08/18/2009, kafalonia, greece
Sitting next to a fountain with big goldfish and watching a couple look over the railing at the water and fishes... the gentleman happens to be on the clock at this wonderful little greek establishment.
Yes GReek. and it is all greek to me, except the sailing. it is beautiful. The Cyclades, our first landing into GReece, has some fierce winds this time of year. A high pressure builds in Russian and pushes a strong wind down through the Cyclades Islands at an average rate of 28 knots. That means that at times we were caught in 45-50 kts of wind. This is a lot of wind even for a double reefed main and double reefed inner jib. Another day at the office.
We are now sailing a 62' Sunreef. The 65' Privilege that took us safely across the Pacific is in our past. We were offered a position in the Med on a charter boat....which is great because now we are running a business together per say.
So far we have faced the Meltemi of the Cyclades. We had two americans on charter who brought with them two road bikes and 8 bottles of very expensive red wine. We trucked them all over the Cyclades dropping and picking up in great locations. The Meltemi wind is something to consider none the less. The strong wind down from Russia. The boat goes great but there was a builders flaw that creates a heaving, buckling effect in the sole of the main salon. The floor lifts 4-8 inches on any given 2-3 meter wave. We have learned to stay away from a close haul on Zahora during Force 7 or 8. Fall off, fall off.... not off the boat, off the wind. We don't go too close to the wind in force 7+...
As for us. We are getting used to the boat and working the boat together. By now we are much clearer about our roles on board. To the point we have to leave our jobs to actually go see each other. No doubt things are getting done here. I always get real close to Amy around dinner. She is cooking up some creative stuff that is delicious. Bravo my lovely wife. Bravo
We miss our family. A strange relationship with the sub conscious though. We seem to be thinking about our friends and family throughout the day. Small thought but very clear. Just goes to show how basic these people are to our life.
More to come everybody. Sorry we have not been keeping up on this one. Good night from the peaceful waters of the Ionian Islands. We just finished a charter with a Spanish group. They had a great time, very dynamic group.
The photo was a night in Athens from our cheap hotel room. Just so happened it was on the roof top..... Beautiful view of the Acroplis...
06/07/2009, 1700 miles from Marquesis
Heading into our 7-1 am watch the sky was clear with a Full Moon. Amy took the first watch and let me catch come rest in the cool breeze of th cockpit. We swapped places and she bathed in the soft moon light with the seas following and a gentle breeze to keep us moving along.
Amy spotted her first whale 2 days ago. Ever since then she keeps coming up to me and whispering..." I want to see another whale now." We are moving along steadily. The passage from Galapagos has been smooth except for two sail snaffoos. Our big genikker and our big spinnaker.... both had problems on the first set. With following wind we can reallly use it now. The team onboard has been working together to get things patched up and hopefully flying the spinnaker again tomorrow. The repair included sewing, splicing new line and fiberglass repair of the sock ring. Oh yes. Fiberglass. Be sure to dust off really well afterwards and take of the old clothes.
Food rationing has begun. The fresh veggies are dwindling and yet all the meals today looked like Amy is working with a grocery store. There has been a mexican cuisine theme lately. Fish tacos, tortilla casserole, fresh caught tuna with avocado dressing... We are doing well here.
The weather is calling for lighter winds tomorrow from behind us. This is going to be great for the spinnaker. The big sail also offers a nice sun shade in the afternnoon as we head west.....
Our thoughts are constantly reaching out to you all as we roll along the big blue. Send us your thoughts, we'd love to hear from you.
Fair winds and following seas....
Shawn and Amy
05/28/2009, San Cristobal, Galapagos
Yes, we are in another hemisphere folks. And though we are practically on the equator, the weather has been cool and pleasant. We have recently returned from the Island of Isabella where we traveled by horseback to the largest volcano, visited the stomping grounds of endemic penguins, even a little leisure with breakfast in bed..... Hooray Isabella for preserving your natural environment and respectful community. It was a truly beautiful place to visit.
Today, Amy and Shawn are in town picking up a few things before we depart this afternoon for the Marquesis Islands, such as, heavy duty drano for the toilettes, and coffee, picked and roasted in the Galapagos. In addition, Shawn is contacting service for the inverter and watermaker. When you are crossing an ocean for a month its best to make all the part orders in advance. The hope is to have the parts waiting for us when we arrive in Tahiti.
Across the internet cafe, Amy is searching veraciously for a place to stay when we arrive in Tahiti. If one can do some leg work before arriving in these paradise locations you are going to have an easier time of matching your experience with your dreams. Of course, we are always leaving room for serendipity!
Great wind, the boat is fit and the crew is ready to be out on the open water again.
Peace and Safe Passages to Everybody.
Shawn and Amy
p.s.... the sea lions are like children here. They don't like to be woken up and when they are awake they are full of playful energy. The marina is full of lively sea lions. We have to remind ourselves we are not a a sea park...
05/08/2009, Shelter Bay Marina
As we are preparing to transit the Panama today. We wait for our transit time from Cristobal Signal, the authority.
All morning we heard a wild noise from the dense forest that surronds the marina. We have taken two trips into the forest searching for MONKEYS! In the hot air, they are slumber. Their hands droop over branches as they rest in the shade of tall tropical trees. Watch our feet while you are looking up into the jungle gym of trees, there is a good chance you are probably standing in the middle of a major ant transit highway. This is fascinating to watch. The size of their cargo is easily 8 times larger than them. Where they began and where they go is much farther from the other than you might ever imagine. The ants cause me to think about the work done by Egyptians when they built the pyramids. Nonetheless, we have enjoyed visiting our cousins in the lush greeen forest....
There is an excitment on board today. We have a transit time and all the crew and supplies to make the passage safely. When we enter into the Locks we will have 6 plus 1 extra line handler and a pilot.
You can watch the web cams from your computer at: http://www.pancanal.com/eng/photo/camera-java.html
You can actually see us passing through the Locks!
Our schedule is this:
8 May 2009 1830 Enter Locks for transit south. Check webcam.
We will anchor this night in Gatun Lake and depart tomorrow for the Centennial Bridge and the Milaflores Locks. I will post a note tomorrow for those details.
Panama is warm. The crew is excited. The boat is ready. Pictures will be posted after the transit of the Canal.
04/19/2009, WADERICK WELLS CAY
PIZZA SUNDAY. PARKED IN A SPECIAL PLACE. EXUMA SEA PARK. LONG CHAIN OF MOORINGS IN A NARROW CHANNEL, SAND FLATS ON BOTH SIDES OF THE CHANNEL. CHECK IT OUT ON GOOGLE EARTH.
UNDERWAY, AMY MADE SOME DELICIOUS PIZZA. TRY TO SAUTE VEGETABLES IN SALT. NO OIL NEEDED. YUMM.
SASCHA AND CAMERON MARTINEDELL WILL BE JOINING THE BOAT IN 5 DAYS!!! wE ARE VERY EXCITED TO HAVE THEM ON BOARD.......
NOTE OF THE DAY. THE ENGINE ROOM IS A GREAT PLACE TO EXPRESS YOURSELF WITH PROLIFIC LANGUAGE WHEN TRYING TO FIX THE ELECTRICAL SYSTEM...... AND GOOD PIZZA FIXES EVERYTHING. ; )
BIG HELLO TO YOU ALL. WE ARE THINKING OF YOU ALWAYS.
SHAWN AND AMY
04/15/2009, Big Major Spot
Everybody seems to like things a certain way. Eggs over easy, toast slightly browned, ice or no ice in their water... On the boat we have tried to get everything working smoothly; keeping the boat safe while having everybody getting their "toast" the way they want it. Well today we learned that chocolate chip cookies are fairly new to the family.
I returned with half of the group from town to find Amy and Helene (11 year old daughter) baking chocolate chip cookies. When the cookies reached the table there was a silence for a moment, then there was a question. " Was this hard to make?"
Hi everybody. As you can see, we have not left all the comforts for a life at sea. We have been sailing the chain of bahamas called the Exumas. They chain separates the sand banks from the open sound. You can pass between some of the islands with careful navigation searching for fish in the sound or calm waters on the bank side. The chain of islands are covered with incredible beaches and wonderful coves for a quiet night.
People have been coming and going. The kids are full of activity and the youngest has finally let go of the boat to kick free in the water. Amy was the first to have her swimming free. I was so proud of her that I sketched her name in the nearby beach at our last anchorage. KATIA **
We have been working hard and getting ready for a big passage to Panama Canal at the end of April. Any possible chance we get we grab a swim or some sleep. In times when the small sailing dinghy is in the water we have taken 15 minutes to sail in the evening after the sun is down and everybody is asleep. It reminds us of walking around the block at home. Even a little voyerism takes place while we sail around the other boats..... We are thinking about you all...... Big hugs everybody.
03/16/2009, Atholl Island, Bahamas
We all know the well known adage, "there are many ways to skin a cat". And though we have hopefully never done it we still know its meaning. This leads me to say there are many ways to jump in the water from the back of the boat.
Yesterday, Sunday, we departed the swanky marina and went searching for our own piece of sand in the lee of a quiet island; hanging on our very own anchor, clear from all coral head or resting starfish. (We literally changed our anchorage for the life of a beautiful golden starfish.) The following morning we woke to the crystal blue surrounding us in every direction. The next obvious thing to do was to run back inside and grab our suits and goggles, oh and our niffty new underwater camera.
Amy and I have demonstrated two ways of entering the water. My first inclination when I walked down onto the swim platform which sits just 5 inches off the water was to simply walk straight off the edge and plunge into the "refreshing" 80 degree water. I was completely and thoroughly sure of the place we had finally arrived after nearly 2 months of organizing, packing, plane flights, beating to windward through the night and long watches. I took my opportunity and walked staight off. Down I went. Salty bubbles everywhere. Ahhhhh.
I looked back to the boat expecting Amy to be jumping joyfully right behind me.... Amy had made the mistake of dipping her legs into the pool first. She was now wrapping herself with her arms and wondering how to cross this bridge. Knowing herself well she had now tell herself why she had come here and literally walk the plank.!!!!
Although it sounds warm, 80 degrees is chilli when you have jumped staight out of bed.
Many ways to jump in. mOre to come.