force water into her mouth. She spit it back out. I dabbed food and half and half on her face to force her to lick it off. Alena had found that a primary ingredient in homeopathic motion sickness meds was mint. I happened to have some essential oil of peppermint on board. I mixed it with honey and dabbed it on her mouth and nose as I had done with her wet food. She began foaming at the mouth. Poor kitty. She spent the worst of the storm hunkered down in her litter box. She hadn’t licked the honey off, so she had litter stuck to her face. She was truly the most pathetic sight, and she didn't want anything to do with me.

After the storm had passed, and we were all certain we were going to be fine, I finally broke down and cried on Sten’s shoulder for a few moments. I wasn’t crying about what we’d been through, and they weren’t tears of relief, rather I was distraught because I was certain that we were killing our cat. Each hour that we couldn’t make headway towards Bermuda, was another hour that we were keeping her away from medical help.

That night Sten and I stood a night watch together - 6 to 10pm - the first and only time that we’ll probably ever do that in relatively calm conditions. We had a close encounter with a ship that told us that it couldn’t see us on radar, which is disconcerting, since we have a monster radar reflector on our mast. Merrill and Bill stood watch until dawn giving us a chance to rest.

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