Jan 24, 2016

Back in the EU

N 14° 26.374', W 60° 53.104'

Lucky for us this is only an Overseas Department of France and we are not back on the continent of Europe.

But first I'll write something about our visit to Bridgetown, Barbados.

I'm not really a beach person, but I sure like to looking at one. 

There were plenty of these places in town where we could tie our dinghy.

I know that there comes a time when we have to take our dinghy to the beach, we even have wheels in the dinghy for that. Lucky for us they had these landings. because there was quite a large swell which would have made it very difficult (and wet) to land on the beach.

For some reason I seem to be unable to take any pictures of the streets, only of the water.

The view to the other direction.

After about two weeks it was time to change scenery and we sailed to Martinique.

Clearing in and out on the French islands is very easy. We go into a marina office and fill out a form on a computer and then print it out. Staff stamps it and we are all done. The most difficult part is using a French keyboard. If you've ever used one, you know what I'm talking about.

When we arrived in Le marin, we achored in a nice spot very near the dinghy landings. It also showed on the chart that it was forbidden to anchor in that spot, but since there were other boat too , we did it anyways. Today we had to move, because they are having a sail race there tomorrow. No problem, we moved to the anchorage in Sainte-Anne. We stay here over the weekend and then we return, maybe to the same place. The water in Le Marin is not very clear and there are also so many boats that I don't believe the water is very clean. Here the water is clear and we can swim again. We kind of got to used to swimming already in Barbados.

We don't know if the race tomorrow is on these traditional boats or something else. When we were told to move, Timo was also handed two sheets of paper about it, but all the text is in French...

Jan 17, 2016

Crossing the Atlantic Ocean

N 13° 5.430', W 59° 37.049'

When we were leaving Mindelo, the weather forecast for a week showed that is was going to be sailing with the wind astern. We rigged our two poles already while in the dock. The new cutter jib is either on or off, but the size of genoa can also be adjusted even with the pole attached to it.

We actually bought this new cutter sail with furling system to get better performance on the beat. Now we used it for the first time and it was on a 2000 miles run.

We don't have sat phone (well tecnically we do, but we haven't bought a sim card, yet). We try to manage with the SBB-radio as long as possible. We used it a lot on the European coast. Back then our winlink email worked very well and we used it to get GRIB-files and to update our blog. Now we couldn't get good enough connections for email. We had to try something new. Every night we tuned our radio to receive weather fax. Some nights we got really clear pictures, some night we got nothing. We still don't know the reason why the quality of the reception changed so much.

I would say this is a pretty good picture even though we also had some that were much more clear. This is anyway clear enough to read. 

On this leg I didn't even try fishing. There was so much of this Sargassum that it would have fouled my lure and line instantly.

This guy (and I don't mean my husband) scared me in the middle of a night watch. This particular flying fish landed on top of our pilot house right above my head and started to make a real racket up there when it tried to find it's way back to the water. In the morning Timo threw it away, it was not fresh anymore so we couldn't even put in on the skillet.

Our life on the water was very easy. We ate, slept and kept watch. We did not have any "written" watch system. We did what felt the best at the moment. During the first few nights we took 2-3 hour turns, in the end the longest night watch was 6 hours. When it's just the two of us, life is very simple. On most days we had a warm meal, on some days we did not feel like it. Still we discovered some new dishes. We replaced all pasta with cous-cous, it's was so much easier to prepare. Other new favorite included tuna from a can rolled into a tortilla with various spices and other incredients such olives and dried tomatos.

Here I am just taking things easy. We have some very good lee clothes for some of our bunks. When we really slept we were in one of those. But when relaxing during the day we used our regular bunk for that, (we still did have some pillows stuffed under the side of the mattress). One thing in this picture is very unusual. I have a paperback in my hand. We read all our novels as e-books, so this does not happen very ofter. I was trying to learn about corrosion on boats, and, well, fell a sleep after 10 minures. The same thing happened on an other day when I took my French text book and tried to go over some basic words for the French islands

Since we have a pilot house, we keep watch comfortably inside our saloon. In the colder climates it's nice and warm inside. Now that we are in the tropics it's nice and cool. Well, the temperature does rise, but at least we are out of the sun. We can easily see to all directions with our own eys so we don't really need the radar to see other vessels. During the night we kept the radar on to see approaching squalls.

Some rain shower making an approach, Some only rained a little, some shifted the wind and some made major increase in the wind speed. Usually we just had to close our companionway to prevent the rain coming inside and after 15 minutes everything was back to normal.

Our windwane was for sure the hardest working crew member on this passage. It practically steered the whole way. We also have an hydraulic autopilot, but it takes a lot of juice from the battery. Windwane works for almost free, sometimes it wants some WD-40.

Our trip from Cape Verde took 16 days and we arrived on Barbados on New Years Day. What a way to start a new year!