06 April 2017 | St Lucie Inlet, Florida
02 April 2017 | Stocking Island, Exuma
01 April 2017 | George Town, Exumas
30 March 2017 | George Town, Bahamas
22 March 2017 | Elizabeth Island, Exumas
09 March 2017 | George Town, Exumas
04 March 2017 | Thompson's Bay, Long Island
03 March 2017 | Stella Maris, Long Island
02 March 2017 | Long Island
26 February 2017 | Crossing from Water Cay to Comer Channel, Jumentos
25 February 2017 | Double-Breasted Cay to Thompson's Bay, Long Island
23 February 2017 | Double-Breasted Cay, Jumentos
19 February 2017 | Hog Cay, Jumentos
16 February 2017 | Duncan Town, Ragged Island
14 February 2017 | Hog Cay, Jumentos
10 February 2017 | Hog Cay, the Jumentos
06 February 2017 | Duncan Town, Ragged Island
05 February 2017 | Hog Cay, Ragged Islands
05 February 2017 | Duncan Town, Ragged Island
Day 13: The Washing Machine
20 January 2014 | Crossing the Atlantic
wind NE 15-20, speed 7.5 kts, partly cloudy
185 nm to go! Hooray! With any luck we'll reach Sainte-Anne, Martinique before dark tomorrow. Yesterday we had nasty cross waves and swell that made for uncomfortable rocking and lurching (the dreaded washing machine effect) but the seas have calmed down today and we're rolling along at a good clip.
Burger is napping as I write, while I keep an eye on an angry black bank of clouds dropping rain on the horizon to the south. We wouldn't mind a deck-cleansing shower before we get to port, but don't need any more squalls. We're so glad we stopped in Cape Verde en route from Gran Canaria which shortened this passage by at least five days.
Despite the annoying motion I was able to read a book the last couple of days, a remarkable and delightful yarn by Swedish author Jonas Jonasson with the intriguing title, "The 100-Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared." (Thanks for the tip, Isabella!) I entertained Burger by reading some of the funny anecdotes. I wouldn't be surprised if it becomes a movie.
Day 11: Fixing Things at Sea
18 January 2014 | Crossing the Atlantic
wind NE 15-20, speed 6.5 kts, partly cloudy
With just 500 nm to go we hope to reach Martinique by Tuesday. The downwind course is a rolly one and we're looking forward to reaching a peaceful anchorage. Yesterday the self-steering windvane cable ripped during a squall with winds up to 35 knots. We quickly switched to the autopilot. Not wanting to depend on it for the rest of the trip, Burger waited worriedly till the wind abated to investigate the damage, and was relieved to find it was an easy fix. The autopilot is a power hog, and were it to fail too, hand steering for hundreds of miles is not a fun option! Today the seas are down and Burger felt up to tackling a less urgent project, troubleshooting the non-functioning wind generator. It too was a fairly quick fix so he's enjoying a well-deserved nap.
More Fish Stories
16 January 2014 | Crossing the Atlantic
wind NE 15, speed 5.5 kts, cloudy
The trades are back as predicted and we're sailing downwind wing on wing. A beautiful mahi mahi (aka dorado) bit the hook but broke loose while being reeled in, taking the hook and lure with it. I was more upset about the poor fish with a hook in its mouth than losing the lure.
A little later a flying fish shot through the salon hatch and landed with a thud on the salon table, then it bounced onto the floor. We returned it quickly to the sea but it may not have survived the double impact. I'm finding fish scales everywhere!
Yesterday Burger cooked up a storm to celebrate crossing the 1,000 mile-to-go mark. We had duck breast glazed with green peppercorn and orange sauce served with gnoccis and tomato cucumber salad, washed down with champagne. Delectable! All is well aboard Halekai.
Midway to Martinique
14 January 2014 | Crossing the Atlantic
light north wind, mare's tails
We left Mindelo a week ago and today we're celebrating the half-way mark with a lemon yogurt pie I just made., With luck we'll reach Martinique a week from now, another 1,000+ nm to go. The weather disturbance that stopped the trades gave us a squally ride last night, keeping us busy reefing the sails in and out, but welcome rain washed much of the desert dust and salt away. Between showers the Southern Cross made its debut. Now we're motoring along at 6 knots. It's a bit rolly with old swell from the north but otherwise the seas are calm. The latest weather grib files show the trades resuming by Thursday, with brisk wind from the NE that should push us quickly along to our goal.
So far we haven't actually seen any ships since leaving port, though our AIS reported three that passed by beyond the horizon: a Japanese fishing boat headed for fishing grounds, an oil tanker on the way to Houston, and a Russian ship, destination unknown.
Yesterday Burger saw a large fish jump completely out of the water that made a huge splash upon re-entry, but by the time he shouted "look!" it was gone. We sometimes see flying fish gliding above the waves, fleeing from predators. Our coke can alarm sounded once today but upon reeling in the line, we found the hook still intact but half the lure had been chomped off. So we know they're out there! Though we have plenty of frozen yahoo, Burger is hoping for a tuna.
Yahoo! We Caught a Wahoo!
11 January 2014 | Crossing the Atlantic
light winds, cloudy, 6 knots speed
Second catch in two days! This time when the coke can alarm alerted a strike, Burger wrestled in a 5 foot long, 40 lb wahoo (aka Kingfish)! Long and sleek, our fish identifying book calls it the fastest fish in the world. Maybe our luck changed because we changed to a homemade silver foil lure?
While Burger reeled it in I collected the paraphernalia: gloves to protect his hands, gaff hook to hoist it aboard, alcohol to anesthetize it (we squirt it into the gills), ice pick to kill it, and fillet knife to butcher it. Burger's surgical skills came to good use as he expertly sliced off the fillets on both sides and returned the carcass to the sea. We now have half a dozen large ziplock bags of wahoo in the freezer, enough to keep us in fish for months. Some has been prepared as poisson cru (aka ceviche) and some is waiting for the frying pan tonight.
What Do We Do All Day Long at Sea?
10 January 2014 | Crossing the Atlamtic
Light wind, cloudy skies, 6 kt speed under motor
Now we're in the "wind hole" predicted on www.passageweather.com before we left. After three days of 20-25 knot winds and an average speed of 7 knots, we're motoring along at 6 kts till the trades recover. We have enough fuel for several hundred miles but hope the wind kicks in again soon.
What do we do all day long? In addition to keeping watch and taking naps, we take turns preparing meals and reporting in on the morning and evening SSB radio net, which give our days structure. Burger keeps our "power plant" charged, tends the sails (with my assistance as needed), monitors our course and downloads weather reports. In between he likes to play video games.
I tend to email and our blog, and am attacking my list of projects which I have trouble finding time for in port: edit Burger's Family History and write mine; sort digital photos to include in our Histories; and write SSCA cruising reports. So far I've disciplined myself not to start a novel since once I do my projects fall by the wayside. We also watch movies (downloaded two new episodes of Downton Abbey just before we left).
We enjoy getting email from friends and family and hearing what's happening, since we have little access to news of the outside world (it's tedious trying to hear news on the radio). We can download messages sent to our normal email address as long as they aren't too long and contain no attachments.
Sushi for Supper!
09 January 2014 | Crossing the Atlantic
light winds, cloudy
Finally we caught a fish! A smallish Mahi Mahi (Dorado) that bit the hook late afternoon, just in time for supper. It provided plenty of fresh fillet which we dunked in soy sauce and horseradish (an acceptable substitute for wasabi) and ate together with a tomato cucumber salad. Delicious! We only had to motor a few hours last night when the wind resumed and kept us going till now. But it appears to be dying again, so it's time to turn on the engine once more. We've come a third of the way since leaving Mindelo the morning of the 7th.
Day 2, The Weatherman Was Wrong
08 January 2014 | Crossing the Atlantic
Wind 20 kts NNE, Speed 8 kts
Our fear of missing the weather window was unfounded. We're zooming along, broad reaching at 8+ knots, and all is well aboard. The sky is blue and the temp is a pleasant mid 70 F (25 C), so we no longer need a blanket at night. I broke out a tin with a deluxe Christmas assortment of Bahlsen Lebkuchen--thank you Ingrid!--that I had hidden as a treat for the passage, and Burger is a happy man. Now if only a fish would bite. We chat with others who are crossing on the Atlantic Crossing Group radio net (aka DragNet) twice a day, and several have caught mahi mahi, but evidently they don't like our lure. Or maybe we're just too fast for them!