Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Pics from Cape Town to Nice

Middle of nowhere!

Crossing the equator! 

Do I look 30?

Ty's face after getting a cheeseburger with NO bun! Lol!!!


French Riviera

Rob our first mate

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Cape Town South Africa to Nice France
Days 1 and 2- Sea sick and less than enjoyable. What else can I say….well the first couple of days we were beating up into the wind and waves so the bow of the boat goes up…and crashes back down….goes up and crashes back down…so the only way to feel somewhat normal is to take anti-nausea pills and either stay on the helm or lay down in your bunk.

Day 3-it’s a beautiful Sunday!! We figured out how we are going to do our watch systems and that is 4 hours on and 12 hours off. My first full watch was from 6am to 10am and it was gorgeous! That will definitely be my favorite shift watching the sun come up, making coffee, eating breakfast while everyone is still sleeping. Its quite niceJ at the moment we are sailing comfortably as the wind has shifted behind us. We are sailing with just the genoa with about 15-20 knots of wind from behind going along with the swell so its very comfortable. Not gonna lie! The first couple days had me questioning some life choices lol!!! But if its like this more often than not, I can live with this forever… The boat is very spacious inside and socks are never a good idea lol…I went sliding yesterday and almost took out my skipper!! There was nothing to grab onto since it is so big and spread out so I slid right across the entire saloon with no hope of stopping…it was pretty funny actually I couldn’t stop laughing! OOH I did see this amazing rainbow yesterday! It was HUGE!! Was nice to see after being so miserable and sick for a while.

June 11, 2013-day 5
The coolest thing about the night shift is watching the glowing algae sparkle alongside and behind the boat. They sort of twinkle like stars and they are bright neon green. Some nights it is so bright its like that movie Life of Pi with all the CG but its real… Some are huge some are small but they all glow in the water and it looks really cool! The moon and stars are amazing but surprisingly it is cloudy most of the time…When there are no clouds you can see absolutely every star in the sky its awesome!!!!
We flew the spinnaker yesterday to make sure it all works properly and to see how easy or difficult it is to get it up and down. It was a huge success and we got some good speed out of it.
Ty and I take turns cooking with Kenneth and Rob. One night they cook the next we cook. Ty and I made our first meal the other night, chicken stir fry with white rice and a salad on the side and it was delish! We eat well out here actually we have had some really good meals since Kenneth likes to cookJ
Winston and his crew on the other 48 going to Nice just caught up with us! We did have a baton break on our main so we had to pull it down for a bit so he was able to catch up. He left about 2 hours before we did on Friday and he has been ahead for a while but we caught up and we have been a few miles closer to our waypoint than he has for the past couple days. It is cool to finally see another boat out here. I did see a jet flying overhead yesterday but that’s about it…other than that, no other signs of life ….
So the one thing mom said don’t forget to take is the one thing I forgot to bring….SUNBLOCK!!! How the hell did we forget that?!?!? Well at least on this boat you are not in the sun as much. The helm is covered and you are usually inside so it shouldn’t be so bad. Oh and I should have brought some baby powder…for my hair…you don’t exactly get to wash it every day….

Day 10 –June 17, 2013
Not much has been going on lately…just sailing and getting into our routines. Watched a couple movies so far, had some really nice dinners, nothing has really broken yet (knock on wood)…We have been within 12 miles or so from the other boat this whole trip so far so we have been able to speak to them on the VHF every day  which is nice out here to have a neighbor. One night while I was on watch the main halyard snapped and the main sail came falling down the mast in one quick swoop. I had to wake up Kenneth to help me flake it somewhat and tie it down to be dealt with in the morning. We sent him up the mast in the a.m. and he tied it back up again. We are in the trade winds still so it is all downwind sailing with the genoa or the spinnaker for now so we won’t need the main sail for a while. HAPPY FATHERS DAY to all you fathers out there!!! Don’t think we forgot about you we just don’t have a means to call or text J love you all!!! Well we should start fishing soon so that will be a little more exciting! We are waiting until it gets warmer and now we are 2 days from St. Helena so it should warm up pretty soon! It is getting warmer every day though I can tellJ Ty shaved his beard today!!! Lol he looks too clean for a man at sea now! Lol it looks really good though…

Day 13 –June 20, 2013
IT’S HOTTTT!!!!!! YAY!!!! First day to wear shorts finally out of the friggin cold weather!! We are about 12 degrees from the equator now and still flying the spinnaker. This thing is awesome! There is very little wind and we are still getting about 8-10 knots with the swell. My fastest surf on watch was 16.9 knots! THAT was fun and it was at night so couldn’t see anything but just feel the vibration of the boat surfing down the swell.

You have really weird dreams out at sea for some reason….i have had dreams with tigers, monkeys, trains, airplanes…and those were all separate dreams with their own stories behind them…really weird.
Showered on the back of the boat finally! When it is too cold to shower we use baby wipes…lots of baby wipe baths goin on her.  Everyone was waiting for it to warm up a bit and the water temp is 24 degrees at the moment so it’s warm enough.  We have to wear a harness and sit on the back, dip a bucket in the water and douse yourself. Lather up and then rinse with fresh water from a 2 liter bottle. If you think that’s rough try shaving back there too! Lol not so easy.
We put the fishing line out yesterday so hoping to catch some fish for dinner this week!

Day 15 – 22 June 2013
Today was such a great day! We got out first bite on the fishing line and caught a Dorado for dinner!! It was exciting to finally catch something. We were all craving fish for dinner and we caught one big enough to fill the 4 of us for today. We hit our first waypoint and we are officially in the middle of the South Atlantic Ocean in between South America and Africa. Rob made lunch to celebrate our waypoint and we had real bacon and eggs!!!Nice crispy streaky bacon and scrambled eggs…yummm…Kenneth fried up the fish for dinner and made some cole-slaw and mash to go with it. An excellent dinner to end a great day. We are making really good time and flying with our spinnaker still. We did lose our neighbors though. Their spinnaker ripped and they lost the sail so we had to carry on without them. They have to use their genoa for the rest of the trip now which is a real bummer because you get about half the speed as with the spinnaker. We miss them and the bi-daily chats…

Day 20 June 27, 2013
Changing the oil in the two engines today…well Kenneth is and we are all watching and learning. Seems easy enough. We caught another fish the other day! We think it was a wahoo and it was so beautiful when it came out of the water, so colorful. It made for a tasty couple of dinners here on the boat!

We crossed the equator two nights ago!!! We wanted to swim across and drink champagne to celebrate buuuut we crossed at like 4 in the morning so Ty just woke me up and we had a little countdown on the helm while we watched the instruments show us that we officially crossed and then I went back to bed J

Day 22 – 29 June 2013
Happy beeday to meeeee!!! Today I am…Tyrone made me bacon and eggs for breakfast!! And I had 5 cookies for dessert lol….don’t judge me it’s my birthday and I don’t get any cake. I do love the GoPro and my new daypack J (ok I got them a little early but today I express my gratitudeJ) so thank you thank you thank you!!! How does it feel to be 30??? Well I feel older than my 52 year old skipper who is in incredible shape with 2% body fat…lol….no I feel great actually! This is the most unique bday I have had so far and I am looking forward to many more to come in even more unique places.
We put a new lure out today since we have not gotten any bites on the last one and I have a really good feeling about this one! Its bright green and yellow with streamers coming off it and all….we added some weights to it to try to catch a tuna today. That would be so awesome to have tuna steaks for the big bday dinner!!! As of right now we are having steak and potatoes yum…and a snickers for dessert. We can’t use the oven on this boat so the only chocolate we have left is snicker bars and some hard candy that Kenneth brought along. Yes…you heard right….it’s only day 22 and we are almost out of chocolate….I don’t really know how the rest of this trip is going to pan out…..but I’ll keep you posted.
The wind is not behaving properly…it shifted to southwesterly and it should be south easterly at this point in our trip…so the swell is against us and it is pretty choppy right now and cloudy. I hear that you have a better chance of catching fish when it’s overcast though!

Day 23 – 30 June 2013
The wind and swell shifted back in our favor so everything is smooth again but I think we are in the doldrums…its cloudy and there is almost no wind…
We did get to see some DOLPHINS though!!!! I attached my GoPro to the boat hook and got some underwater footage!

Day 37 – 13 July 2013
Well no more fish lately and we are about 100 miles from Horta which is our stop in the Azores. We will arrive tomorrow morning and set foot on land for the first time in 38 days and I can already taste the cervesa! We lost our wind a few days ago which would have put us there last night if they held up but oh well. We will be there soon enough.
I dropped my kindle the other day and I almost cried when I saw that it was broken…I had so many books on there that I wanted to read and now there is just a big blurb of E-ink on the screen.  I gotta get a new one. It’s too perfect for travelling and saving space on the boat.
Tyrone brought 22 snicker bars for this 50 day trip and we still have 2 left! We are going to have a snickers party tonight and I am sure he will restock before we leave Horta and head out for Nice.

Day 40 – 16 July 2013
We stopped in Horta for a day, well 2 full days and one night. We cleaned the boat as soon as we checked in with customs and then we went to Peter’s Sports CafĂ© for a drink. It’s a pretty famous sailor bar in Horta that everyone stops at. We rented mopeds and rode around the island, rode up to the volcano and then stopped at Fim do Mundo – The bar at the end of the world – it is a pretty famous place too. The owner is from there but moved to Boston for a while in the 70’s so he sounds American actually. He goes by Manny and he was super nice so we stayed for a couple of drinks and then rode back into Horta and returned the mopeds before having dinner and finally heading out to sea again. We should be in Nice by the 27th and then we fly out on the 1st to Tahiti!

Day 48 – 24 July 2013
We made it to the Med!!! We left the Atlantic last night and crossed the Straits of Gibraltar and are currently sailing through the Med to Nice.  It was really disappointing to pass through while it was so misty. We couldn’t really see much of the land or the Rock of Gibraltar. I handed the helm over to Ty for his shift to take us through the straits so he got to play Frogger with all the tankers and ferries. We did see a shark surface right next to our boat just before entering! First shark sighting for us!
The overall trip has been amazing and I could really see making a career out of this after the current job of skippering the private yacht. We do get a lot of downtime between shifts so to occupy the time we read, watch movies or tv series that are on the laptop, exercise, cook, play chess or games on the phone, do crosswords or just flip through magazines that we brought.
We did stop once for a swim in the Atlantic and it felt soooo amazing and it was awesome how crystal clear the water actually is. You do get this creepy feeling though knowing that there is a huge vastness below you with no clue of what is really down there. Needless to say I did not stay in very long…J
I was expecting to hit some crazy storms or something but we never did. It was pretty calm the entire trip with no storms and we seemed to pass just between all the little squalls of rain so we never really got wet. I was hoping to go through something while Ty and I were not the only 2 people on the boat lol….now its like “crap we are gonna go through a hurricane or something on our own now, watch”
We lost our main halyard which holds up the main sail three times in total. There was something inside the mast that was chafing it so we rigged it to have the line outside the mast where we could see it. That was really the only problem we had. I know on the other 48 they had engine problems, had a leak in the hull with the good engine, had badly leaking hatches, had their reefing lines chafe through 2-3 times and have an oil leak in their gear box so they have it a lot worse than we do and we are considering ourselves lucky so far.
We are 5 days from Nice and have started cleaning out the boat a bit. We have thrown a lot of stuff that we do not use overboard and have been wiping down every surface and cupboard that we are not using anymore. In a couple more days we will be polishing all the silver and cleaning out our bunks and packing our bags again.
When we get close enough to land Ty can pick up a 3G signal on his kindle so that is how we can kind of check emails and facebook but its very basic and super slow.
We are sailing alongside the other boat and have been with them since right before we entered the Med. We got close enough to trade some goods! We gave them some food and dishwash in exchange for beer and chocolate!!! It was heaven to have one last Windhoek lager which is by far my favorite beer in the world now lol….
We have seen a lot of dolphins on our trip along with pilot whales who decided to come and check out our boat for a bit. We did see one sea turtle and tons of Portuguese man-of-wars.
We finally caught our tuna last week!! We caught a big eye tuna after dressing up the lure with some aluminum foil! It was pretty funny though because the little coke can alarm we have rigged never went off. I just happen to look back and see this fish at the end of our line just skipping along the top of the water. It was only there for a few minutes so we reeled it in and had tuna tacos the next night.
I learned how to make fresh homemade flour tortillas like my Grammys on this trip! I used uncle Jays recipe that he sent me a few months back. Finally got around to trying it out with great success! While they do not taste exactly the same as Grammy’s they were spectacular and have made for some awesome meals lately. J
So this model boat comes with a stereo and solar panels but this particular boat did not have that added per the request of the owners for whatever reason. We got some really good use out of our ipod docking station but it dies very quickly these days and I do not expect it to last much longer. I have been just listening to my phone every day with headphones while on watch and stuff. I could not have made this trip without it!!! I must have music!
Before leaving South Africa we went and saw this band called Shortstraw and became completely obsessed with them! I don’t know what it is about them but I have listened to them every single day for about 2 months now and I cannot get tired of them!! Its like they have subliminal messages in their music or something. I have become a Shortstraw zombie and I really think they would blow up in the US… you can check them out on facebook or you can go to their new website but be careful cuz you might develop a serious addiction like I did…J

Day 52 
FINALLY MADE IT!!!! Nice is so beautiful!!! The Med is gorgeous and we cannot wait to come back and spend some time here. We are off to Bora Bora in a couple days so not enough time to check everything out right now.