23 June 2019 | North Atlantic
Since I last wrote here, I managed to lose a long post from my ipad yesterday. But today is a new day ...
This past week, days have been all about wind and waves. It's all a big blur now, so I will focus on some of our recurring themes instead of accounting for the days gone by.
After the days of solitude we have now had pretty close encounters with almost a ship a day. We see them on our AIS system - and they see us. A few have had such scary close CPA's that we have called them up on the VHF to make sure they see us. They seemed to enjoy the conversation. The first one said: "You can pass under my bow" and the next one said: "I will take care of you". We decided to interpret their statements positively.
We have been cruisers for 17 years now, enjoying the freedom of sailing where we want to ... but the truth is, the weather is our boss. No negotiations allowed. This week, no exceptions. The wind picked up, the waves got taller and rowdier. We're floating in an everchanging seascape and are somehow getting into the routine. When we see rain approaching, all cockpit cushions get thrown below decks, we close the hatches and hide out in the salon. Our nights have been pretty rough and chilly so the person on watch stays in the pilot house while the other tries to sleep without falling out of the bunk. We have arranged a safe bunk in the salon sofa with a lee cloth - which has quickly become the captain's favorite spot. I spread out like a starfish in the aft cabin and have not fallen off yet.
No fishing - we gave that up since the prospect of having to clean the fish on the aft deck in the high waves got a little too uncomfortable. We kept seeing birds almost halfways between Bermuda and the Azores - a milestone we met last Wednesday - but they have been rare since. A huge group of dolphins accompanied us for a while yesterday, awesome!
We eat well. As weather gets tougher, it just takes a little longer to prepare - but we have managed to rotisserie roast a cornish hen, make our greek porkloin, grill beautiful Swedish burgers (pannbiff med lök) and a lovely cabbage-pork mix (kålpudding) that will last us for days. One especially rough day we resorted to a can of Swedish pea soup and I doubt it has ever tasted better.
We spent a couple of days in Bermuda sewing windbreakers for the sides of the cockpit and they have kept us remarkably dry. Otherwise, it's a bit of a struggle. Simple tasks, like chopping an onion, become a two-person endeavor - one chopping, the other holding on to the cutting board and trying to resque the pieces before they take off in the wrong direction. All this while Olivia is climbing a huge wave for a couple of seconds and falling down in the next moment. Comfortable, it is not.
6. Broken stuff
Not too bad. A glass coffee pot had to be discarded. The windwane had a knot untied the other night causing some commotion onboard but was quickly salvaged. The navigation computer had some terrifying hickups this morning but is now running smoothly again. Just a little thing every day to keep us on our toes.
The most common word onbord is "Aaaaarrrgh"! Yes, the fine old pirate calling. You think they sounded like that to scare people? My idea is that they were just trying to hold on to the ship, like we do ... and at times we're pretty cheerful too.
8\. Health & Fitness
At least we are not seasick. And this has got to be the ultimate yoga retreat! We are practicing balance, strength and mindset 24/7.
We have adjusted our watches every 15 degrees latitude - now we are on Azores time which feels very hopeful even if we have about 400 nautical miles yet to go. Only two hours from Swedish time, and no jet lag. The whole trip is just taking a lot longer than I expected and I'm looking forward to some internet connection in the Azores to get back to business. And to buy more milk, which is the only thing we're running out of. It will be a few more days before we have land in sight.