Monday, May 30, 2011

We can see forever, but all we can see is the sea!

Been at sea now for 10 days and should be halfway to The Marquesas Islands by tomorrow. We have still been getting a lot of confused waves which make it hard to sail the yacht, but the last couple of days we’ve finally seen the sun, getting quite hot too, and the sea has calmed down so we can catch up on some sleep. A few days ago we found that we had to fly the big mainsail to keep the boat moving and stable in the choppy seas and that’s a bit risky at night. When we use a smaller sail the boom keeps banging around and we don’t think that is good for it. The last couple of days we have been able to practise with a smaller sail during the day and we appear to be getting the hang of it!

We are getting close to the equator now and will run into “The Doldrums” shortly, where there is little or no wind. We plan to head due south and use the motor for some of it to speed up getting south to more wind again. We are in radio contact with another yacht (Galactic with 4 crew) that is about 5 days ahead of us (about 600 miles ahead) and it is helpful hearing what their conditions are and how they’re coping with them.

Our gps locator called Spot is now out of range, but another link has been added on the blog to show our daily position and speed etc.

Everyone on board is fine including Raleigh but the comment has been said that ‘this ocean sailing isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, and we’re almost over it already’. A bit early for that as we haven’t reached half way yet! Carl is the keen fisherman onboard (the only one really) and puts out lures everyday. We think there must be some largish fish getting them as the lures frequently disappear, however 2 days ago Carl caught a yellow fin tuna, not a big one, but plenty for some sashimi each and a good size steak each for dinner. The past 2 nights we have had Vegetable Korma with beans, and tonight a lovely noodle broth with all sorts of things in it, including potato, onions, tomato, peas, beans, herbs, etc. Lisa continues to excel. Lisa and Leslie made two loaves of bread today, the favoured honey oat bread. Breakfast is typically egg sandwiches made with oat bread of course, lunch is variable for everyone, we’ve described dinner, but then Lisa makes up night packs for the night watch, consisting of a sandwich, raisins, granola bar, and some form of candy, to keep us going through the night.

Some more words of wisdom from the crew today:
Leslie - Can't wait to have a washing machine again
Carl – Spinnaker pole, hell yeah!
Don – Leslie made her first loaf of bread today
Lisa – Only wants to sail under a genoa
Andy – I don’t understand what these little birds are doing so far out to sea!
Raleigh – Don’t tell me when I have to pee and poo.

Keep the comments coming on the blog, but how come Raleigh gets all the correspondence!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Water, water everywhere, and not a drop….

We have finally given up the good life of La Paz and the wonderful El Pescadero and set sail for Never-Never land (well it feels like that anyway). A couple of days sailing down the coast to San Jose del Cabo where we berthed overnight, topped up the fuel and water and fixed the leak we had in one of the fresh water tanks – actually stayed an extra day as we found that the second main water tank also had a small leak.

Finally got away on the morning of May 20, and this water goes on forever!!

We have had reasonably small seas but very confused ones for the past week with the direction of the waves being very variable making travelling quite rough and unpleasant, particularly at night. Lisa has been cooking great meals although Andy might question that as he couldn’t keep them down for the first few days, and then one evening Lisa threw everyone’s dinner on the floor when a wave surprised her. Actually everyone was feeling a bit squeamish for the first couple of days, but have now settled down. A mixture of being at sea, and the trepidation and fear of what was ahead when we finally set sail. We are enjoying it now.

We have plenty of fresh water on board, with two main tanks in the bottom of the boat and a third one high up on the port side, and that one is driving us nuts as the water in it is slopping and crashing around with the waves so the sooner we empty that one the better.

We’ve had a few issues to deal with. One night the preventer rope, which holds the boom down to the deck and limits its movement, broke, but we had a backup already on it and were able to fix it the next day, and also managed to rip the mainsail, so Leslie and Andy got busy and stitched the rip up that day as well. Small incidents just to keep us all busy!!

We have seen very little sun since leaving Cabo, overcast all the time but no rain. There has been a small amount of sea life around, a couple of dolphins one day, but not a lot else. A lot of birdlife though and one large bird with blue feet (we think it is called a blue foot booby) spent 14 hours perched on the bow overnight yesterday and flew off in the morning.

We talk to Andy’s dad on the radio every day and he keeps us up to date with weather reports, etc

We have now been at sea for 1 week and travelled 1000 miles which is 1/3 of the way to The Marquesas, so we are on schedule.

To finish, here are some words of wisdom from the crew:

Carl – Seems like all I do is helm, eat, and sleep
Don – I didn’t think it was going to take this long
Leslie – Patching sails is easy when Andy is around to help
Lisa – I’d give anyone $50 to bring me a ‘whole-wheat everything’ bagel from Brooklyn Bagels
Andy – This is a long way to go for a croissant of questionable quality
Raleigh - Woof (translated - I'd give my next bone for a run in a park)

Till next time, from our happy crew living life on the ocean wave.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


A quick update before we leave. We have changed our original plan and will be skipping central America entirely. Now our big passage is from cabo to the marquesas. We leave on that one tomorrow. We will be hitting the spot twice a day, but (and this is important) the spot coverage map shows some spottiness in the south pacific so some may not come through. This is only the spot, none of our actual safety equipment has this potential issue. The passage should take anywhere from 18 to 30 days depending on wind. We are expecting 24 and hoping for less. Lisa has done a brilliant job of provisioning and we have packed well over 40 days worth of food on board. With one final topping up of water and fuel in the morning, we'll talk to in a month. The route map has been (quickly) updated, so you can see what is going on.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

"I'm covered in bees!" - Eddie Izzard

Leslie (belated tale from Paradise Village, Puerta Vallarta, Mexico): I was saying, A SWARM OF BEES (!!!) descends upon our radar, and Lisa and I go screaming into the boat, wondering what plague of doom has been sent to punish us for trying to sneak down the alligator slides after 9pm. This is very annoying because Andy has been making snacks and now we have to smuggle them outside to a bee-free trench to enjoy them. After taping up holes in the mast where bees have begun coming in, we manage to scramble out with wine, beers, and a plate of bruschetta, and find refuge at the end of the dock to watch the bees pirate the top of our mast and top of out radar. Passerbys rubberneck and offer advice: "Oh no! I've heard of this happening!" and "If you need a bee guy, I have a guy who took a giant hive of my mast last summer!" Finally, we have a plan of attack! Carl will put on his wetsuit, sailing gloves, cover his face and head with mosquito netting and be hoisted up to the top of the mast by Andy and Don, where he will then enrage the bees with a healthy spray of Raid. I am poised nearby with the hose to protect Don and Andy, but Andy gets stung twice (clearly, I am protecting Don better). Amazingly, it works like a charm, though we are cleaning up dead bees for the next two days, and killing a few refugees here and there. Anyhow, that's an old story.

Don preparing the warrior.
Full body view.
Lisa and I, laughing with Carl.
Bees swarming the mast (there are more than you see here!)
Lisa offers bee man a snack before battle!
Kill! Kill!
Why Don didn't get stung...why Andy did.
100 yard stares, battle scarred.
The casualties were far worse than this.
Stung in the forehead. Andy the rhino!

I'm writing from my phone, so I have no more finger strength to tell current events, other than we just returned from Pescadero / Todos Santos, which is, truly, paradise, and we are leaving for the Marquesas hopefully tomorrow. But all this info will come belatedly, so sit tight!

Monday, May 9, 2011

building nothing out of something

So as we venture out past the realm of extended vacations and into the world of life altering decisions, we appropriately find ourselves at the precipice of our biggest passage. Nothing defines conviction like commitment, and nothing defines commitment like time. We have spent enough time doing this for the wind and water to have eroded our softer bits leaving a stark contrast between enduring strengths and chasms of inadequacies. It's a hell of a thing, this trip. It's spending your days living in bar lighting and occasionally walking in front of a mirror in the harshest of fluorescents. It's sorting your dirty laundry in paradise. It's sifting through your own entrails at a dinner party. It's accepting your only way home is the way you make. It's rebuilding a house on fire.

I'm sure 9 of the 7 people who read this blog would much prefer I abandon the idle ramblings for a more informative and practical approach, but I hate that shit. Sorry. Blogger stinks for video so we made a youtube channel. I'll try to get a bunch of stuff up before we head out for the Marquesas.
San Blas