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Join Capt. Tom and Crew on his exciting voyages as he crosses the World's Oceans
Back to work - Riccardo
Tom Ambrose
09/01/2012, North Atlantic

Picture: Whale tail, spotted from aboard Mrs. Marietta

It's after midnight by whichever time zone affects us and while I need to get some sleep I am also aware of the necessity to keep all our followers informed of the status quo of our voyage. We live in an era of rapid information exchange but sometimes we need to be discreet with the handling of that flow so as not to be intrusive on the effects of each other.

It might seem idyllic to be anchored in such a remote and almost exotic place such as Cabo Verde but we have needed to achieve a lot and have also experienced much over the past couple of days that has affected our lives. On the surface we have done a lot of work on and around the boat in preparation for the next leg of the adventure.

I always regard Cabo Verde as being the half way mark of the voyage from Cape Town to any Mediterranean destination. It may not be precise in terms of distance traveled and still to go but the total voyage is split in two by the sailing that takes place. From our beginning in Cape Town we have predominantly following winds in the South Atlantic that allows the boat to move along with wind and wave in unison, surging ahead with the rise and fall of the swell and the sails billowing out whilst we run before the wind. After crossing the ITCZ we have the wind and wave patterns from ahead and have to work hard to gain precious miles beating to windward. On one tack many miles can be gained but hen on the next tack the best course can be as much as at right angles to that which is desired so it becomes a game of two steps forward and one step back.

To achieve this effectively we need the boat in the best condition possible and to this end we have worked for the past two days. The mast and rigging has been checked thoroughly. At one time we had both Bellomino and Vittorio aloft simultaneously doing the necessary work. A full inspection of the engine room has been done ensuring that all oil levels are correct as well the various mountings and hoses being checked for tightness and leaks. One of the water makers needed a lot of attention so we are also confident of having adequate fresh water as needed.

At the end of the to do list was the filling of our fuel tanks, ordering the fuel early this morning it was promised for delivery mid afternoon but island time is island time and the truck arrived much later. The filling nozzle was too large for the deck fitting so was changed for a smaller one but this regrettably did not have a trigger operated valve. In the process of starting the pump on the truck there was so much pressure that we ended up with a virtual geyser spewing fuel back out of the filling pipe and onto the deck. For the first time ever I have had fuel all over myself and the deck. Fortunately we had taken the precaution of having a water hose handy and I was able to wash my eyes out swiftly.

We wanted to depart right after refueling but with the need to extensively clean the deck we made our way back to the anchoring area where Bellomino and Enzo toiled until well after dark with the task.

We are now ready to depart early in the morning but are all aware that we will not be continuing as we arrived. Sadly we said farewell to Paulo and Riccardo who have returned home. Paulo was not well for a few days and felt it prudent not to risk the situation any further. With the delays experienced in Cape Town Riccardo was running out of time on his leave of absence from work and as such needed to get back to work.

I shared my watches with both of them and will miss their company. Also I trust that you will all understand my motives for not saying anything too soon out of respect for their personal needs.

This afternoon I spent a lot of time gathering fresh weather and synoptic information for our route ahead.

So I say BUONO NOTTE from the anchorage here in Praia for in the morning we will sail on.

Regards, Tom.

10/01/2012 | Riccardo
Dear all, I wish to write this comment in English in honor of Tom, our guide in this challenging navigation but actually much more than: a special human being. I feel privileged I shared my watches with him and treasure many moments spent talking together. But I treasure the whole time spent onboard. I also wish to thank Captain Dudi who gave me the opportunity to live this one in lifetime experience, Vittorio with his incredible sailing knowledge and capabilities, Valentina and Paolo for their cooking recipes, Enzo and Bellomino so reliable and enthusiastic. It was hard for me to leave the boat, still I am grateful of having lived at least part of this experience, in ontact with such extraordinary companions. Ciao Tom, I hope your eyes are alright after the diesel accident. I will follow you on the blog every day! Buon vento ragazzi e in bocca al lupo! Ci vediamo a Roma!
11/01/2012 | PAOLO
milano 10-1-2011
Non mi sono fatto vivo prima ed ho ancora difficoltà a farlo adesso e non so il perché. Probabilmente perché trovo difficile rispondere con altrettanta profondità e sincerità alle belle parole di Vittorio sulla mia partenza e sulla nostra amicizia. Si lo confesso, ho pianto di commozione all’aeroporto di Lisbona quando le ho lette per la prima volta e istintivamente ho chiamato i suoi figli e Serena, non lui. Perché volevo parlare di lui e non con lui semplicemente perché non sarei stato capace di replicare con altrettanta efficacia , per pudore, perché sinceramente spiazzato da quella confessione.
Grazie Vittorio, sei stato il mio diario di bordo che non ho scritto ma che conservo dentro.

Ciascuno di voi a bordo ha rappresentato un mondo che ho osservato con attenzione e da cui ho tratto degli insegnamenti. A parte i tecnicismi velistici di cui si è già parlato ma che contano poco in una vicenda così umana come la stretta convivenza di 8 persone nello smisurato spazio d’un oceano, quello che conta è ciò che si è trasmesso o appreso gli uni dagli altri.
CONTINUA
11/01/2012 | paolo
Devo chiedere scusa a Tom se qualche volta ho violato la sua sfera emotiva e filosofica con battutacce da rivista. Era per me un modo per stanarlo e provare a scoprire qualcosa di più terreno in lui, di più basso. Ma non ci sono riuscito e sono contento così perché ciò ha dimostrato l’autenticità della sua filosofia di vita e la sua enorme personalità. Ora i suoi silenzi notturni non mi spaventano più.

Dudi, il Comandante, non è facile da individuare, sempre così attento a non scoprirsi troppo. Sempre gentile non dice mai no, piuttosto dissuade. Ho apprezzato molto la pacatezza, la calma e la freddezza con cui ha saputo comandare e da lui questo ho imparato: che per essere dei buoni comandanti serve autorevolezza e non autorità. Credo che Marietta 3 sia finita nelle migliori mani possibili.

Enzo è stato una rivelazione. Inizialmente si mostra nel peggiore dei modi e manderebbe in escandescenze un santo per quanto è lento, analitico, testardo, misurato, iper-riflessivo. Ma è una persona autentica. Non ha fretta di farsi piacere, non usa scorciatoie, non si rende simpatico a tutti i costi e, se non sei un superficiale, ti rendi conto che è proprio una bella persona, che non ti lascerà mai nella merda. Grazie, ti ho sentito molto vicino quando ero acciaccato e depresso in cuccetta e tu facevi veloce capolino nella mia cabina venendomi a chiedere come stavo. Una vicinanza autentica che non dimenticherò.

continua
11/01/2012 | paolo
Valentina. Unica donna a bordo, poco più di venticinque anni. Eppure ha saputo tenere testa a personalità veramente forti sopportando gli sfoghi di sette uomini che nel cibo cercano conforto. Perché inconsciamente in quel piatto caldo ognuno di noi cerca il profumo della sua donna, dei suoi figli, della sua casa pur sapendo di non poterlo trovare. E pensa, sbagliando, che tu quel mondo bello e familiare non sai ricostruirglielo. Ecco Valentina se posso darti un consiglio cerca di non farli sentire in trattoria né in un bistrot francese, ma un po’ a casa loro. Mi sarebbe piaciuto potertelo dire là nella cambusa di Marietta 3 ma ci ho pensato solo adesso.
Complimenti Vale, anche tu sei una piccola forza della natura e non ti dimenticherò.

BELL’OMINO. Fratello minore di tutti. Sempre pronto ad aiutare, generoso come il suo maestro. Ci hai entusiasmato tutti quando ti abbiamo visto scrivere un diario, interessarti alle stelle, al carteggio, studiare l’inglese per recuperare quello che avresti dovuto fare a scuola e che forse stupidamente non hai fatto. Ti ho visto migliorare giorno dopo giorno come uomo intendo non solo come marinaio. Perche hai dimostrato di aver capito quanto studio e impegno ci vogliono per crescere in quest’ambiente, regate a parte. Complimenti: per un ragazzo della tua età è raro. Grazie anche a te , col tuo entusiasmo ci hai contagiati tutti rendendoci di nuovo più giovani. So che ti è pesata la mia partenza e manchi anche a me
11/01/2012 | PAOLO
RICCARDO ha surfato abilmente in questi giorni tra le onde dell’Atlantico, gli impegni di bordo e i suoi spazi con la stessa disinvoltura d’un week end a Ponza. Da buon esteta ha scritto, fatto flessioni, si è lavato, ha dormito, fotografato, timonato, cazzato le sue scotte e , come la lunga scia atlantica di Marietta, non ha lasciato troppi segni sull’oceano. Da lui ho imparato ad essere più leggero per potermi muovere con agilità nelle leggere brezze della vita. Lo ringrazio per i suoi complimenti come vice-cuoco.

Sono le 4 del mattino e tra qualche ora mi operano. Se riesco vi raggiungo da qualche parte . In ogni caso sarò al vostro fianco fino alla fine. Bv Paolo

Per favore traducete voi a TOM queste poche parole
11/01/2012 | riccardo
Cacchio Paolo! In bocca al lupo per l'operazione! Ti siamo tutti vicini come lo eravamo in barca. E grazie delle belle parole, mi sono venuti gli occhi lucidi a leggerle. Ti abbraccio
11/01/2012 | MASSIMO IMBRIACO
Vittorio vi ho aspettati invano per giorni all'ISOLA FERNANDO DE NORONHA....me lo potevate dire che cambiavate rotta !!!!

Va bè mi prenoto un posto come lavapiatti per la prossima traversata...

FORZA RAGAZZI !!! SEMPLICEMENTE MITICI !!!
12/01/2012 | SERENA
Vitt, sabato inizia il campionato di pallanuoto di Luca. Abbiamo bisogno del tuo tifo. Forza acquachiara. serena
12/01/2012 | nicoletta
@vittorio ti leggo ora ... che belle parole! .. SEI UN GRANDE UOMO! dall'amica eternamente romantica
@paolo In bocca al lupo!
da qui e da lì FORZA LUCA
e baci a tutti
nicoletta
Paul's departure
08/01/2012, Praia - Cabo Verde Isalnds

Picture: Vallentina, gourmet chef prepares home-made pasta.


My apologies to all for having let a couple of days slip by without writing but we have all been rather pre-occupied with the events around the boat. These things happen and we cope with them and then move on. But first lets get the chronological order correct. Drafted the other morning lets share this piece first.

Groping for my small pocket torch i shine it on my watch to see that it is five twenty five in the morning on our ships time. I am due on watch at five thirty and start to get ready. Its not too cold and only a light jacket and my safety harness go on over a shirt and short pants. The feeling is a bit surreal as my body clock has woken me without an alarm on time. Having sailed through three time zones since our departure from Cape Town our ships clock and the passage of the sun are out of sync. My conscience has followed our clocks but my body wants to wait for the sun to come up and start the day. Making my way to the cockpit Riccado is at the wheel steering with the wind from ahead as it had been since earlier. I take the man-over-board alarm from Enzo and wish him a good sleep as I step up next to Riccado to familiarize myself with the conditions. In two minutes I am ready and step in to the wheel as he steps out to go on standby and have a break.

The wind is around twenty knots with a swell of two and a half to three meters while the boat is doing eleven knots. The sky that had some clear patches last nigh is now completely overcast and the waning moon set a while ago so it is very dark. Checking the course on the compass and watching the wind angle I hold the boat steady as I can whilst hurtling into the black abyss. It's too dark to see the waves so one tries to feel the and not let the boat slam over them but to feed it over in a steady motion. The wind angle is fluctuating a bit as well as arriving in gusts during which the speed surges to over twelve knots. As the speed surges so does the adrenaline and I one with the boat, barefoot on the teak deck I can feel it's every movement like a heart beat. Unexpectedly Riccardo stands up and says that it is time to wake Vittorio for his watch. In disbelief I check the time with him as I can not believe that I have been at the wheel for an hour and a half. Time is not relevant when so occupied and frightfully busy with something you are enjoying and is giving purpose to your being. Vittorio comes into the cockpit smiling as always and is anxious to take the wheel right away. I sit down taking a long drink from my water-bottle and assume the standby position keeping an eye on the surrounding conditions. I watch the sky waiting for the new day to arrive as I relish my surroundings and our progress on Mrs. Marietta's maiden voyage.

For the past few days we have been seeing sargasso weed floating on the surface. It first appeared as small pieces and then gathered into larger mats between one and two meters square. Now however with the stronger wind from the north it is being blown into long lines that stretch across the surface of the sea, sometimes I can not even see the end of the line.
The weather has not followed the forecasts that we have been getting and the wind is a lot stronger than expected. Taking this into account together with low fuel levels we decide to make for Praia on the southern most of the Cabo Verde islands.

We were to pass close to the west of Santiago so there is little change to our heading and it becomes possible to enter the harbour and anchor for some shelter.
So here we are anchored in the harbour area of Praia where as is so often in remote places nothing happens over the weekend. We have busied ourselves with general maintenance and preparation for the next leg whilst waiting to get fuel tomorrow morning. Our position on the aprs beacon is 14 deg 54.6 min and 023 deg 30.3 min reflects this.
Thanks to Vittorio for a contribution to today's blog.

Vittorio:
Ieri ore 23 :30 ora locale è arrivato il taxi per portare Paolo e Riccardo in aeroporto per rientrare in Italia.

L'attesa è stata lunga e triste per tutti, per sdrammatizzare abbiamo visto un film "Taxxi 1", Luca mio figlio vede sempre con molto piacere, centrato sulle corse delle auto. Quando il suo taxi si è presentato in banchina, Paolo che proprio non voleva abbandonare la barca, ha chiesto al taxista se poteva ritornare dopo mezz'ora. Si percepiva che oltre la sofferenza fisica, mentalmente non voleva abbandonare l'idea di completare il viaggio di rientro. Paolo è un amico speciale, uno con cui si sogna, si ride, si scherza anche in situazioni più o meno drammatiche. Paolo è stato lo spirito del gruppo, che voi tutti avete percepito. Personalmente avere Paolo al mio fianco era riuscire a sognare al di sopra della mia immaginazione. E' stato sicuramente decisivo nella scelta di partire. Non vorrei diventare troppo triste e romantico ma per me, alcuni amici, come mia moglie Serena conosce bene, sono molto importanti, Paolo è uno di quelli.

Per me, il bello di intraprendere delle avventure è riuscire a capire le priorità della vita. Riesco a rivalutare i rapporti familiari che nella vita di tutti i giorni si offuscano dalla contingenza giornaliera. Vivere il mare mi rinforza la voglia di stringere tra le braccia Serena mia moglie, andare a vedere una partita di palla a nuoto di mio figlio Luca, o una gara della mia splendida figlia Giulia.
Chi mi conosce sa che ho scritto già troppo.

Paolo buon rientro, non ti preoccupare ci sono sempre per te amici che aspettano di passare lo stretto navigando e contemporaneamente sognando.

Baci

Vittland

08/01/2012 | mauro
ma come mai riccardo e paolo sono partiti?
08/01/2012 | Giulia
Papa' mi manchi moltissimo non vedo l'ora di vederti !!!!! Tornate presto ! Ciao giulia
08/01/2012 | Giulia e serena
Gennaro e Lidia non vedono l'ora di rivederti. So we do. Ti lovvo !!!!!
08/01/2012 | Serena giulia e luca
Vitt, sapessi come sono cresciuti i nostri cuccioli. Sono da brivido. Giulia Tutte sciocchezze siamo sempre i tuoi cucciolotti piccoli.
09/01/2012 | claudia
Foto bellissimaaaaaaaaaaaa
09/01/2012 | marialuisa
ehi fratellone... sei più che romantico... un vero scrittore!..... ma forse il tuo nome è proprio azzeccato...volli fortissimamente volli sempre volli. ti voglio bene
Vallentinna's reply
Tom & Valentinna
05/01/2012, 11 deg 19 min N 021 deg 04 min W

Picture: Sushi - Paulo's favourite


Hi All,
It's fantastic getting replies back so quickly and appreciated by everyone.

Sleep is a precious commodity that is taken for granted in the city. One goes through the day, enjoys the evening with friends or the television and the heads off to bed for an uninterrupted, re-vitalizing sleep to prepare for the next day. Here however there is never the possibility of going through the night fast asleep. Our watch roster continues and although there are theoretically six hours between ones watches there are also other things to so sleep is gleaned in short spells both day and night whenever one can. Sometimes one is not actually tired but knowing that a watch duty will be required soon then we need to cultivate the habit of resting before hand. One of my favorites is from three to five in the afternoon. If I am able to get that little "power-nap" then I am able to head into the night duties easily. It is also necessary to take care at all times of others needing to rest and respect this with quiet on their behalf.

As many of the exciting things that we are seeing and experiencing there are also the mundane. It is not unusual to see one of us sitting with a bucket doing some personal laundry.

A strange feature of this voyage is the continuous cloud cover that we have had. Prior to St. Helena and continuing northwards the sky was mostly overcast but with good visibility. Often there are the most spectacular sunsets but I only recall one such opportunity to photograph the scene. For the past few days the sky has had a hazy appearance with poor visibility as if there is a mist around us but at a short distance.

A little earlier a ship passed and whist we monitored it on the radar at about five miles distance it was not visible as it normally would be. These are the tropics and the humidity is quite high so perhaps this has something to do with it. But it just goes to show that out here no two days are the same.

Valentinna has asked to make a contribution to the blog so here it is;

Un saluto a tutte la persone che amo :``siete piu vicine che mai! piu di quando lo siete fisicamente''. Auguro un buon anno nuovo a tutti quanti, e di provare la stessa sensazione che ho provato io sotto una grande scia di una stella cadente.
Vi auguro di essere cosi' sazi da non avere desideri da esprimere per il nuovo anno ma solo un sentimento di gratitudine ad ogni vostro respiro... solo per il semplice motivo di farlo!!!! "certo, sotto un infinito cielo stellato e una stella cadente viene meglio!!"
Comunque, vorrei anche scrivere di una persona, TOM.
Who is Tom?
E' un compagno di viaggio speciale, sempre presente con rispetto e riservatezza. Una persona unica e profonda come queste acque.
Grazie a lui inoltre possiamo ricevere i vostri commenti o scrivere e soprattutto per me, far vedere a mia nonna che lo gnocco non teme il mare!!
Un abbraccio special alla mia famiglia e al mio uomo preferito, ciao Papy!

It is early evening and I hope to get this away before going on watch.
Now at 11 deg 19 min North and 021 deg 04 min West.

Cheers, Tom.

06/01/2012 | Claudia
Anche io ti sento vicina più di quanto non lo sei fisicamente, sento e capisco le vibrazioni delle tue sensazioni che solo un animo come il tuo può sentire ti voglio bene
06/01/2012 | ma
Thanks to Commander Tom and the team, which tasportate with love and care the most precious gift I have. good wind at all, and for fishermen, in ass to whale!!!
06/01/2012 | Serena
I wait for a contribution from Vittorio on the blog. Dai vittland. Comunque, bando alle chiacchiere, datevi una mossa e tornate presto. la pacchia dura da fin troppo tempo. Sere
06/01/2012 | manu
oggi befana...ed io ho fatto la mia parte ;-) mi hanno fatto commuovere abbastanza...hi hi hi
bello immaginarvi là in mezzo all'oceano...
lontano da tutto sto casino!
stasera vado a mangiare da nando...
un abbraccio al mio fratellino...
06/01/2012 | Nonna Anna
Quando torni facciamo lo gnocco abruzzese siete tutti invitati se deve rende disponibile voglio stare due giorni sola co lei pure de più poi basta. Bacioni a tutta la compagnia
06/01/2012 | Paola
Dudi Poletta ti fa sapere che la Befana le ha portato del carbone...lei non glielo perdona..dice che è cattiva..!! Ti ha trovato troppo.."nero" non è sicura che sia veramente Dudi...anche lei però ha apprezzato la tua foto
07/01/2012 | Paula
Belated Happy New Year to you and crew Tom and welcome to the North Atlantic Ocean! I spent the holiday on the west coast of Ireland overlooking the very same water. At 53°15′7″N - 9°8′59"W, the Atlantic is a much colder place and only the brave will venture into the waves for a quick splash.

Crossing the line in 2011 and spending Christmas Day and New Year on board 'Mrs Marietta' will be a fabulous memory and experience that everyone with you will never forget. Thanks for sharing :)

Fair winds.
07/01/2012 | GOVONI
vire e te movere.....o raù s sta facenn. Complimenti ...per la gita fuoriporta. Mi aggiornerò in seguito. un abbraccio da Elaine, Massimo e Aileen
Wildlife
Tom Ambrose
04/01/2012, Atlantic

Picture: Blackfish swimming along Mrs. Marietta

Most of my early voyages were made with very little outside contact for long periods and just a phone call from some remote destination. Technology has changed this and now it is much easier to stay in touch with a wider field of interested folk. In fact for those in the city there is such acceptance of the instantaneous gratification of the internet that the lack of it is seen as something bordering on a disaster. Whatever happened to " No news is Good news ". But jokes aside using the system that we are it is very pleasing to be reaching out to others and receiving their wishes and comments back. There is such joy in sharing. Not only do we have the new visitors in the form of the families and friends of those on board but some old friends have popped it in to say hello as well. Paula from her armchair in Ireland, it's great to have you along again. Then there is also Lynn with the K4 call-sign who is also tracking us on the aprs site ( how're the signals? ).

Yesterday afternoon just before the sun set a small pod of whales were sighted and although we slowed to a crawl and tried to approach carefully it was not possible to get really close to make an identification but we were treated to a spectacular tail wave which Dudi was able to photograph. In it the sea has a pinkish glow of the setting sun reflected onto the water. Hope you enjoy it as much as we did the experience.

There have been a few groups of dolphins playing in the bow-wave of the boat from time to time. These have mostly been the Atlantic Spotted Dolphin. Today however when the cry of " Dolphini " went out we were greeted by not only the smaller Atlantic dolphins but another group of larger dark colored animals slowly swimming along. They would break the surface gently to breath and then slide back into the water. The true dolphins came to the boat but the other larger ones ignored it completely. This is the typical behavior of a group which my book on Dolphins and Whales calls the Blackfish. These are the Pilot whales and includes RISSO'S DOLPHIN which I feel these were. Wonderfully gentle in their behavior they moved along breaking the surface every now and again, some times alone or sometimes in twos and threes. Cameras clicked away like the paparazzi but they took no notice and we took the memories.

Night is upon us and the night watches have started so sleep well and see you next time from 08 deg 25 min North and 019 deg 59 min West.

Cheers, Tom.

05/01/2012 | claudia
bellissima foto!!!!!!!!! Emozionante!!!!! condivido e invidio la vostra esperienza.......saluti a tutti
05/01/2012 | CINZIA
Che meraviglia!
Aspettavo questa immagine.
Un abbraccio
05/01/2012 | nicoletta
There is such joy in sharing!

bellissima foto

ciao
05/01/2012 | SERENA
Tom, you are great. I like very much indeed your blog. Come to Naples asap.
Equator - Been there done that!
Tom Ambrose
03/01/2012, Equator - Atlantic Ocean

Picture: Tom having a ball at the Equator crossing party.

Today we sailed into a different world.

For a short period around four o'clock this morning while I was on watch the clouds shifted and opened a view to the south. There in all it's glory I could see the Southern Cross brightly, watching and guarding over my beloved South Atlantic and Southern Ocean. It was as if it had come to say "Farewell", for ahead I had already had a glimpse of Cassiopeia and Ursa Major. The constellations of the north towards which we are heading.

We all awoke to a morning filled with excitement. Of our whole crew of eight only I had previously sailed over the Equator and although I have done so many times it still is a special moment when you move from the Southern world to the Northern one. Traditionally everyone wears something hand-made from items found on board. I sported a bow-tie and fresh shirt for the occasion. Following suit ( pardon the unintended pun ) the others soon donned their outfits and the boat thronged with a Pirate complete with eye-patch, a General with gold epaulets and cuffs, a Prince with a shining silver crown and mantle, a toga bedecked Goddess of the sea with a crown in the form of an octopus and an Elf left over from Christmas with a large bauble hanging from one ear.

As the GPS data slowly clicked over to a row of zeros there erupted a tumultuous shout of joy. Neptune was toasted and appeased with some cake and all the new comers were welcomed to the special band of sailors who have " crossed the line ". Turning Mrs. Marietta from her course we steamed along the line and actually found it. The hot, sultry weather and warm ocean beckoned and firstly Vittorio plunged into the ocean to swim along the line. he was closely followed by the others whilst Dudi and I kept an eye on their safety.

Sailors of old feared for demons and other perils in the unknown world that they forged a path to, we follow in their wake not finding any of those dreaded demons but certainly finding joy in the Almighty Creation and an inner peace of our surroundings.

There are few opportunities for such special moments in our lives and I trust that today's first timers have enjoyed the experience and will remember it as fondly as I remember my first crossing.

Leaving the scene we turned the boat back on it's course and continued on our way with the day growing hotter and hotter. Scooping buckets of water from the sea we pour it over our feet to cool them down and to make the deck bearable under the soles of our feet. Later in the afternoon a tropical shower approached from the east bringing some welcome rain to cool us and the boat.

Some comments from Riccardo:
Come ha gia' detto Tom, oggi per noi e' stato un grande giorno: abbiamo attraversato l'equatore! Con tutti i riti connessi.

Abbiamo aperto due bottiglie importanti, una di Barolo e una di Champagne. Abbiamo fatto il bagno al traino, superando i timori per lo squalo bianco e le meduse letali di queste latitudini. Abbiamo ballato come dei pazzi "Questo e' l'ombelico del mondo", ognuno col suo travestimento fatto a mano. Tom, emozionato, ha fatto un discorso molto toccante sul pulpito di poppa, rivolto verso l'immensita' dell'oceano!

Questa tratta da Sant'Elena a Capo Verde e' molto lunga, circa 2.500 miglia nautiche. Fa molto caldo. I turni di notte, che prima richiedevano giubbotti, cerate, guanti e berretto, adesso li facciamo in costume e maglietta. Stiamo attraversando le mitiche calme equatoriali, una trappola mortale per i navigatori antichi. Una latitudine a cui i marinai impazzivano e gli equipaggi si ammutinavano. E' incredibile quanto possa essere docile l'Oceano da queste parti.
I venti stanno gradualmente girando. Fin qui li abbiamo avuti a poppa, tra poco li avremo in faccia e tutto diventera' piu' impegnativo.

L'atmosfera in barca e' piacevole, mangiamo ancora il tonno di 20 Kg pescato tre giorni fa. Una strana calma si e' impossessata di noi...questo viaggio sta cominciando ad avere un effetto catartico sui nostri animi.

Adesso scappo a dare il cambio a Tom al timone. Auguri di buon anno a tutti!

So as we steam into the night best regards from us all at 01 deg 31 min North and 017 deg 34 min West.

Ciao, Tom.

03/01/2012 | Gabri
Momenti emozionanti e profondi che riuscite a farci immaginare con i vostri splendidi racconti...godete di questo dono e fateci sognare ancora..Saluti per tutti e un bacio a Ric
03/01/2012 | marco
adrenalina a mille, riuscite benissimo a trasmettere l'emozione e l'intensità di questo viaggio affascinante... un salutone a tutti
03/01/2012 | Raffaella
Certo che tra natale, capodanno, Equatore, abordo di Mrs Marietta Cube è sempre festa! Enjoy! Ciao. raffa
ps: Tom, thanks for keeping this blog always updated, giving us the opportunity to be onboard as well, at least virtually!
03/01/2012 | CLAUDIA
BELLISSIMO BAGNO IN MARE...........ATTACCATI ALLA FUNE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!MA SIETE PAZZI SCATENATI??????EMOZIONI A 1000 CHE PERCEPISCO DAL VOSTRO RACCONTO!!!!! VALEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!
03/01/2012 | Paola
Bravi, comunicate entusiasmo e grande armonia di gruppo...energia positiva per Mrs. Marietta Cube..!!! Saluti a tutti Paola
04/01/2012 | nicoletta
ciao vittorio

siete fantastici
foto stupenda tutto il gruppo

BUON ANNO a tutti
baci
04/01/2012 | CINZIA
Ciao ragazzi!
Babbo Natale è passato, il Capodanno anche , il passaggio dell'equatore, la festa più bella..... e per la Befana?? chissà cosa succede!!!
è davvero emozionante vedere le vostre foto e leggere le impressioni di Tom... inizio ad essere un po' "gelosa"!;-)
...ma felice di sapere che c'è armonia a bordo.
Buon divertimento
@Paolo: Martina ha preparato un nuovo numero da circo, dice che si deve allenare per il tuo arrivo. Love
Happy New Year
Tom Ambrose
01/01/2012, Atlantic

As we have forged ahead and especially after St. Helena the air and water temperatures have climbed steadily. A remarkable feature of this voyage has been the amount of cloud cover that we have experienced. Almost constantly overcast we would have had difficulty navigating the true way with sextant and sun sights to fix our route. In view of the prevailing conditions modern electronic and satellite systems have guided us on our way.

Yesterday afternoon the sky cleared to give us a star filled evening. Much time was spent in identifying both well known constellations and lesser known heavenly objects that aroused our curiosity.

Arriving on watch well before dawn I was greeted by the now familiar dark sky with little to see. Even as the dawn drew near there was no ceremony or grandeur in the sunrise, it just slowly got gradually lighter with the visibility increasing almost imperceptibly until it was day. And as a day it has been good.

All day there has been a festive atmosphere on board as we approach the end of of year out here in our small world. Surrounded by water and far from land we exist in an isolated environment but with the knowledge that further out there are our loved ones.

Tonight there are decisions to be made as to when we celebrate the arrival of the new year. We have South African time, Italian time, Universal Time and of course the true Local Hour according to our longitude. Whatever the decision the is going to be a party at CLUBBE NAUTICO de MID ATLOANTICO and you are all invited to join us in celebrating the arrival of the year 2012.
May you all have a wonderful and prosperous NEW YEAR.

Cheers from us all on board Mrs. Marietta 3 at 04 deg 26 min South and 13 deg 47 min West.

HAPPY NEW YEAR, LA FESTA IL CAPODANNO

01/01/2012 | marco
ai naviganti dei mari sconfinati del sud tanti aguri e buon vento per rotta del rientro.
02/01/2012 | AMEDEO
Un augurio di buon anno a tutti voi ed in particolare a Vittorio e Paolo che penso di riconoscere nella foto. Quasi quasi prendo un cargo e vi raggiungo.... vi lascio il mio punto salvagente. Un abbraccio e buon vento!!!
02/01/2012 | antonietta
Ciao Ragazzi! vi auguro di cuore un buon anno...diciamo pure che nessuno lo ha iniziato meglio di voi!!!! Un saluto articolare a Vittorio e Bellomino :)
02/01/2012 | Attilio ,Titti e Carlo Ambrosino
Seguendo la vs rotta giorno dopo giorno viviamo di riflesso le senzazioni che state provando...la prossima traversata riservateci una cabina p.s. titti chiede di scriverci degli avvistamenti di delfini, balene, orche dugonghi..etc etc x vitto abbiamo replicato capodanno con Ciro e Tina ad Ischi ci sei mancato...
02/01/2012 | Anna Occhiena
Simpaticissimo babbo natale! In attesa della befana un saluto a tutti e un bacio a Enzo
That was St. Helena
Tom Ambrose
30/12/2011, Atlantic

Santa with a plate of Panettone


Our approach to St. Helena felt like a bit of a race against time and Santa Clause. In the end Santa won but as you already know he kindly came out to Mrs Marietta to cheer us up.

Arriving in the anchorage before dawn we found our way in in the dark and put the anchor down in about 30 meters of water depth. Well secured some took the opportunity of a little shut-eye whilst we waited for the local day to begin. Being Boxing Day and a festive holiday the kind operator at St. Helena Radio was able to contact the Harbour Master to arrange for our formalities and clearance to land. Ever so helpful and friendly Dudi and I were fetched at 9:30 local time and assisted by Barry and Linne to do the harbour and customs forms whilst Fionna saw to our emigration details. Thus sorted we were free to visit the Island.

For me it was a chance to meet old friends and chat while the others sourced an internet connection which they found at the Hotel and also met Peter Martin who offered to take them on an excursion around the Island. With it being the Christmas holidays every thing was closed so it was most fortunate to have Peter's assistance to explore a little of the interior of St. Helena. The shore line is extremely rugged and barren of vegetation due to it's volcanic origins. By contrast the interior is lush and green. This amazed the others on their first visit to this remote destination which can only be reached and visited by boat there being no airport or other link with the outside world.

For me it was wonderful to meet a few familiar faces in the street and to have a meal with Ray and Desiree who always show me such love and welcoming warmth in their home. Due to such a little time there were others that I wanted to see, but perhaps next time.

Tuesday was also a holiday with every thing still closed and with our own pressures on time we decided to make our way further northwards. There was a little work to attend to on board and a compass needed adjusting so while that was being done I went ashore to pay for our ferry usage and some other small items.

Valentinna was unable to find any fish-cakes, a renowned local delicacy, due to the holidays. Undeterred on hearing about this Desiree set about quickly preparing and baking a fresh batch for me to take back to the boat. These were all enjoyed immensely with compliments and chants of " buonisimo ". Thank you Des!

There have been some questions about our speeds and progress. When motoring we run the engine at about 1700 revs per minute for considerations for the engines well-being and a reasonable fuel consumption, this generally give us a speed of about 9.5 knots. Dependant on wind conditions and angles our sailing speeds are generally around 10 knots or a little higher. These factors have resulted in us making around 220 to 230 miles a day. Sometimes it may not seem much but these are point to point distances that do not take into account the actual distances covered in tacks and course changes to maintain close to our route plan.

Since leaving St. Helena both the air and water temperatures have steadily increased. Prior to the island we never caught any fish but with our experiencing warmer water we have now landed a fine Dorado on Monday and a magnificent long-fin tuna yesterday evening just around sun-set.
As ever there is always a lot to be done on board to keep moving at a respectable pace. The constant attention to the boat and gathering weather information has left little time for writing but I hope this contributions suffices for now whilst I think about the next instalment.

Enjoy your day as we enjoy ours at 09 deg 53 min South and 009 deg 13 min West. ( What a co-incidence in those figures. )

Cheers, Tom

30/12/2011 | serena
hihi buongiorno buonasera e buonanotte state bene baci serena e giuliaaaa
30/12/2011 | claudia
vi seguiamo tutti e costantemente anche perchè trasportate merce x noi preziosissima!!!!!!!!!!!! scherzi a parte...........vi seguiamo e tifiamo x voi!!!! tantissimi auguri di un anno 2012 A GONFIE VELE!!!!!!!!!!!!! bacioni a tutti voi e a Vale in particolare
31/12/2011 | luca
"Quando soffiano venti di cambiamento alcuni costruiscono muri, altri mulini a vento"... voi avete deciso di lasciare per un pò l'Italia e regolare le vele!!!
Vi auguriamo un felicissimo e sereno 2012!
un abbraccio,
Luca ed Alessia
31/12/2011 | Federica
Qui Milano.....Mathijs lavora e noi lo aspettiamo per brindare. A voi che veleggiate nei mari del Sud tantissimi AUGURI di Buon Anno! baci dai rossi e dalle rosse e da me.
31/12/2011 | Marco
a voi lupi di mare e alla lupetta che solcate i mari caldi del sud, tanti tanti auguri per un felice 2012. Buon vento a tutti.......
31/12/2011 | Luca
Un abbraccio fortissimo a tutti voi ed uno particolare a Che c'vo.....!!! Torna presto, dobbiamo fare il "pertuso" per l'amaca...!!!!
31/12/2011 | Cinzia
A tutti voi un sincero augurio di buon anno... in particolare a Paolo che mi manca moltissimo. Sono qui con i tuoi amici e ti salutano tutti, orgogliosi dell esperienza che stai vivendo!!!
da tutti noi a tutti voi un buon 2012 che comincia con grandi emozioni, Cinzia Thea Mario Andrea e Fernanda.
con affetto
31/12/2011 | manù
buon 2012 a tutti voi!
e un pò anche a noi che solchiamo i mari col pensiero e voliamo in alto come cormorani....
manù
31/12/2011 | Paola
Dal Golfo di Napoli circondato da una S Barbara
di fuochi d'artificio in barba alla recessione e alle ordinanze dei sindaci di non sparare...vi auguro un sereno 2012..Buon vento..
01/01/2012 | Gennaro
ll futuro appartiene a coloro che credono alla bellezza dei propri sogni,
Buon Anno e Buon Vento a Tutti
Gennaro e Cinzia
01/01/2012 | michele
Happy NewYear to all of you!
per paolo: sei nel tuo! un abbraccio
Santa Claus is coming to St. Helena
Weather Good
26/12/2011, Atlantic

I have made several attempts to write the next portion of our journey but each time have been interrupted by something needing attention on the boat. We are on the move day and night so there is always attention needed somewhere apart from the normal watch-keeping duties. There is always two of us on watch at a time to keep the boat on track. Very little use of the auto-pilot is being made and we are hand steering most of the time. I have named the auto-pilot " Gerronimo ". History has it that Gerronimo was a bit crazy and the auto-pilot has not been the sanest piece of equipment. Hence it's name and the never ending hand steering

Christmas as a religious festival is celebrated in many cultures each with it's own variation of the essential theme. My experience of an Italian version was most pleasant indeed. Whilst missing my own family on such an important occasion it was good to be with caring folk who took the time to celebrate Christmas in a very traditional way.

Even out here Santa Clause was able to find us and arrived resplendid in his red suit and bearing a large plate of Panetoni.The night before we had a sumptuous dinner with the emphasis on fish. Octopus formed the entre or antipasta and was followed by a long pasta with shrimps and lobster on the side. During the day there was Christmas cake or "Pandoro " to give it it's correct name. Later in the evening gifts were exchanged. For lunch today there was a tasty freshly made pasta.Thank you for all the Christmas wishes and messages posted on the blog for us. Shaun was kindly able to forward them on me to print and so allow all to read them.

For two days now we have been seeing Fairy Terns flying around. These beautiful white little birds are endemic to St. Helena Island and are a sure sign of our approach to the first destination on this voyage.It is now a little after two in the morning and I have managed to write this after completing my watch at one am.At position 16 deg 12 min South and 005 deg 21 min West we are about fourty miles from St. Helena and should arrive at the anchorage shortly after dawn.I had wanted to include a contribution by Valentina but she is asleep at present so will try and have it next time.

Cheers, Tom.

26/12/2011 | Serena
My xmas gift, la crostata. Frolla: 400 gr flour, 200 gr sugar,200 gr butter, 3 red eggs, salt & lemmon.
27/12/2011 | Raffaella
Hi guys! Nice to receive these news and greetings from Tom and all of you. Enjoy the rest of the trip, take care and Buon Vento! Raffa
28/12/2011 | Paola....Marietta
Mi sembra che a bordo ci sia una bella atmosfera e questo mi fa molto piacere,
vi faccio i miei migliori auguri per un Felice Anno 2012 e..buon vento
29/12/2011 | manù
un saluto, un abbraccio, un pensiro....
29/12/2011 | Edoardo
finalmente ho capito come scrivere sul blog !!|
Vi seguiamo con tanto interesse.
Dopo Natale a S. Elena dove pensate di passare la notte di capodanno ? Avete già pensato al menù?
Un augurio di un 2012 ricco di ogni bene
Edoardo and family
29/12/2011 | CINZIA
HI GUYS, CONGRATULATIONS FOR TUNA AND "BON APPETIT"!!!
WE WANT TO KNOW HOW IT WAS PREPARED!
HUGS TO ALL.
Cinzia

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