On passage from from the Canaries to the Caribbean
04 December 2018 | In the middle of the ocean
It's day 4 of our anticipated 20 day passage to St. Lucia in the Caribbean -- thus we figure, we're one fifth of the way - Hurray! However, since this blog is being posted by a radio link to email to Sailblogs, it doesn't have a photo. Maybe when we reach St. Lucia I'll be able to add one. [update Dec. 23, photo added...]
The last couple of days before our departure from Santa Cruz de Tenerife were primarily occupied with acquisition of food for the passage. In theory, what you buy in a farmer's market has never been refrigerated, and thus works better for long term storage in a crate (with no refrigeration). When we had visited the week before, we learned that Tuesday was the day they received their deliveries, "unrefrigerated." So Tom (our friend/crew) and I went to the Santa Cruz market this Tuesday with two big crates and bought everything on my list. Maybe too much. Now, on day 4, an awful lot of it is turning ripe. That's partly because the "never refrigerated" thing proved not to be true in some cases. And partly because as the weather gets hotter (we ARE heading for the tropics), things ripen faster. This morning I discovered that the second of our two "green" papayas was getting moldy. I quickly diced it up into moldy hunks (to throw overboard) and good-looking hunks (to refrigerate). I passed the bowl of not-so-good papaya out to Craig to throw overboard, and he and Tom thought some of it looked perfectly good. "pass us up a couple of spoons". They did find some good bits, but had to admit that some of it did taste moldy.
I'm the main cook, and it's been long enough since our last ocean crossing that I had forgotten the difficulties. So many ingredients are round, and you can't simply set them down on the counter. Better to cut them in half first, and there's still no guarantee they're not going to go shooting off into the sink or onto the floor. When you open a cupboard, it's almost guaranteed all the contents have shifted since you last had it open. Moreover,you'll be lucky if something doesn't coming flying out because it's been leaning up against the cupboard door. I did cook 5 dinners in advance, and put them in the freezer, so when things (or I) get really crazy, there's a defrost-heat-serve option.
For the first three days we headed south toward the Cape Verde Islands. The first day there was hardly any wind, so we motored. We realized that if we continued to motor, we'd have to stop in the Cape Verdes for fuel, as we certainly don't carry enough to cross an ocean. Fortunately, the wind came up the next day, and we've been sailing since and don't plan to stop at the Cape Verdes. We hired a weather router to advise us before and during our voyage. The advice was to sail from Tenerife (28 degrees latitude) nearly south to 19 degrees latitude, and then make a turn west toward the Caribbean. Craig describes this as a banana shaped route. You sail south until you hit the trade winds, then you turn west. Another reason for not making a more direct route is that there is predicted to be an area of dead air (no wind), and this route would skirt around that. We're hoping to get an update from the weather router tonight, because we've just turned right, toward the Caribbean.
All is well aboard the boat. Craig, Tom and I are getting along well, swapping stories and talking about (and occasionally listening to) music. We used "Otto" (the autopilot steering) for awhile and now we've switched to "Jeeves" (the Monitor wind vane steering). The advantage of Jeeves is that he takes no electricity, operating solely off the power of the wind and the ocean. We have solar panels and a wind generator, so theoretically we can generate most of our necessary power. But not if we're using Otto.
So that's all from here. Greetings to all, and hope you're enjoying the holiday season!
Craig, Barbara & Tom S/V Sequoia