Now that Carol and I are back in Canada and enjoying the thoughts of the coming joys of Christmas and New Year’s, the toll of the past months of sea is becoming evident.  For myself, the lack of walking, and biking, not to mention the gluttony which for some reason takes me hostage while on watch in the wee hours of the night, has resulted in an inflation and no, I’m not talking about the economy.  Stacks of chocolate bars have disappeared.  But I’m getting that situation back under control.

The more problematic result of hours of sitting is that I’ve lost muscle mass, most noticeable when in Darwin and before, I would try to rise from the dinghy at Prince Diamond‘s transom using one leg and find it was almost impossible.  Now that I’m home, I’m putting my local community centre’s gym to good use and fortunately am starting to notice some results.  Hell, I’m even starting to look better!  Or at least as good as I can reasonably hope to get.

Decades ago, an old injury resulted in my right knee’s ACL being ruptured, and a Teflon cord replaced the valuable ligament.  But it needed the support of tough, surrounding tissue to give strength to the whole.  With much of that tissue gone, the joint feels loose and the exercise has aggravated the joint and caused daily pain.  But the race is being won and soon I hope my knee will be once again strong.

While at home I’ve looked to the future and done some modest shopping.  The 2nd reef clew line was replaced last year, but now it is the 1st reef clew line’s turn to be renewed.  And you will remember the lazy jack line suffered a failure and was knotted back together.  And then the lazy jack line parted again while sailing up the northern coast of Australia, and fell to the deck.  Like the clew line, a new lazy jack line must be purchased soon and rove once we’re back at the boat in May.

To get up the mast in a quicker and easier fashion, I’ve purchased 2 ascender/descenders used by mountain climbers as well as a “aider” which is like a short nylon ladder for my feet.  In conjunction with the bosun’s chair we already have, I should now be able to go aloft under my own efforts without my first mate needing to winch this sorry carcass aloft, a daunting task indeed.

Some improvements are in order as well.  Where the both reef clew cringles had slowly eaten through the clew lines I have purchased blocks which should eliminate the wear and the ever problematic friction.

Now the first low pressure of the Southern Hemisphere cyclone season is being born south of Java, and while this first one should not prove a threat to our beloved Prince, there will be others to come.  We watch and wait.

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