Crossing the pond;take 2

Sea

To be able to explore the world by sailing yacht, you have to undergo the small task of crossing large expanses of water, one of those being the Atlantic Ocean. After a summer spent in Europe we are leaving behind Lanzarote and heading south to warmer waters of the Caribbean, specifically, St Lucia.

After my first successful Atlantic crossing back in June, this time with a long stretch ahead of us – to pass more off watch hours – a more detailed log is in order. 

Daily life crossing the Atlantic

Day 1. Tuesday 1st December – For the first time in my 25 years my seasons have been turned upside down, not to mention the fact my advent calendar now has two purposes. Leaving on the 1st means that each chocolate closer to Christmas Day also means a chocolate closer to land. There I was thinking there would be a lack of excitement on a long trip across a big ocean…

Day 2. Wednesday 2nd December – The first full day has seen the engine off with the sails up, a sunny day with the promise that we are heading into more favourable climates than that of a temperamental Lanzarote. Not even 24 hours in and I have already witnessed dolphins playing in our wake and a whale blowing in the distance – as if the second chocolate day wasn’t enough. The night watch meant a clear night sky with stars aplenty and the Canary Islands finally behind us.

Day 3. Thursday 3rd December – With an early morning watch under my belt and a pretty morning sky, I had breakfast and completed a fitness session. It is amazing the things you can do before 9am when you are forced to wake at 5am in the middle of the ocean! A Snickers ice cream bar was the reward after lunch. On my afternoon watch we had a call over the radio from a nearby (and by nearby, that’s 25 nautical miles away) sailing yacht that offered us to join them for a pub quiz – definitely the Atlantic’s first. Lacking in any pub, beer or picture round we joined in and of course 10 rounds later, won!

Day 4. Friday 4th December – After the entertainment of the pub quiz, there is nothing much to report on today apart from the incessant rolling that we have had due to the light winds. All this side-to-side movement is good for is reading and sunbathing and not much else, sometimes it can be a hard life. With the mast representing a huge pendulum and everyone walking like they have just left the pub, I hope tomorrow has more wind to bring.

Day 5. Saturday 5th December  – Frustration over the rolling continues. Rolling, rolling and more rolling sums up the day. Not being able to do any fitness in these conditions meant that instead we worked out that do to a 10 mile walk you would have to walk around the boat at least 250 times – yes endless horizon and long watch hours and its only day 5. By night things picked up a little bit, there was a lightening show, luckily way off in the distance and we also had to stop the engine to attend to a fuel leak. Not the type of excitement you wish for in the middle of nowhere but all the same we all survived the night and the engine is back to behaving.

Day 6. Sunday 6th December – This morning was a struggle, struggling to keep my eyes open on my early morning watch. After a well-deserved sleep I then took to some more sunbathing. It is times like these where I don’t mind getting paid to sit on a yacht in the middle of an ocean when I have my kindle and an endless supply of books at hand.

Day 7. Monday 7th December – Today was the day where I spent all day trying to capture (photograph not kill) a flying fish. Considering they effortlessly pop out of the water every other second it is impossible to get a photo of them. A useful note; flying fish make bad models. Tonight we passed a motor yacht in the distance, about 10 nautical miles away but unfortunately this time no pub quiz was on the cards.

Day 8. Tuesday 8th December – Today we finally reached the one-week mark, in celebration the fishing rods were put out, because what can be more entertaining than catching dinner. Today was the most exciting day watch yet, as we past the half way mark. After expecting unicorns, rainbows and bands playing for us across the half way point, it turned out it was pretty much like every other bit of ocean so far, underwhelming but satisfying all the same.

Day 9. Wednesday 9th December – Today has been another very rolly day; light wind does not make for a happy sailboat. But happy in terms of the unexciting sea state so far – never wish for excitement in the middle of an ocean you might get a lot more than you bargained for. One week and one day in and I have realised around 60% of the conversations must be about food, what you are about to eat, what you have eaten, what you will eat and what you would like to eat. Talking about our next meal and making decisions somewhat takes your mind of the roll for at least a minute. Now for a snack…

Day 10. Thursday 10th December – The rolling continues into today, furling the sail in and out every other hour in hope that the wind would come good. Nothing to report on today, so I will continue to report that my 10th chocolate was in fact father Christmas himself – always a silver lining.

Day 11. Friday 11th December – Finally, more dolphins! After 11 days we can now say we are officially on a Trans-Atlantic crossing with these playful creatures gracing us with their presence on more than one occasion. In celebration, there were homemade brownies for desert.

Day 12. Saturday 12th December – Another weekend passing whilst at sea. I would like to say that this means something, but the watches and routine continues. Although, the weekend means we are even further to our estimated Tuesday arrival.

Day 13. Sunday 13th December – So close, but yet still 24 hours away. Land is close, we can almost taste the rum.

Day 14. Monday 14th December – L A N D. 14 days later and we can see St Lucia, luckily as that’s where we are meant to be going. In true Caribbean style, we docked the boat, wobbly walked off the boat unsure about the stability of land and after consuming a lot of celebratory rum, wobbly returned to the boat for an uninterrupted nights sleep.

My 2nd Trans-Atlantic completed. My 1st East to West crossing completed.

December, 2015 (St Lucia)

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