We are Here! :-)
30 June 2007 | Horta
Wow... we made it. Not that I had any doubt, it's that we were able to do it as quickly as we did. It now feels like we flew across the Atlantic on Aisling's wings: 11 days and 21 hours. This will always be remembered as 11 days and a bit.... it's called "poetic licence".
The front went through yesterday afternoon and eventually the wind turned to West and died. We motored into Horta just after customs closed but were assured by the marina staff that it was OK to go ashore for dinner. Horta is an exotic and charming place, with beautiful Portugese architecture: a bustling spot. We all went to Cafe Sport, the yachtie's hangout, for supper. The food was delicious and the people are friendly and helpful. Dave had Wreck fish for supper. I asked the waiter what wreck fish was and he said "what other types of fish do you know?" and we started reeling off names of fish. I thought he might say "yes, that's it" but he looked at me and said, "Ok yes you know your fish and wreck fish should be added to the list!"
We had rum colas to celebrate and sat in the cockpit listening to Stan Getz for a while before turning in. We plan to spend a week here and then move on to explore some of the other islands.
All the best from Aisling I
29 June 2007 | 30 miles off Horta
We are all eagerly anticipating our arrival in Horta. The past 24 hours have been a bit of a slog, with high wind, big waves and at times pouring rain. In the cockpit, we feel wet and cold. Below, it is almost impossible to stand. On several occasions, when large waves have hit the boat, we have been the victims of attacks by various objects flying through the air like torpedoes (including a can of cashews, a camera and a kettle full of (fortunately cold) water). On the plus side, this morning a "Mr. Big" chocolate bar flew right into my lap!
I have finished reading Suite Francaise and this morning began Rachel Carson's "The Sea Around Us"(1) (a parting gift from James, Sara Jane, AJ and Liz). Her words provide an eloquent explanation of the sense of wonder we feel during an ocean passage..
(Mankind) "....cannot control or change the ocean as, in his brief tenancy of earth, he has subdued and plundered the continents. In the artificial world of his cities and towns, he often forgets the true nature of the planet and the long vistas of its history, in which the existence of the race of men has occupied a mere moment of time. The sense of all these things comes to him most clearly in the course of a long ocean voyage, when he watches day after day the receding rim of the horizon, ridged and furrowed by waves; when at night he becomes aware of the earth's rotation as the stars pass overhead; or when, alone in this world of water and sky, he feels the loneliness of his earth in space. And then, as never on land, he knows the truth that his world is a water world, a planet dominated by its covering mantle of ocean, in which the continents are but transient intrusions of land above the surface of the all-encircling sea." (2)
Yesterday, Katherine asked via email whether the colour of the ocean on the coast of Portugal (where she and Christopher will visit us in late August) will be the deep colour of blue we have described in earlier posts. According to Ms Carson, the answer, unfortunately, is no. "The deep blue water of the open sea far from land is the colour of emptiness and barrenness; the green water of the coastal areas, with all it varying hues, is the colour of life. The sea is blue because the sunlight is reflected back to our eyes from the water molecules or from very minute particles suspended in the sea. In the journey of the light rays into deep water all the red rays and most of the yellow rays of the spectrum have been absorbed, so when the light returns to our eyes it is chiefly the cool blues that we see. Where the water is rich in plankton, it loses the glassy transparency that permits this deep penetration of the light rays. The yellow and brown and green hues of the coastal waters are derived from the minute algae and other microorganisms so abundant there." (3)
For those of you who would like to see the lovely blue colour of the deep sea at eye level, we are taking bookings for Aisling's next passage (Azores-Bayona) departing around July 21st!
Next stop, Horta, only 30 miles to go, stay tuned!
Reference for the quotes above ... 1. Carson, Rachel, "The Sea Around Us" Special Edition Oxford University Press, NY, NY, Copywrite 1950 ISBN 0-19-506186-1. 2. Ibid page 15 3. Ibid page 20, 21.
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Oh, so close...
28 June 2007 | 70 km sw of Flores
The predicted winds piped up overnight and as a result, during most of the day, we have been charging along at between 7 and 8 knots of boat speed with a triple-reefed main and the staysail. Aisling loves these conditions but the bumpy ride is quite a change from yesterday, when I was entertaining myself by making guacamole and baking banana bread (You wouldn't believe how long green bananas will last on a boat, but there is a limit!)
It was very exciting to see the miles-to-go slide under 200 at around noon today! Hard to believe our passage is almost over. This afternoon Rick and I watched a pod of dolphins playing in the waves beside the boat: the water was so clear that we could see them even underwater, and the contrast of their grey colour against the brilliant blue of the water and the white foam of the waves was spectacular.
In short, all is well..more tomorrow
All the best from Aisling I