Eleventh day outVicki
Still grey! Please send some of that Minnesota sun and heat my way! The winds are light and variable so we motored overnight to keep the speed up. Daylight and we put out the spinnaker (too dangerous to fly at night) and are moving along comfortably, if slower than we had hoped for. 540 nautical miles to go. Yesterday we had chicken with linguine that had bacon chunks. Too much linguine, so I saved it, added scrambled eggs and had a late night meal for all of us. Today is roast beef and then we are done with fresh meat. Plenty of canned stuff. The canned chicken and canned roast beef from Costco aren't so bad.
Tenth day outVicki
Weather is still gloomy, but warmer than yesterday. Winds are lighter so we are going a little slower. Getting in 120 -140 nautical mile days. Just over 600 nm to go to Galway. Funny thing is, when there isn't a storm, we are safer out here than sailing by shore. Nothing to run into! But I could stand to see land, that will be so exciting. Hope to be to Ireland sometime on Tuesday. Had my first shower so far on this trip. Also first total change of clothing. I can't tell you how great that feels. I couldn't interest the guys in taking a shower - I think we have a stinkier than you competition going on! Things I like on this trip: Besides the wonderful visit with my daughter Tania on the trip to Toronto, I haven't seen friends and family for 3.5 months. I hit a wall yesterday and felt sooo lonely. Which is weird when I am never more than 3 feet from someone else. So I sent out SOS emails and got some wonderful messages back. Thanks to all, I feel more connected.
Ninth day outVicki
Weather is gloomy and greyer than yesterday. But winds are good and we are making good time. We just went by the Hecate Seamount, which sperm whales will do deep dives around for food. Al spotted a sperm whale. coming up for air. quite the excitement. Before dishing out the porkchops yesterday, I had cut-off the bones with some of the meat. Today I am using it as the base for a bean soup. Our refrigerator is small, only about 16 gallons. So buying food for two plus weeks for four people means it was full of basically meat when we left. I bought five dozen eggs, that can go without refrigeration for several days. As we use up the meat, I put eggs in the refrigerator and keep using the ones that are out. Vegetables are either canned or root, that don't need refrigeration. I bought a pound of bacon, but you don't want to be messing around with that hot oil out on the bouncy waves, so I cook it all up while at the dock, wrap it in paper towels and a ziploc and refrigerate it. That way it is ready to use. I also strain the bacon fat and use it in biscuits. yummy. I will add some to the soup to help prevent foaming in the pressure pot. Paul is baking bread right now, the New York Times no-knead recipe. Hot bread and bean soup perfect on a gray day. Things that I like on this trip: life is beginning to feel normal. The first couple of days out were really rough. At one point you just WANT THE MOTION TO STOP, EVEN FOR FIVE MINUTES! But it doesn't, ever. At some point the waves get smaller and your body just adjusts. Everything you do, you time to the motion, without even thinking about it. Gibbs, Al and I all stopped the sea-sickness motion days ago. Paul never has to use any.
Eighth day outVicki
Glory day! Sun has been shining from the get go. I was able to wash a couple of items and hang them up in the cockpit, hopefully they will dry by night. Almost all of my clothes got wet during the storm so I am trying to get clean clothes to wear when we reach Galway. Speaking of Galway, sometime this evening we will be at the half-way point on the great circle route. Double wonderful day! We celebrated with a great meal - pork chops, wild rice with mushrooms, corn and red sweet peppers, and coleslaw. We will celebrate with rum and Fig Newtons at the appropriate moment. We, of course, will make a rum offering to Neptune, thanking him for a good first half of the trip and ask for peaceful passage for the rest of the way. I am continuing to dry out the inside of the boat and doing some cleaning. Oh, and we are flying the bumble-bee spinnaker because we are almost dead downwind with light winds. Things I like about this trip: my captain. I know you will roll your eyeballs and think after all these years, I should know that I like him. But remember, these are extraordinary circumstances. Stressful, pleasant, confining, freeing, all at the same time. And he has three souls on board that are his responsibility. Paul does a good job training and teaching his crew on the finer points of the boat. Everyone contributes ideas and thoughts and he incorporates it in the planning. Planning he is good at. But everyone knows the ultimate authority rests with him. I can't think of anyone I would prefer to have as my captain. (For people not in the cruising world, I should explain that the male is generally the captain with most couples, but the woman is the admiral.)
Seventh day outVicki
Weather is holding grey and gloomy, sometimes sprinkles, no fog and higher winds just at the fronts. We are sailing on, hoping to be half-way later on Tuesday. We are able to dry the cabin area out more, if we keep dorades open and companionway cracked open, then over-night we don't turn into a rain forest. Our appetites are back and we eat because we are hungry, not just because we should. Keeps me busy! When I get off my morning shift I add hot water to a thermos of oatmeal and in half an hour, voila! boatmeal. It stays hot in the thermos for a couple of hours, so people eat when they can. Then we have a big meal in the middle of the afternoon. Today is chicken, potatoes, cabbage with paprika. I can spend hours dreaming about what meal to make. Which is probably amusing to people who know of my lack of interest and skill in cooking. Last night I had a dream that we had a distress call on our radio. An island around here, which no one had heard of and isn't on the charts, called to have us pick up some people in a life raft and bring them to the island. I was feeling so proud of ourselves as we found them. Then as I was trying to help in a guy, he instead jerked me into the water. It was then that I realized they were 'pirates in a liferaft', conspiring to steal our sailboat. I had to wake up and change the end of the dream. Things I like about this trip: Waves, there are slow, but large swells that roll in from long distances. The birds love to glide up and down the ravines, just skimming the water. Then on the swells can be two or three wave patterns from different direction, with different heights. And then there are the ripples on top, formed by the wind around us. The water is gun-metal grey with splashes of white were the wave tops fold. We also leave a white trail behind us where the boat has stirred up the water. I love to watch the big swells coming up behind us, sometimes they seem to tower over us. And then Nokomis lifts her stern and rides to the top, ever so gently. I feel like I am on the top of the world then and can see long distances. We gradually sink back down, just to do it again. I liken it to a cold winter day, watching a fire burn, it never gets boring. When I lay down to sleep and close my eyes, I see the water and waves and it matches the movement of the boat.
Sixth day outVicki
2012/07/22, western Atlantic
Making much better time today. Yesterday evening we brought in the drogue. I had to steer the boat to keep her coming down the waves and not going broadside to them. Anxious moments for me, biting my lips, sweating bullets, that kind of thing. I look over and there is a pod of dolphins gamboling in the waves. Time for attitude readjustment, I had to learn how to enjoy this. Once the drogue was in and the sails up, Nokomis took off like a bird released from a cage, raring to go. We all feel better. We take turns up in the cockpit on watch overnight, while everyone else is down below sleeping. It can be lonely, but also peaceful. I had the shift where the sun comes up, but it was hard to tell because there were so many clouds in the sky. Then the sky starting lightening to the north and west because clouds were clearing behind - which is a good thing because that is what is coming our way. I was listening to Barber's Arpegio for Strings "Winter was hard" when the clouds parted and the sun broke through. I put my face into the dodger to have the sun and gently wept. It was a glorious moment to feel so alive. Things I like on this trip: there are so many birds out here! It is quite fun to watch them soar up and down the valleys of the swells. They like to fly in the swirls of air coming off our sails, and I think it is easier for them to find food in our wake. Birds are our constant companions.