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Will & Tam's Atlantic Adventure 2009-2010
Follow our progress as Elmarleen does her third Atlantic crossing this year!
Land Ahoy!!!!
21/12/09, ELMARLEEN

Land Ahoy!!!!!

35 miles from Barbados - local time is 8am and we should be in customs for lunchtime - Welcome to the Carribean!

Picked up World Service and Barbados radio about an hour ago- and suddenly it feels like Christmas- steel drum style! We're both really excited and can't wait to get ashore, shower, and swim in the sea. Ya Man!

Arrival's come just in time- we ran out of all chocolate on the boat last night. Can't quite believe it!

Happy Birthday Uncle David have a great day.

Tam, Will and Elmarleen

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21/12/09 | john
very big.....congrads
21/12/09 | Andy and Clare
Yeah!!! Congratulations and a very merry RUM n COKE to you!!
21/12/09 | Mum & Dad Dickinson
Thank goodness and very well done to you both, a geat achievement. We'd send you some of our snow here if we could to make you feel even more Xmassy. Hamper arrived yum yum. We do hope the presents are Ok at the post office.
love M & D
21/12/09 | Russell
It is ten years ago to the day that I arrived in st Lucia in the ARC 99.

What a feeling that was. By the time you read this you will know what I mean! Enjoy!

21/12/09 | John
Congrats on a good crossing and timing the chocolate shortage appropriately. Sounds like you may need some new batteries. Hope you can find a deal in Barbados. Enjoy the Mount Gay rum. It's good stuff!
Less than 150 miles to go!!!
20/12/09, ELMARLEEN

Just a quick position report.

We are currently about 148 miles from the southern most tip of Barbados. If we manage to maintain out current speed that should see us get into Carlisle Bay for about midday with enough time for a swim in the sea before a decent meal and a good night sleep. Its difficult to believe we have been out here nearly three weeks (again) and the place we have so been so looking forward to getting to, the Caribbean, is finally a day away. Good job to as we finally ran our water tanks dry yesterday and the nicer of the tinned food is all gone. My opinion on Look What We Found has changed - they all taste the same and I'm a bit sick of them. We are just about to have breakfast and use up the last of the bacon before giving he boat a good sort out and clean. Having Tam on board is great as she insists on a spotless boat and is the only person who is more fussy about it than me.

So that about it. I will do one more blog tomorrow morning before we arrive and then we will be back to our usual e-mail address, telephone numbers and facebook. However, now we are in the Caribbean and anchoring I doubt our access with be very good and we will probably only go online once or twice a week.

Skype Christmas Day anyone? Let us know a time.


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400 Miles to go.
18/12/09, ELMARLEEN

Wind picked up overnight and has carried us over the 400 miles to go mark. Its gone a bit light at the moment but forecast is looking better. Monday AM arrival - finger crossed.

Gem - I finished PSP God of War game. It took 8hrs 40 mins!! Going to start ratched and clank next - give me some help as I really struggle getting started.

Boat batteries are not holding charge anymore. I guess its something to do with three atlatnic crossings? We are having to charge two time a day and still we are having problems. They were new in April!

The sea temp, air temp, humidity are through the roof and it feels very tropical. Started getting regular squalls and down poors but they dont last long. I wonder if there is room somewhere on this boat for AC! Thermometer reads 30c at the nav station. Sea temp is 31.9'c if you believe the raymarine transducer. Yesterday was overcast and we both really enjoyed the cool.

Tam fell over and has a whopper of a bruise on her leg and I guagued my back on the spray hood fitting. Must be nearly time to find some land.


P.S Does anyone know what the time zone for Barbados is - we are currently guessing it is UT-4..

Also - why is the sea salty?

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18/12/09 | Snoodle Time
two things to check on your batteries. 1) corrosion on any terminals or connections. That is a biggie and 2) are you over charging your batteries? Over charging causes heat, warpage and death to batteries.
18/12/09 | Snoodle Time
GMT -4 hrs
18/12/09 | Andy and Clare
Barbados is UT-4 - correct! Go to the top of the time traveller class.
The sea is salty as a result of an equilibrium between the original concentrations in the primordial seas, solutes brought in by the rivers, and what is lost through exchange with the sea beds and the atmosphere through bio transformation or precipitation. Sodium is brought in by the rivers, potassium is absorbed by the clays at the sea bed and calcium is taken up by living organisms. Chlorine plays no part in the geo cycle. It is only when seawater is allowed to dry up that chlorine and sodium come together hence we think the sea is salty all along. Blimey how good am I at reading!! XX
18/12/09 | Andy and Clare
Sod the batteries just follow the bright star - get to Barbados before dem tree wise men nick all de rum n coke and dem pressies - innit!!
19/12/09 | Russell
Will and Tam
The sea is salty because fish piss in it.

Hope this helps.
Shooting Hoops
17/12/09, ELMARLEEN

Yesterday we covered a record low of 58 miles. Yeap 58 miles in 24 hours sailing and 5 of them we were motoring. Not great progress and very frustrating when we were hoping to be tucked up in Barbados on Saturday or Sunday. Even more annoying is the forecast still doesn't show much improvement. The wind will remain light until Saturday morning and then pick up a little maybe increasing our daily run to something in the region of 120 miles a day.

I am just about to download the next grib data and pray to god that there has been a mistake and that the forecast will be totally different.

To entertain our selves yesterday we played an improvised game of basket ball. We took turns a throwing the remaining 10 mouldy croissants through the rigging. The aim was to throw them above the spreader but inside the shroud. The game lasted a lot longer than 10 goes as many of the croissants got slapped back at us by the flogging mainsail. I won!

I also read a book from start to finish in one day - I'm very proud of myself. It was the all time classic true sea survival story of Maurice and Maralyn Bailey who lived for 117 days in a life raft after there yacht was attacked by a sperm whale. They were from Southampton and we are sailing almost the identical route to them. Canaries - Barbados :-(

We very very nearly went for a swim yesterday. It was so hot 30+ and we weren't moving. I was reluctant but Tam was itching to get wet. As we were planning how we were going to go about it we heard a big splash and saw our first dolphins of the trip - it took 16 days to see them but it was worth it, there were a couple of babies. We never went swimming.

That's if for now. Going to check the weather - fingers crossed for some wind. ETA in Barbados has to have shifted back to late Monday or Tuesday now.

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17/12/09 | Clare
Tam, Willy and Elm. Have just found a quiet minute at work to catch up on your blogs ad realise I have been missing far too much. I am so jealous. I still need an address for Barbados but might be running out of time to post you a pressie? It is freezing here. I have just bought gloves and the car needs scraping every morning. Wish we were there!!! Love Clare, Hol and Iz xx
18/12/09 | Steve
How on earth can you be fed up??? :o))

It's less than 3'C here at the moment (south of England), freezing cold, and your on a boat, in the warm, you have food, you have drink... count your blessings and enjoy every moment...
Position Report - NO WIND
Tam and Will
16/12/09, ELMARLEEN

No WIND!!!!!!!!!!! Only covered 100 miles yesterday and that was motoring for about 8hrs. Cant keep that up as we dont have enough fuel. Currently doing 3.2 knots with 628 miles to go - you do the maths - its not good! No wind forecast until Saturaday morning!!!

How anoying is this.....but atleast the weather is good and we have lots of potatos to mash to pass the time. :-)

Just hoping to be on land for Christmas.

Todays advent calender picture is a toy soldier.

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16/12/09 | john
get naked and enjoy..............I love reading about your trip
17/12/09 | Nic
tinned salmon, mashed potato, bit of ketchup, salt and pepper. All stirred up together. cover in flour, paint some egg on and roll in slightly tale breadcrumbs then fry. yum.
17/12/09 | Nic
or, how about spanish omlette - not sure how to make but know it involves spuds. I can investigate and let you know. xx
Position Report
Tam and Will
14/12/09, ELMARLEEN

Over 2/3rds of the way there. 835 miles to go. Just had hot dogs for lunch. Weather - Hot Sea Temp - Hot 30.7 deg Sea State - Wavey Wind - 15knots Boat Speed - 5.5 knots

ETA - Sunday late.

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Mashed Potato
Tam and Will
12/12/09, ELMARLEEN

Right that's it, I've had enough. Where the hell is Barbados. This year I have calculated that I have been at sea for a total of 80 plus days and we are still just over a thousand miles to go. Yes, the sailing the last two weeks couldn't have been easier but that doesn't half make it insanely boring. We have had the genoa poled out for two weeks and once in a while, every day or two, we gybe. That's is as exciting as it gets. No dolphins, no whales, no turtles, no nothing, except the daily ritual of peeling the not so fortunate flying fish off the baking deck. We are averaging typically 140 - 160 miles a day and I think we have only consistently sailed under five knots for about half a day. That means we should arrive in Barbados late Saturday 19th or early Sunday 20th.

But what to do for the next week! With the sails set as they are, genoa poled out, the boat seems very susceptible to a bit of rolling. I will rephrase that, a hell of a lot of rolling. Not only that the swell appears to always be on one quarter rather than with the wind. Neither of us have slept very well for about three nights and we are getting particularly grouchy.

The good news is its 30 degress here and so is the sea temp. Both of us are dieing to go for a swim but thankfully we haven't been becalmed as to give us the opportunity. Probably best as I believe the water is now warm enough for sharks.

So what to do - cook! We are both sick of eating. We have run our fresh supplies of food out and are now on the tinned or packet stuff. Its okay but as it's the only thing to keep us entertained we have been eating well three times a day. We are both bloated and dieing for some real food. Fortunately we managed to cram some mince meet, chicken breast and the final eight sausages gem brought out, into the freezer compartment of the fridge. So tonight its sausages and mashed potato. Mashed potatoes - we have been eating far to much mashed potato. We couldn't buy and tinned before we left so bought a huge 10kg bag. Unfortunately they don't taste great so we have resorted to mashing them. It provides us with something to do as the sun sets, peel, boil and mash but we haven't quite learnt our quantise yet. What I would do for the taste of a nice baby new potato covered in butter.

What else, well we have seen lots of sea, loads and loads of clouds, quite a few stars and occasionally we get a glimpse of the sun and moon.

I'm going crazy - get me out of here!!!!

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12/12/09 | Andy and Clare
If it's any consolation - in 3500nm from Cape Town to Salvador we saw virtually bugger all and caught bugger all. Amazing really - all that water - no fish. Anyway love your blogs and reading them everyday. Remember you're on countdown to RUM n COKE!!! Have you ant tins of tuna? Try fish cakes - mmmmm! Andy and Clare X
Waiting for half way day!
Tam and Will
09/12/09, ELMARLEEN

Waiting for Half Way day!

Day 8 in the mid Atlantic - and we can see a yacht within 10 miles of us and a container ship - it's like Paddington station compared with the last 7 days! Today is a light wind day, so we have postponed our half way party 'til at least tomorrow evening. The log says we have travelled 1227 miles since leaving Mogan last Tuesday lunchtime, and 1350m marks the half way point to Barbados. It is quite amazing to think we are here in little Elmarleen in the middle of the Atlantic, and nothing much more than wind and sail has got us here.

Life at sea has been pretty easy really - and with the fridge we have been eating fresh food for almost the whole trip so far.. The last remaining ice-berg lettuce was used up yesterday - they last ages without refridgeration! The further west we travel the sea temperature rises almost daily - we left Canaries at 26 deg C, and are now at 29.9 degrees! So tempting to go for a swim.. but have only got as far as dipping my toes in as yet! What has been suprising is how little sea life we have seen - no dolphins or whales or birds or anything - a few flying fish and that's been it. Its also incredibily dark at night until the moon comes up- which is now about 5 hrs after sunset, and a little scary when your imagination seems to be stuck in overdrive as mine has been the last few days.

Disaster struck last night - we opened one of our much coveted bars of Cadbury's chocolate only to find it covered in some sort of webbing with a little wormy weavel thing having dug its way into most of the slabs - ruined! These things mean a lot when you are 1350 miles or 10 days from the nearest co-op!

Those who have been reading my blogs for a while will know how I feel about fishing! Well I'm pleased to announce that so far Will has caught exactly nothing - mainly due to not getting his head out of a book for the whole trip so far. He's currently addicted to James Cracknell and Ben Fogles race to the pole, and fishing seems to be a distant activity. Whilst I'm quite relieved- now that we are running out of fresh food it would be quite nice to have tuna with tinned veg for supper!

The Xmas build up hasn't quite made it as far as the mid Atlantic yet! Our festive cheer starts and stops with an Advent Calendar Will's Mum gave us before we left. We do have a few goodies stashed away in one of the cupboards somewhere- and Gem bought some Xmas crackers over when she visted. We've both decided to buy a Caribbean CD of Christmas carols by steel drums when we arrive which should get us breaking out the rum and coke and getting in the party mood.

Anyway - will write again after half way day! Tam, Will and Elmarleen.

Pps: Anyone know why sea water is salty?!!!

My turn, my turn my turn..(Will here) Been reading lots of good books and decided I need to plan the next adventure. James Cracknell and Ben Fogle have just skied to the South Pole, Bernard Monttessier is going to sail solo around the world for the second time, Bear Grylls is going to take the North Atlantic by RIB and Ranulph Fiennes is cutting the frost bitten tips of his fingers off with a hack saw. I want some of the action..I want to be like these guys..I don't want a me!!!!

Oh and on serious note - I just found Tam's handbag on deck again. What on earth do you need your hand bag for 1350 miles from land!

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Position Update Day 6
06/12/09, ELMARLEEN

Just a position report. Passed 1/4 way mark and tomorrow we should reach 1/3rd - 1800 miles to go. Running out of fresh food and soon will be on the tinned stuff. Progress has been good averaging 150 mile days.


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Position Update
05/12/09, ELMARLEEN

A very bad night rolling around. Neither of us slept very well at all. Every third or fourth wave picked us up and twisted us around causing us to bang into the lee cloth or bunk cushion.

Tam's imagination ran wild once again last night. Apparently there were two skulls and a rotting hand inside the fruit and veg netting. There was me thinking we had two iceberg lettuces left!

Finally - to make sure your all up to date with our advent calendar - Day five was a Penguin. At midnight tonight we will be celebrating quarter of the way there day - 675 miles with 2025 miles to go.

Still struggling to pick up Herb on the radio. Reception is poor - perhaps I have the wrong aerial.

W T and E

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Tam & Will
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