28 July 2011 | Onboard TIDE HEAD
Almost to OBAN, SCOTLAND
29 July 2011
After heading to bed at 0400 I was able to sleep in until 1030; I woke up in time for my 0800 watcha nd could hear the sounds of breakfast and lots of chatter - no one called out for my assistnace so I buried my head for another 2 hours of well needed rest. We have no wind to speak of and are motor-sailing directly to Oban; Dirk & Fred tinkered with the AIS today and with beautiful sunshine we planned an Hor d'Ouevre luncheon to celebrate 100 nm to the entrance of the Firth of Lorn. Dirk has figured out the tide and so we'll approach from the north, and good news - they'll have a berth available when we get there / it's a busy time of year in Scotland.We've been followed by a few sea birds - robust seagulls and a fw gannetts / today there have not yet been dolphins, but they seem to especially love dusk. All in all a good, leaving us plenty of time to plan and map our approach.
All the best to everyone - Cheers!
Transatlantic Day TEN
28 July 2011 | Onboard TIDE HEAD
Day NINE we continued to make steady progress but in a slower lollygagging manner, seemingly pottering about here in the Atlantic with no purpose or direction - indeed we do have a direction but this bobbing to and fro feels less producitve for sure (lollygagging is what you did as a child - or were accused of when you should have been getting your chores and homework done). The winds were much lighter ranging from 11-14 and so every once in a while we had a good huge slap of the genoa; some of this of course caused by the huge rolling waves leftover from the gale force winds so when the boat would do a healthy roll from left to right the genoa is just a limp passive piece of fabric dragged along for a flogging instead of being its active, stout, sure and powerful self. By dinner time, with enough fuel onboard to make it nearly back to NFLD we started the engine and motor-sailed to keep our progress duly in the direction of Oban. By all estimates we have only 2.5 days left to our journey and at the current rate would arrive at 0200 on Saturday - something will have to be done about that / none of us are interested in a night landfall, and darn it, we've earned the right to enter the harbour at least at dawn if not broad daylight so we can drink in the awesomeness of the moment and store it in our memory banks forever! For the obvious safety reasons, we'll avoid a night landfall even if we have to lollygag about outsisde the harbour just to time it right. The Scotland tour guides have come out - I'd had them packed away but was not daring a look until the obvious - that they'd be needed. We've been planning our day trips and hope to get in a B&B excursion or two to the Scottish Highlands. To honour my mother's tradition, I'm also planning to plunk myself down and roll in a field of heather regardless of whether the guys care to join me. Day TEN is off to a robust start - so much for trimming off at least 5 pounds this trip; Peter is again in the galley making corn-beef hash for breakfast; over breakfast we reviewed Scottish colloquialisms so we can hit the ground running in Oban; ie. ben, brae, close, glen, loch, munro, & yett. Interestingly we found that although peppered with marshes there was not a word listed for that. We have 279 nm to go to get to the Firth of Lorne - the entrance of the harbour where we'll enter to Oban. With our surplus of diesel we are continuing to motor-sail in order to keep our heading pointed to Oban; the sea is flatter today - not totally, but much easier to tolerate when moving about on Tide Head. Even though the barometer is rising at nearly 1030.3 there's not a ray of sunshine anywhere, just multiple upon multiple shades of gray however beautiful in its own way. The temperatures outside still require us to be bundled up in our heavy sailing garb. All the best to everyone - Cheers!
Transatlantic Day NINE
27 July 2011
Day EIGHT started delicioiusly with a toasted bagel/egg-ham-cheese & tomato breakfast sandwich accompanied by a cup of fresh coffee, compliments of Peter - Marge, we're glad you gave him up for a couple of weeks! Our day was largly lazy with calm rolling seas and lots of reading & chit chat. The Hydrovane had a workout by Fred & Dirk. According to the charts we have approximately a mere 540nm to go. 540 to go - really, that's all?? We enjoyed the morning's highlight - a tern's attempt to land atop the mast; imagine Tide Head pitching back and forth while rising and falling at least 10 feet and moving forward at 7.5 knots while a bird keeps pace with the top of the mast - there were a few times we thought he would land and probably would have if the wind indicator had held still. By 2100 UTC (9pm) Tide Head was again escorted by dolphins, exiting and cutting through our bow wave and briefly coming along-side for a look / we find these Atlantic Dolphins quite shy in comparison to others. At 2200, leaving my watch partner tethered safely in the cockpit I came below to make a log entry and sitting at the Nav Station in the dark & quiet, hearing a healthy snore come from the front of the boat echoed by a louder snore from the rear cabin, in the secure warmth and comfort while Tide Head was confidently heading towards Oban at 7-8 knots, I realized after a few minutes I was not writing anything, but just sitting transfixed in the moment, mind you with a little giggle in regards to the snoring, and in total appreciation for the offerings of that instant. To say being in the middle of the Atlantic and experiencing these feelings "is priceless" would not do the moment justice. Melancholy is already seeping in around the edges.. I'm not saying I'm not thankful for a brisk and safe passage thus far; however at this great pace the adventure with all its incomparable little moments will soon be over. Day NINE - today, I get to have an extra couple of hours sleep as the guys are so nicely handling the 30 knot gusts they don't need my help, but I miss out on their brunch of warmed chili & Fred's chicken stir fry from last night. As good as that all sounds I forego the feast in favor of sleep. There is some sun peeking through the cloud cover in short clips and we've tacked headed towards the Shetland Islands but are still making good easting. Tide Head continues to "represent" taking all the Atlantic has given her so far without issue; of course we treat her kindly in return, reefing as we should, monitoring all her lines and systems. The Superwind has proved to be a good investment as it continues pumping a continuous supply of free energy into our batteries, and although not as necessary, but certainly as appreciated - the diesel heater is a "keeper". Current update from the Captain is that we have approximately 460 nm remaining until we enter the Firth of Lorn.... All the best to everyone - Cheers!
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