Saturday, April 4, 2015


One of the things about being on an extended passage is that your thoughts kind of come and go in bits and pieces without any thread of coherent conclusions. This just-completed two day passage of nearly 300 miles, more than half of it spent manning the helm while motoring in the absence of an autopilot, lent itself to much of this kind of rambling thought, some of its confusion caffeine-induced. In my case, a lot of it is provisioning related since nearly 300 miles at an average speed of about 6 knots gives you a lot of time to think about provisioning and the summer project list. Some of it is weather and navigation related, some of it is unexpected pleasures. Tim will write in more detail about the passage a bit later when he's not so exhausted, but in the mean time I offer this picture post and some rambling.

It depends on the wind of course, but we nearly always get 3/4 to 1 knot of extra speed if we hoist the main while we're motoring. It certainly does wonders in stabilizing the boat in a bad roll, something we experienced nearly all of this trip. Remember my recent posts on weather guessing? Very nearly not one single moment of this trip was as forecast. Not the grib files, not Marine Weather by Accuweather, and not even the venerable Chris Parker had it right.

The 52 knot gust we took in Fox Town completely destroyed our anchor snubber, in spite of good chafe guards in the chocks. It also knocked the chock in the rail loose and we need to fix that now.

Tim used a good bit of the non-rolling portion of our trip to make a new snubber line which involves two long splices and some sewing of chafe guard out of some generously donated fire hose (Thanks Bill and Tricia!)

The water in the open Atlantic has a decidedly different color to it with some marked purple tones. I liked this one, because it looked a bit like a mountain range, you know of the "purple mountain majesties" type.

Later, with the sun setting on the ripples, the geometric shapes were fascinating to watch.

This storm built out to the East of us. Later, after the sun set, we were glad that we weren't near it since it contained a rather spectacular display of lightening.

Sunset the first night. There's always something magical about watching the sun set the first night of a passage. The jet contrail shooting right through the sunset was a unique touch.

In the unexpected pleasures category, this trip's winner was this bird. While I was at the helm in the afternoon, I had my feet extended out on the coaming and this little bird landed right on my toe. Scared the crap out of me because I wasn't looking and when I twitched my toe he flew right up on my knee, not a foot from my face. I laughed and he took off for the winch. He then hopped onto Tim's sleeping form, down his shoulder and over to his hat bill, onto his extended hand and then into the dodger, all while Tim slept unawares. The deck monkey was tired. The bird then proceeded to explore the dodger looking for crumbs that the grandkids might have left in the cracks of the teak grate. He hitchhiked on the boat for over an hour, just hopping around, and then left us for who knows where. The closest land at that point was 18nm away.


On the second evening of this trip the moon came up at 7:13 and the sun set at 7:43 so we had the moon looking like this on the Eastern horizon...

And the sun setting on the Western horizon in all its glory.

This morning we were treated to  a pretty amazing sunrise as well.

Food is highly overrated on a passage. I made chicken salad and egg salad sandwiches beforehand which we ate, but probably the best thing we had was a cold Snickers bar from the fridge. Adequate beverages are far more important. I kept finding I was craving potato chips for some reason, probably because we had run out weeks prior and they're just too expensive in the Bahamas to buy.

Our blood is tropic thin at this point and we were huddled in the cockpit in sleeping bags and winter hats like some Arctic explorers.

I don't like being in water I can't see through.

I don't like being back in the land of rules and regulations again.  The Bahamian people are grown-ups that know how to behave and take appropriate risks without always needing to find someone to blame for their failures.

Old Bahama Bay Marina in the West End, Bahamas is my favorite marina, hands down. Great people, excellent docks, the best swimming pool we've ever been to, excellent beach with good snorkeling, free bicycles, good laundry, hot showers....

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young (or any combination of the four) and Joe Cocker rule for passage music. The Shower Mate waterproof suction cup bluetooth speaker has proven its worth in recent weeks. We use our iPads for music and can leave them inside and move the bluetooth speaker around to wherever its convenient. I like this because if Tim's on the helm and wants music but I want to sleep, he can have it right next to him and I won't hear it the way I would if we had built-in speakers on the boat. We haven't tested it in a downpour, but it does well in the general moisture-laden atmosphere of the boat.

The Delorme InReach satellite communicator performed way above all expectations for us this time in the Bahamas. We used it to post to Facebook and also to notify friends and family of our progress. While I'm sure the texts are annoying to them, at least someone on the planet knows where we are in case we don't report on time.

A really big ship a mile away looks like you can reach out and touch it.

Sailing at night is sometimes better than sailing in the day. Sometimes it's a good idea not to see how big the waves really are that are right behind you.

I was very happy to have made this trip without the use of the anti-seasickness patch. I guess I'm finally getting acclimated. Tim decided to use one just as a precaution since he does all the foredeck work. It was a good thing he did.

I'm getting better, but I almost always miss securing something down well enough and find something flung across the cabin when I go below.

We tried to talk a lizard into accompanying us on this voyage with the promise of many Ft. Lauderdale ants to eat, but we didn't get any takers.

Flying fish evidently need better radars. This is without any doubt the largest one we've ever had fly onto the boat.

We sailed right through one of the largest fields of Man-of-war jelly fish that I've ever seen. They floated by for hours.

If you need to buy courtesy flags for a trip, spend the money and get good sewn ones. In fairness, this one endured our 52 knot gust but its edges are fraying and it will have to be replaced.

And in the greatest passage pleasure department, the winner goes to Henry the wind vane. There is simply no way to describe the feeling you get when you shut the engine down and you sit back and watch the wind vane power the boat silently as it swishes through the water using not a single bit of dinosaur juice. Thanks Henry.

1 comment:

sv Well, Why Not? said...

Beautiful pictures especially the sunset!