On Board the Tenacious: Ryan’s first month at sea

Image of Ryan standing on a small ships bow, wearing a white outfit and dark blue vest.

Earlier this year, our Youth Support Officer (and brave explorer) Ryan Honschooten set sail on his three-month adventure at sea. On board the Tenacious, Ryan was planning to sail an almost complete circular navigation of the world. The crew would sail around Cape Horn, tackling the treacherous weather and strong winds. We’re following his 89-day journey at sea, as he lives out one of his most desired dreams. We have gathered together Ryan’s diary entries from his first month abroad. We hope you enjoy reading his adventure – read about his second month at sea here.

Friday 26 January

Hi all, it’s Australia Day for us today, so to celebrate we played a game of deck cricket. The stumps were attached to the deck with BluTak, the ball had a string attached so we could reclaim it if it went overboard, and the bat was attached to your wrist with a lanyard. I was the opening batsman, and hit a 4 straight up (thanks to my cricket training Brad and Steff!) Unfortunately the Aussies were all out for 12 runs. It was lots of fun.

We are making our own fresh water 24 hours a day, using the sea water. Our ship has a state-of-the-art sewerage treatment plant so we can also pump out waste 24 hours a day. What we pump is internationally legal and environmentally safe. Our showers are fresh water, and the toilets salt water. I have given up coffee so far (instant is terrible!) and the food is extremely tasty. Starting to get cold, off to bed.

Saturday 27 January

We haven’t seen another boat since Tuesday morning, it’s been a quiet and lonely voyage. The swell is bigger than yesterday, it’s becoming the norm to hear things crashing to the decks. Getting around the ship is amusing and challenging, as it continually moves. It’s awesome hearing the waves break on the hull while below deck. During the man-overboard drill yesterday, it really hit home how important it is to stay on the ship. It would be exhausting to stay afloat while help arrived. I’m glad they’ve put netting around the ship above the rails.

Sunday 28 January

It’s cold! I’ve just finished my 12am watch, and wore 5 layers of clothing. The sea is tossing us around. At dinner, my cup fell over causing a flood of water to rapidly run down the table. This caused a Mexican wave of people quickly standing up and backing off – it was rather hilarious! Knives, forks, salt and pepper shakers all went flying. We have over 3000 miles to Cape Horn.

Monday 29 January

Ship is still rocking and rolling. I’ve got a lee cloth (net) attached to my bunk to stop me rolling out. I’m currently lying on my bed wearing a thermal top, a long sleeve shirt, track pants, hiking pants, two pairs of socks, and will put on two jumpers and full wet weather gear plus gloves when I venture on deck for my watch tonight.

Tuesday 30 January

Currently sailing in no-man’s-land, the spot between the Pacific and the Southern Ocean. The engineers found the heaters yesterday and turned them on. It’s since been warmer than an average Perth summer below deck. We should pass the 3000 mark today, meaning we have 3000 miles to reach the Horn.

Thursday 1 February

Last night we reached the 2000 mile mark, we’re approximately 2800 miles to the Horn and 3200 to the Falkland’s. Breakfast was underway when the ship gave a sharp lurch and a comedy began. Stuff went flying in all directions, mostly to Portside where those people sitting began playing tennis, batting away food, bowls, eggs, cups and jam. The floor was awash with all sorts of food, and I slid along the seat pushing those people next to me into a corner. I dropped my egg and my tea went orbiting along with everyone else’s. A lonely sausage rolled back and forth on the table. What a mess! Everyone broke out into laughter and couldn’t stop. Slowly we cleaned it all up, I only wish we had caught it all on film. We laughed all day.

Saturday 3 February

Watch this morning was extra special, we were treated to a few dozen dolphins who stayed with us swimming from 5am to 9am. A fog has crept in, making the air on the boat wet with dew.

Monday 5 February

It’s so cold. The days are getting colder, triple socks now. The wind cuts deep, just glad it’s not raining.

Thursday 8 February

Yesterday we were close to point Nemo which is the most isolated point of Ocean in the world. It’s also where satellites are programmed to crash back to Earth. Sadly, it’s too cloudy to spot any.

Tenacious sailing at sea
An image of the Tenacious sailing at sea

Friday 9 February

Think about this. Imagine every door you interact with, every hour of the day and consider waiting for the right moment to open the door. If we get the roll of the ship wrong, we could find our arm pulled out of our socket, especially with the heavy watertight doors. Last night the fresh water tanks overflowed into the men’s cabins. The buckets and mops were put to work, as were the engineers.

Sunday 11 February

Yesterday after lunch listing to my audio book, a rather violent roll to the side sent a basket of tin mugs (50 of them) flying across the kitchen. What a crescendo of noise! Tinkling mugs slid to portside, but before they landed on the floor, the ship decided to have some more fun and sent them back to starboard. The noise was awesome. I lost it laughing.

Monday 12 February

Sensational day out on deck, the sun is shining! I even took off three layers of clothing (but I still had three on).

On this ship two different worlds exist, one above deck and the other below. The contrast between them is extreme! Above deck it’s cold, windy and often wet with both spray, light rain and the fog condensing on the rigging which falls continuously on the deck. Damp, everything is damp to touch. The ropes are freezing cold and very wet. The noises are amazing, the wind roaring, or whistling through the rigging (wish I was musically trained to pick out the varying notes), the humming of the rigging, these three sounds all different to each other. Then you have the banging of the rigging, as yards and block crash, and the slapping of sails as they lose air or the booking of the sails as the wind fills them. The squeak of blocks as the sheets move back and forth through them. Then you have the ocean, as it hisses past the ship, breaks all around the ship both near and far. The slapping of waves against the ships side, the roar of the ocean, the rush of water over the decks that sounds like you are at the rapids. The shouting of commands, the air vents from the engine room and air-conditioning, and the vastness, the open space, there is nowhere to hide from the weather. You need to wear 6 or more layers of clothes to stay dry and warm, it’s very bulky and you do notice the heaviness of the layers as you move around the deck. Any physical work like pulling the ropes, you find yourself sweating and extremely warm. That is my reality of the outside world.