The Adventures of Alexandra and David

Who: David & Alexandra
Port: Halifax, Nova Scotia
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The Banyan Love is Growing.

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Our friends Paul and Sheryl Shard, of Distant Shores, are incredible producers of their very own TV Show.

If you haven't already, check them out.

Their DVD's are informative and fun to watch as they travel to all four corners of the world.

You might even find Banyan in some of them!!
20 November 2017 | Somewhere on the Atlantic Ocean
22 October 2017
20 October 2017
11 September 2017
02 September 2017 | Winkler, MB
20 June 2017 | Aa
13 June 2017
22 March 2017 | Eleuthera, Bahamas
14 March 2017 | Great Guana Cay and Oven Rock Cave, Exumas, Bahamas
07 March 2017 | Sampson Cay,
04 March 2017 | St Augustine, Florida
20 February 2017 | Hog Cay, Warderick Wells, Exuma Land and Sea Park

Trans Atlantic Crossing Part Two: Preparing and Provisioning

22 November 2017
A FoodFest on the Atlantic Ocean
It can be a pleasure, or a dreaded chore (pending your personal course), however one thing's for sure, a big portion (no puns intended) of our lives revolve around the preparation (and eating) of food. Sometimes the best ingredients that make up our memories emerge from the kitchen cupboards. The smells that waft out of the pot that's getting stirred, or the oven door that's being opened, can instantly send our tummies into a half-baked frenzy, non?

We're in the midst of delivering a Luxurious 50 foot Catamaran, SY Zao, with longtime friends Paul & Sheryl Shard (Distant Shores). Along with us are Dan (a professionally trained Chef from Chicago) and Craig (a police officer from Ottawa).

We departed Las Palmas on November 12th, and we're enjoying the Motion of the Ocean, as we make our way towards Saint Lucia. You can bet your stovetop burner, that if we weren't talking 'bout weather, we were surely talking about food, and if we weren't talking 'bout food? We were eating it!

You can read all about how our Adventure, that wasn't even part of a planned Adventure, began, HERE. Our Passage is being chronicled in a Four Part Series of Blogs: Link to Part One: A Personal Passaging Perspective

What follows hereunder is Part Two: Preparing and Provisioning Blog.

Disclaimer & Reader Beware: We highly suggest you Proceed with your own Fork and Plate of Food in Hand for this Blog is the Full Meal Deal, with Appetizers and Dessert. Do not attempt the reading of these words, or the looking at the corresponding photos, if you're even the slightest bit hungry. We are not responsible for any HANGRY outbursts (but we welcome them, so comment away!)

In truth, we didn't just sail our way across the Atlantic, we ate our way across the Atlantic. This was one serious Food Cruise!

****

I woke up with the sun, and listened to the sounds around me. We were in calm seas, and the water bubbling along the hullls was making rhythmic swooshing sounds. The auto-helm machinery, located right by my head, was groaning and grinding it's habitual course. I was alone in the extra large bed, and I turned over to gaze out the three panels of windows, seeing nothing but the passing of waters and upwards? Skies of blue.

It's going to be a gorgeous day, I think to myself, as I head into the shower. I hear Dave and Paul chitchatting and laughing upstairs, probably planning another PPFT**. I relish a few extra minutes in the shower, selfishly enjoying the hot water, and need to remind myself that despite all the luxuries this boat has, I still need to turn the water off between Soapings and Shampooings. Navy Showers Dave likes to call them.

"Good morning" I sing-songed as I entered the salon. Dave, ever thoughtful, had the water boiled and so it was with a steaming hot cup of coffee that I walked out into the cockpit, breathing in the morning air, and looking around me at the endless vastness of water and sky. The creamy white clouds nestled in the morning skies, sort of like dumplings in a bouillabaisse of blue. I wondered just what ingredient is found in the salty air that makes one so hungry?

Craig was sitting at the Helm with earphones on. Not wanting to disturb his listening, I came back into the Galley, where Paul was busy cleaning up from their shift.

"Are you hungry?" Paul asked, "I'm making Egg McBimbo's"
Dave's eyebrow quirked up as he questioned "Egg McBimbo?"
"Sure!" Said Paul. "Fried Egg, some ham, and a slice of cheese?"
Not needing to be asked twice, we both answered "yes please" without hesitation and then watched the process unfold.

The bags of bread we had bought in Las Palmas were branded "Bimbo" and the why of that totally escapes me.

Bimbo Bread

Paul placed a couple slices in the toaster, commenting that Bimbo bread is well known among European cruisers to be just as fresh on Day One of a Long Passage, as it is on the Last Day of the Long Passage. We won't mention Preservatives?

The toast popped up lightly browned, and Paul buttered one slice, added the fried egg from one frying pan, and some warmed ham slices from the other frying pan. Next? A slice of cheese, and then he topped it all off with the other slice of buttered toast. Voila!

Paul's EggMcBimbo's became quite the speciality with no copyright infringements and available almost every morning as we sailed through the Blue Ocean Arches of Calm Atlantic Waters.

It was Time for our Watch and Dave donned his PFD, heading out to relieve Craig, who was eager to get to bed. Since Paul had made breakfast, I shooed him away from doing the dishes, so he too could get as much shut-eye as possible.

I cleared the countertop, and added some water to the sink, Navy Style, right? As I performed the routine task of washing dishes in warm sudsy waters my mind drifted back to the days before departure.

There was so much to do on our first days onboard. Before we could even think about filling up galley cupboards, we had to fill up the fuel tanks. SY Zao's three fuel tanks combined have a range of about 2500 nautical miles, enough to drive us (almost) all the way across the Atlantic Ocean.

While fuelling at the marina, Paul and John weighed in on the weight issue that full fuel tanks might cause us during our passage. Since we didn't plan on motoring the whole way, we didn't want to be too heavy, and forecasting plenty tradewinds, they made the decision to only partially fill the tanks. Leaving the front fuel tank almost empty, and only filling the rear two fuel tanks 2/3 full.

Back at the marina, with SY Zao's fuel thirst partially taken care of, Sheryl and I concentrated on the how's of filling the bare cupboards. While stirring our respective ideas of ingredients, it was a relief, but not really a surprise, to discover that we were on the same culinary page. We sat down at the salon table and with pen in hand, and started The List.

"Would you like a cup of tea?" Asked John, the owner of SY Zao, interrupting the planning.

Tea-time is a serious tradition in some households, and one not to be scoffed with (pun intended) Dave and Paul took a break as well, and we all congregated around the salon table, catching up to each other's progress. We had to make sure there were no food issues, so we double checked with Craig and Dan, who were busy unpacking, and other than a few items (borderline vegetarian for Craig, peanut butter, pop and Monster), there were no special requests, concerns or allergies.

"So, is it milk first, then tea?" I teasingly asked John as the kettle was boiling, "or is it tea, then milk?"
"Well, it's milk first" John replied with true British accent "this way it doesn't stain the teacup."

Tea time over, it was back to work. Paul and Dave, along John, continued to inspect and discuss the many complex systems of this new Bluewater Catamaran.



Dan and Craig had gone in search of some WiFi as Dan had brought his IridiumGo, and was trying to get it set up. And as for Sheryl and I? We lathered ourselves with sunscreen, made sure we sported our most comfortable shoes, grabbed our Lists and went shopping!

Walking through the marina, Sheryl pointed out the various chandleries and facilities for the Yachties. We stopped by The Arc office to say hello, and get the list of activities in place for the participants. Las Palmas was the departure point for many TransAtlantic cruisers, and the Arc fee allowed participating in daily seminars, happy hours, weather briefs, etc. Although we were a press boat for this Passage, we attended one such seminar, "Eating Oceans, Provisioning for an Atlantic Crossing".

Arc Ocean Crossing Seminar

Sheryl's experience with numerous TransAtlantic passages were a bonus, she had an eight-crossing perfected strategy in place.




Given SY Zao's speed and the roughly 3000 miles facing us, we estimated a passage of approx two weeks. Our provisioning needs were then a multiple of that and six, the number of people onboard. That gave us a quantity to work with.

The method to our the madness in creating our Lists used one week's worth of meal ideas: breakfast, lunch and dinner, complete with snacks and desserts, for six people. Then roughly doubling it for our two week passage. And then? We added (approx) 50% more! That extra 50% would allow for food spoilage as well as factor in provisions for a passage longer than the calculated 15 days.

There are a few important items needed to sustain life, two of them are Food and Water. The absence of either or would make for quite an unpleasant journey. And so, we made sure that our list provided for emergency situations. We wanted to have meals that could be Ready to Eat, canned, or edible raw. Foods that did not require heating and would sustain us in case our stove broke, or we ran out of propane. And even though we had a watermaker, we needed to plan for "just in case" it broke. The magic number used in calculating our water stores was 3L of water per person, per day. This included drinking, cooking and washing.

Take Eggs, for example. Even though we knew we wouldn't be eating eggs every day, we did calculate one per person per day, times 15. And a few extra, for baking, or spoilage, just in case. Thankfully eggs here, unlike North America, are not refrigerated**. We bought well over 100 eggs, and the cardboard flats were kept in the dark cupboard. Sheryl would inspect them, and turn them over, every day during her Noon-Time Watch.

Yogurt? Same calculation. One per person, per day, times 15. We really didn't buy 90 (plus) individual tubs of yogurt, that would be quite silly! So we got roughly half that number in individual serving sizes, but then bought a few larger tubs of plain. This was not only cheaper, but served a dual purpose. The plain yogurt would allow us to use it as a starter in case we wanted to make our own yogurt. Not knowing the exact tastes of everyone, the plain yogurt was a perfect solution. It could be dressed with various fresh fruit or canned fruit. Not to mention jams, or honey, or granola to make your own desired flavour.

So Sheryl and I walked and shopped. Stop for lunch and a refreshment.



And then shopped and walked. And came home for supper. And then we did it again. And again. For THREE AND A HALF DAYS we walked and shopped, and shopped and walked, pushing grocery carts up and down aisles of the three major stores: Corte Ingles, Hyper Dino and The Market.

By far, our favourite was Hyper Dino. It was close to the marina, they delivered, and there were discounts. The more you bought, the more you saved! Corte Ingles used to support The Arc, but as we paid for our order, we found out that they don't anymore, and they didn't deliver either! So we had to call a Taxi, which entailed getting the carts of food across the busy street and to the taxi stand. And then from the marina parking lot, down the dinghy docks and to the boat. Without wheelbarrows.

We thirstied up on liquids: UHT milk, and juices (our favourite? Don Simon!), pop and water. We canned up on corn and peas and mushrooms. We jarred up on chick peas and hot dogs and marinated slaws. We stockpiled pouches of rices and oatmeal and pastas. We grabbed boxes of cereal and crackers and granola bars. We froze our fingers as we grabbed bags of blueberries and ready made just bake pizzas and potato quiches out of the freezer aisles. There were cold cuts and cheeses. We seasoned things up with mustards and pickles and Navy Gravy (aka ketchup!). There was apples and oranges and grapes. There was carrots and cabbage and salads. We drooled over flour and sugar and baking powder and yeast. We spiced up our lives with salt and pepper and herbs. We snacked up on Chips and Nuts and Chocolate. We oiled up on Olive and Coconut and regular oil. We cleaned up the aisles with paper towels, toilet paper and dish soap.

Sheryl had the foresight to include some comfort factor items: HandiWipes, and mini pouches of Kleenex to stick in one's pocket. Moisturizer. Laundry Soap. Garbage Bags, and ZipLock bags. And even Condensed Milk and Borax in the extreme case of {{ shudder }} cockroaches.

Craig came with us one afternoon, to film some footage for his YouTube channel, which you can watch
here : Cruising Off Duty Preparing for the passage, Ep104.

Dan, a professionally trained Chef, came with us a few times, or met us there, to help with not only ideas, but the work of it all! Pushing the many carts that we filled to overflowing to the side, and coming back with an empty one, so we could start all over again.



The most interesting place was The Market, bustling with stalls of booths of the freshest of fresh fruits and vegetables. We stopped at one of the Meat Stalls, and the young man emerged from behind the glass array displaying a multitude of cuts and meats, remembering Sheryl from a couple of years ago, and greeting her with a big hug. He handed her the multipage form, along with a pen, and we sat down with a fresh coffee and starting our order. Just how much is 5 lbs of ground beef? Would it feed the 6 of us for one meal? Do we need more? How big a roast should we get? The questions went on and on. Having our list helped us to go through it quickly, about the time it took us to drink our coffee! When we handed in our Order, they confirmed that they could in fact prepare it.

Orders were packaged according to our specifications (6 chicken breasts, for example, in one portion) vacuum sealed and deep frozen, times two (two chicken-based meals in 15 days). We were leaving before (m)any of the ARC orders were even being placed, which is probably what helped to have our order delivered to the marina in three days!

"Good morning!" said Dan sleepily as he came up from below, interrupting my dreams of food carts gone from full to empty and into the reality of dishwater gone cold.
"I'm downloading the weather files..." he yawned as he logged into the program.
"Great!" I said, "Dave is anxious to see them. He's just below tackling the power and water".

Dan turned to breakfast (peanut butter on Bimbo bread, of course!) and before long Dave, finished with the Power and Water making checks, joined Paul and Craig at the computer. Other than meals, analyzing the weather patterns and looking for wind were daily tasks. We were all so appreciative of Dan's IridiumGo, which downloaded the heavy grib files twice daily.



"Morning..." said Sheryl with a smile, as she emerging from her cabin. "I thought I would make pizzas and a salad for lunch?"
"Sounds great" I answered from the helm station, my tummy rumbling in agreement.
"And we have some hamburger meat to use..." she added, to which I suggested "How about spaghetti with meat sauce for supper?"
"Sounds perfect and just what I was thinking as well" she responded. Paul, coming up from his rest, added "How about some Garlic Bread with that?"

And since we had ready to bake baguettes, we had garlic bread. And some leftover Bimbo bread got toasted and drizzled with herbs and spices and olive oil to make croutons for the salad.





Sheryl and I had drifted into a comfortable pattern. If she made lunch, I would make supper. And vice versa. We noticed that during the first week, when it was cold(er) out and we hadn't quite acclimatized to the hobby horse motion of a catamaran, we were resorting to comfort foods.



As everyone seemed to be awake around lunchtime, we made that the main meal of the day. We focused on hearty soups and stews, made in the pressure cooker, with leftovers serving up the cold night-watch crews with something hearty and warm.

On the first day out we kept it simple. Sheryl's perfect suggestion for Day One at Sea, when everyone's tummies were a little queasy? A baked potato, with butter and sour cream and all the trimmings, including bacon bits and parsley.

baked potato

And so life on Passage soon became a Rhythm of Watches revolving around gatherings at the table, either in the salon, or the cockpit, where we shared tidbits of our lives as we feasted over food.

We laughed about how we had all that canned food, and then went on the hunt for a can opener, only to realize that SY ZAO's kitchen drawers didn't have one. What a Thankful Twist of Fate when we realized that all cans that we had bought, were pull-tabs. We laughed as we remembered how we spent hours looking for a store that sold Peanut Butter, something that is not a staple in Europe, and the small jars we had managed to find, lasted for all of one serving. We remembered how we had bought some small bags of herbs (oregano, rosemary), and stored them somewhere where we never found them until almost the end of the Passage. We giggled when we realized that with all the importance of daily tea breaks, we didn't buy nearly enough tea, but once again SY Zao personal stores came to the rescue, revealing a box of teabags that we confiscated before there was mutiny. And why did we think that one bottle of Ketchup was enough for 6 people for two weeks.

Oh, the Food! There was Shepherds Pie. And Jambalaya. And Shrimp and Chorizo Sausage Paella. There was Pasta with Meat Sauce and Pasta with Meatballs.

Sheryl made Shrimp a la King.





We had tuna salad, or cold cuts/cheese and everyone could prep their own sandwiches when hungry, or when awake, whichever came first. One day Dan served up some Chicago style meatball subs on freshly toasted baguettes. All those meals not to be outdone by good ole Hot Dogs from a jar.



With Bimbo hot-dog buns, of course.



Craig offered up to make some Chili one night, but as there wasn't enough hamburger meat in the package, so he browned the stewing beef instead. I peeled and diced the potatoes and vegetables, added the meat, herbs and spices and seasonings, and pressured it into a hearty Irish Stew.

Even though on a Long Passage, you can quickly loose track of days, we always planned for Sunday dinners. Except for that one time when the Roast Beast didn't thaw in time so we had a (un)Sunday Dinner on Tuesday.



Paul and Sheryl made Yorkshire Pudding which needed watching and vigilance, as SY Zao had no muffin tins and we had to improvise.



Taking it out of the oven at just the right time! Doesn't it look good?



Ah, sliced roast beast, combined with loads of gravy and vegetables.



It was a meal fit for a Kingly crew on a TransAtlantic Passage.

Dan, a trained chef from Chicago, produced some excellent surprises. During his Night Watch, he made up some dough, and that morning, Dave and I emerged to find Cinnamon buns waiting on the counter.

Desserts? Why of course! Apple Crisp, Apple-Pear Crisp, Apple-Blueberry Crisp



or Ready to Eat



"Today is American Thanksgiving" said Sheryl one day. Which we just had to celebrate, for Dan's sake, of course! The chicken breasts were going to be stuffed with Dave's Famous Stuffing, and we were kept busy planning the many side dishes, but as the vacuum sealed bags defrosted, we noticed that the portions looked a little less like breasts and a little more like strips? Where was the camera that day where we had to come up with a Plan B hand Stat? Dave proceeded with his stuffing, and instead of stuffed chicken breasts we dreamt up a stuffed chicken strip casserole.



Layers of seasoned chicken strips were placed in the dish, then the stuffing,



and then topped with the remaining chicken strips, and baked!



Dessert that day? Pears with cranberry sauce



"Dan, can you text your wife?" I asked one day. "If she's around and near some WiFi, I could use her help? "
"Sure" he said, as he was sitting at the helm, tending to his watch., "I'll check"
"I copied a recipe into my app, but three ingredient quantities didn't save, and I don't have the right measurements" I said, by way of explanation.

Thanks to the technology that reached us here in the middle of the Big Blue, it wasn't long before I had my ingredient quantities, and was busy in the galley making crepes, and custard. Layering them was easy, and they all assembled into one high rise of a Boston Cream Crepe Cake. Dan concocted up some special icing, and piped in the Discover logo. What a team!



I snapped back into the moment as Dave relieved me at the Helm, and I went back inside to join Sheryl with the checking of provisions. Every few days we would verify all supplies in the fridge, freezer and cupboards: taking notes of what was left, what needed using, and re-stocking supplies at the same time.

I was immensely glad that I had taken the time at the beginning, and in between all that shopping, to deal with each item before it got put away.



For example, cereal bags got removed from the cardboard box it came in. Granola bars were removed from their cardboard box. Any and all excess packaging was disposed of immediately while we still had access to garbage bins.



While I had been doing that, Sheryl had spent the time washing all the fruits and vegetables



so as not to bring any bugs on board,



She wrapped each and every lemons and oranges and grapefruits individually with tin foil, in the hopes that any mold would not spread.

SY Zao housed one large fridge in the galley, and another even larger fridge/freezer in the Master Cabin (port pontoon), with plenty cupboard room to stockpile two weeks worth of provisions of three meals a day for six people.

The day of our Departure, right after Dave's Safety Brief, I offered up a Galley Brief to all. I explained the whereabouts of all provisions, with the hopes that everyone could dig in and help themselves. The last item served up (pardon that pun!) was a discussion on Garbage!

For anyone who has ever done a lengthy passage knows, with sun and heat, there can soon be unmistakeable whiffs of Odorous Things. Any items housing food (juice boxes or yogurt for example) should be washed out, the container flattened and only then should it be put in the garbage! Any food waste (eggshells, peels and coffee grounds for example) went overboard.

"Lunch-time" announced Sheryl, "Pizza's on!"



We grabbed our plates and hungrily faced a choice of three different, freshly baked pizza's. As well as a large bowl of salad.

And as we sat down, Dave asked Paul: "Have you noticed the Fuel Levels?"

Turns out SY Zao was a little thirstier than we had anticipated. But that's a Dish best served Next Meal, this one's getting cold. Cheers!


...

** Eggs! North America, in an effort to sterilize and offer consumers a clean(er) product, started washing the eggs with a solution. That solution actually removed natural products from the egg, so the egg then had to be coated with another solution, which needs to be refrigerated. In the Caribbean Islands and Europe, eggs are NOT refrigerated.

** PPFT: Stay tuned for Part 3 where I fully disclose all the PPFT's en route!

** Interested in the Boston Cream Cake Recipe? I'll include it in my last Blog Post of this Series.

Credit: Photo credit given to Distant Shores, Dan and Craig for whatever photos appear here that are not mine.

TransAtlantic Crossing Part One: Perspectives

20 November 2017 | Somewhere on the Atlantic Ocean
Would YOU cross an ocean? Ever? On a boat? If you were a sailor and had a boat? Or even if you didn't, but perhaps had friends who had one and then received an invite? Would YOU do it?

Believe me, we never had plans to do so, but somehow fate, and friends (and perhaps The Universe) intervened. You can read all about how our Adventure, that wasn't even part of a planned Adventure, began HERE

What follows will be a Four Part Series of Blogs. Where we give you the honest nitty gritty scoop of what life was like as we set a record breaking passage (more on that later), Published as Follows:

Part 1: A Personal Passaging Perspective
Part 2: Provisioning and Preparing
Part 3: Participating and Playing while Passaging
Part 4: A Retrospective Perspective.

We're looking forward to sharing our story with you. Mostly we're looking forward to your comments (hint, hint!)

****
Part 1: A Personal Passaging Perspective

The sun is slowly rising in the pale morning skies, the haze hiding any hope of seeing the would be bright blues overhead. Everything is obscured by a beige shade of dusty-ness. Minute by minute and mile by mile, we are passaging ahead and away from it. It's early in my watch and I'm sitting comfortably on the Capt'N's seat, scanning the horizon around me and sipping my morning cup of coffee.

I enjoy it up here and I marvel at just how well I can see from this vantage point. I had always thought that the driving stations from the Catamaran might be uncomfortable, not made for a short gal like me! But this past week I've found it's just the opposite, the view all around me is quite spectacular. I gaze around and see nothing but an endless vastness of deep blue waters below me, waters that seem to touch the dust filled skies on the horizon, and fade away into an endless marriage water and sky singing the Saharan Blues.



As has been the norm for the past few days, I see no signs of concern, anywhere. I blink, refocus my eyes, and scan the horizon again. Even though the waves are small, it's easy to miss something that might endanger us. I see nothing on my second sweep. Satisfied, I look down at the chartplotter, checking for any AIS contacts. With none around, I take another sip of my coffee, realize my cup is empty, and place it in the cup holder, conveniently located on the dash. Satisfied we're safe, my mind wanders to my being here and doing something I never thought I'd be doing. Crossing an Ocean!

Many many moons ago the thought of crossing an ocean had never even entered my mind. There was a time when I didn't know how to sail, unaware that a lifestyle such as this even existed. Then I met Dave, who shared a similar dream of exploring this world we live in, and he had The How: A Boat! Who knew then that we'd be where we are today: Crossing an Ocean!

"Want another coffee?" asked Dave, interrupting my dreaming.
"Sure, I'd love one" I replied, handing him my empty cup, and returning to my reveries, great memories of our time sailing around the Caribbean.

Ah the beautiful Caribbean waters.



They were so familiar to me now. I thought back longingly to all the islands we'd sailed to and from. And I remember the many times I'd get asked:

"Ever think of sailing across the Atlantic?" as talk with fellow cruisers around the cockpit revealed everyone's plans, some would venture further: "Or head to Panama, cross the Pacific?"

Crossing an Ocean! Such Big Words. We live on a planet that's over 75% water. Our lands are quite minuscule compared to the big bodies of water that surround us. Many people circumnavigate; some to get to the other side. To explore new places, have new adventures, visit different lands. Others cross for the simple thrill of the crossing.

I smiled as I remembered how earlier that day Sheryl had told us that there was quite a large group of British Yachties that put a TransAtlantic crossing on their Bucket List, just to have the passage under the belt of their RED PANTS! Who Knew?

So what was I really doing sitting here in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean when I never ever wanted to do such a thing? Was it Fear? The ultimate driving force of much (in)action. The Fear of the What If's are huge!! What if... weather! What if? Something Goes Wrong? The worst case scenario always rears its fearsome ugly head, and roars. For some it's too loud and pfft... there goes the dream. For others, fear can be the adrenaline that is needed to drive the adventure. For Me? It wasn't the fear, I just didn't, at the moment, have any desire to get to the other side, or have the notch under my belt!

So to answer the questions as to whether I would want to cross an Ocean, I would always shake my head in the negative, and reply, quite honestly: "Nope, not me, not right now. I have absolutely no desire to cross an Ocean."

A long time ago I read somewhere that it is best when thinking or speaking, to avoid the use of the word "no". The negative state of words or thoughts. The Universe, always seeking to deliver, doesn't understand the word no, and as such, affirmations should always be thought, and spoken in the positive. For example, you can say to someone as they're heading out the door to the store: "Don't forget to get the eggs." And what happens? They come back, having forgotten to get the eggs. A better way to talk would be: "Please remember to get the eggs". It's a much better, more positive way, to BE. Try it, see what happens!

So back to vehemently stating that nope, I have absolutely no desire to cross an Ocean. Gee, I wonder what The Universe heard? Cross. An. Ocean. And immediately seeked to deliver. Which is how The Universe was seeing me now, probably very proud, I would say. And which is how I was feeling. Rather darn proud of myself. Something in me had surfaced, a desire that I didn't even know I had. Who knew?

Coming back to land, er, sea... I scanned the horizon, first one way and then the other, completing a grid-like pattern. And then did it again, a 3rd time. Overkill? Perhaps, but I'd rather be sure, than not. I loved being on the water, gazing outwards at the blue waters, feeling the air. There was a freedom in all of it. I zoomed in and out on the chartplotter, confirming we were on course, and that there were no contacts around. I checked the time, and noted I had another two hours to go on my watch.

Ah, watches! With a crew of 6 onboard, we had split ourselves into groups of two, with four hour watches apiece. Paul & Sheryl, along with Dave and I, were experienced monohull sailors and familiar with the concept of long(er) term cruising, passaging and watches, although of the four, I was the only one who had not crossed an ocean. Neither had the other two crew members, Craig and Dan, who were relative newbies and looking for experience.

We had debated doing a revolving-dog-watch type of system where the hours would be uneven, thus allowing everyone to experience a different time-of-day watch. We quickly realized that the fixed four hour watches per group suited everyone better. Sheryl commented that in her experience, the body adapts adapts quicker to a consistent routine.

We also found that our watch times worked perfectly with our respective duties. Dave was responsible for the genset and the watermaker so we got the 8 a.m. to noon (and the 8 p.m. to midnight) watch. Sheryl and Dan had the noon to 4 p.m. and given they were both night-owls, they really didn't mind the midnight to 4 a.m. watch. The added benefit to these watch times was that they allowed both Sheryl and I to join forces in the management of the galley during the day, and allowed Paul and Dave to coordinate the daily routine maintenance, nicknamed PPFT (more on that, later!). With that said, Paul and Craig were left to take the of 4 a.m. to 8 a.m. (and same time in the p.m.)

So this! This was my morning watch. A time where I found myself solely and uniquely responsible for this boat. And in some small way, the safety of the crew. Responsible for keeping us on course, monitoring our sails, watching for sights and listening for sounds that don't belong and might signal danger.



"Thanks hun" I said to Dave, as he handed me my coffee. He disappeared back below to check the systems. Dave would run the generator for approx 1.5 to two hours ensuring the batteries were topped up, charging our electronics, etc. At the same time, he would run the watermaker. The idea was to make what the 6 of us used (approx 50 gallons), per day. Having the water tanks as empty as possible would ensure that we would not be "slowed down" by the added weight of all that water.

So all this kept Dave busy operating and checking all systems, during every watch, every day. And the reason I found myself alone at the helm at this very moment. I took a sip of the deliciously hot coffee and reflected on how our shared experiences had brought us to this moment.

Dave has been a sailor since he could talk or was a tween, and if there's one thing I'm sure of, is that he's got salty blood pulsing through his veins. He joined the Navy and crossed the Ocean on Naval Destroyers where he experienced all sorts of excitement, in all sorts of conditions. And all that experience earned him the right of Managing our Safety during this passage.



And as for me? My experience was six years in the making with my longest non-stop passage thus far? Three days and two nights.

Dave came out and joined me on the helm, "Power and Water done" he stated, and leaned back into the seat, settling in. "Great! I think I'll leave you to it and tackle the chores." I said as I updated him on our status, and then he shooed me away, happy in his happy place.

With everyone asleep and the salon completely empty, the morning watch was the perfect time to get some chores crossed off the chore list. This may be a boat, but just like a home, there were housekeeping duties to tend to.



Countertops got cleared and cleaned, galley cupboards and fridge shelves restocked, garbage collected, and floors washed.



Sheryl emerged from her cabin, and with a yawn and eager smile she set about to making some tea. It wasn't long before Dan emerged from his cabin as well. There were "Good Morning's" all around, to which we laughingly replied "Good Afternoon!"

After their breakfast, they donned their PFD's and joined us outside. Wearing PFD's when outside was The Rule Not To Break, and the Second Rule Not to Break? The Passing of The Torches.

Ah, The Torches, the nickname Dave came up with for the Personal Epirbs that were onboard. As we only had two, they were relegated to the two people on watch, and religiously passed from the old watch to the new one, especially important during the night hours.

We narrated the summary of the morning activities (things we'd seen, things we'd done, and anything that needed watching out for). And then Dave handed his Torch over. And as I handed mine over, I said with a wink, "I am relieved! To be relieved!"

And with that we headed in for some Lunch. All that fresh air sure made us hungry.... But that's the next story.



See you next watch!
Vessel Name: Banyan
Vessel Make/Model: Jeanneau 40 Sun Odyssey
Hailing Port: Halifax, Nova Scotia
Crew: David & Alexandra
About:
Welcome Aboard. I'm Alexandra, and if I'm not out Adventuring with Camera in Hand, or cheffing up a storm in my galley, I'm looking to pirate some WiFi to upload our latest tales (with way too many photos) about our most recent adventures. [...]
Extra: CHART YOUR COURSE: Our destiny is shaped by our thoughts and actions. We cannot direct the wind but we can adjust the sails.
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Added 7 February 2013

The Adventures of Alexandra and David

Who: David & Alexandra
Port: Halifax, Nova Scotia
We're always Somewhere South of Somewhere.

The Banyan Love is Growing.

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If you haven't already, check them out.

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You might even find Banyan in some of them!!