Panama, Weds May 12th   

Deep clean day –  I woke up on board having slept on my mattress on deck, under the stars at 10 to 8 – thinking I was too late to have time for a shower. I then surveyed the other unconscious bodies scattered around and surmised that once again we wouldn't be starting on time, so a quick shower was taken. The facilities where we were moored, consisted of 2 loo cubicles and one shower room. The water was cold with no option of a hot tap but that really wasn't an issue in this heat. I knew that I would only be clean and sweat-free for the duration of the shower. By the time I had thrown on some shorts and a bikini top the sweat was trickling down my body all over again!

On deck, down the companion way stairs and onto the floor below was a lovely trail of vomit! Someone had not managed to hold their alcohol – or their supper - and it was now drying and attracting an unhealthy numbers of flies. I waited until everyone was awake so that the person in question could clear up their own mess – however no-one was owning up to it. Also no-one else was in any rush to clean up the mess either and it wasn't until I got down with a scrubbing brush and bucket of water (while chuntering profusely) that any offer of any help materialised. The culprit was soon uncovered, as a trail of vomit down her t-shirt and over her flipflops was soon discovered. Red-faced she pitched in to help clear up, apologising and mumbling that she couldn't remember if she'd been sick or not! 

Deep clean day was long and hard. The humidity is at its worst and now we are stationary we had no passing breeze to help cool us. I spent the entire day in the galley giving it a thorough deep clean – which was severely hampered by the fact that I was literally leaving pools of sweat on the work surfaces as I clambered on them to get into the far reaches of all the cupboards. Once again on deep clean day it was the same few people who rolled up their sleeves, got stuck in and did the lion's share of the work, while the others fannied around and seemed to take lots of time doing very little. It annoys me intensely but I've now come to accept that it's a fact of life. There are those that do and those that don't. Even on a race like this where you've lived and worked together as a close team. The team spirit seems to come second to peoples personal interest in doing as little hard work as possible – with little or no sense of the disappointment or frustration from those people who they call their friends and whose co-operation they relied on so heavily only a few days earlier to sail the boat. It also annoys me intensely that there is no real sense of any kind of duty of care back to the boat which has looked after us so well and delivered us safely from one country to another, through varied conditions and sea states. To me, Umba is the real hero of this race and I have a great affection for the vessel that has kept me safe for over 25,000 miles of sailing thus far. 

All these feelings aside, come the evening and after a quick dip in the pool of the hotel that some of the boys were staying in, the whole crew met up for drinks, the best steak we could find and an evening of dancing, letting our hair down – all of which was done with equal enthusiasm from all!!!