From the Canary Islands to Trinidad
An amazing phenomenon awaits
There is not a single cloud in the sky; a warm wind is moving us gracefully along without trouble. We are all on the deck as Taurus slices through the ocean like a hot knife through butter. One hour melts into the next. We have no concept of what time it really is; and it really doesn’t matter.
The sun is nearly at its highest which tells me it is nearly noon when I see a tiny speck form in the sky barely above the horizon, slowly it becomes larger; just as it grows another one forms. Within a matter of minutes, the sky is covered from horizon to horizon, and the gray clouds quickly turn black. The wind picks up strength and whips up the waves like a milkshake in a blender.
Quickly we take in the mainsail and bring in the jib except for about three feet. Taurus takes us through the storm battling every wave as if she were a bull charging at a torero; we sweat and ache from head to toe as we also fight the elements. The waves reach such a height that we are able to surf Taurus like a surfboard.
The winds shoot the warm salt water against our sweat soaked aching bodies and we feel every drop hit us as if we were being sandblasted. We can also feel the hull vibrate as Taurus’ speed almost doubles as we race down another wave, then we quickly prepare for the next.
Gradually and over time, the winds begin to die down, little by little until there is not even a breeze left. The sails are up again but they hang limp and lifeless. Taurus is calm and still, not moving whatsoever like a cork on a calm pond on a windless day. It is as if we have entered the twilight zone. The air feels eerie calm and the ocean is like glass-we have entered the doldrums!
At first, we welcome the rest; it gives us the opportunity to rest our weary bodies and to check our equipment. When we check our position we realise that we have travelled much farther than first thought; this is good. The rest of the day is spent relaxing...by evening however, we realize that there is no change in the weather; the air is hot and dead.
As we lie dormant in the doldrums in the equator, the heat begins to get to us. It is unbearable, if only we had even just a breeze, but no such luck. We devour one glass of juice after another and we have our heads covered with wet towels. The day turns to night and still no relief from the heat, the night is just as sweltering as the day. Neither of us sleep well as we are unable to get away from the incessant heat, this is the only time in my life I have ever complained of it being too hot.
The morning comes in; we watch the sun slowly rise over the horizon, with every millimetre she climbs the heat seems to increase several degrees making this day an exact copy of the previous, and the surface of the ocean is still as smooth as glass, again not a ripple to be seen.
As the days turn into weeks we finally begin to feel a breeze blow across our hot sweltering bodies; relief at last! The sails tighten and Taurus springs to life almost as if she is dancing with anticipation of the waves return. The surface of the once glass like ocean breaks into motion again, the waves are a welcoming sight, waving to us as if to say “Hello”.
It seems as everything has been reborn again and we are able to make our way to Trinidad. I heard of the doldrums, but when we left the beautiful Canary Islands, I would never have guessed that we would become guests for two weeks to this magnificent phenomenon. It is truly amazing to have witnessed so many great things on this planet, such as fierce destructive storms to the stillness and the silence of the doldrums. Such things do not happen by chance, someone greater than science itself can only create such magnificent things.