Saturday, July 02, 2016

At sea, Bermuda to Azores

It has been awhile since we crossed an ocean, the last time being in February of 2013 when we crossed the South Atlantic from Namibia to Brazil. It was a only a short jaunt from the Bahamas to Bermuda, just  seven days so during that time it seemed we just left and then I was anxious to arrive.  This voyage it seems to be more about the journey than the getting there. 
We are settled into our pattern of basically four hours on, fours hours off at night and then snoozing during the day as needed.  The first part of the trip felt frantic, big winds and bashing about making great distances everyday.  Then the weather calmed and we turned north to avoid the high. The sailing was easier, long days of beautiful sunny skies and decent winds.  Then heading east, the wind coming around to on our nose and having to tack, making around fifty miles per day in distance towards our destination while actually sailng over a hundred. The only other option was to turn on the engine, but we still had too far to go and we were making decent progress. Then the wind petered out, we desperately headed two degrees of latitude or about one hundred and twenty miles north of our course on the strength of one weather fax which promised winds from the north west which would send us along beautifully, blowing from behind us.  They never appeared and the wind just died. We had about 400 miles to go on a supposed 1680 mile journey, time for the iron genny. We motored for about 36 hours straight down the rhumb line towards  the island of Flores our landfall in the Azores. (The Azores belong to Portugal and are considered part of the EU) The winds have picked up from the north just two hours ago and we are now making about  4 knots under sail in a straight line, with 190 miles to go.  Adding it all up we will have sailed over 2030 miles when we arrive, the extra 350  miles being generated by tacking and also at the beginning we went straight east instead of northeast to avoid a nasty weather system to the north and then heading straight north to avoid the high to the east instead of angling northeast on the rhumb line. All in all, not bad though, considering boats in front of us got caught in that high and have taken three weeks to do the journey which we will complete in 16 days. 
A selfie at sea on Canada Day, just after sunrise. 

We have been honing our Scrabble skills, or should I say word game skills because the electronic version does not allow for a challenge when someone puts down what is considered a questionable word, so I don't figure it should be called Scrabble, but I digress. Barry loves to say "I am going to kick your ass" when we start playing  so I had come up with a definition, if one of us beats the other by more than 100 points you are then allowed to say that you have "kicked ass". 
I really wanted to be ashore for Canada Day but we will spend this one at sea.  I will put up our really large Canadian flag tomorrow and think of all of you back home watching parades, fireworks, celebrations on TV, having a BBQ and some beers and enjoying one of the finest countries in the world.  Here's remembering some of the super celebrations we have had on our journeys, the great party in Raiitea, in French Polynesia, aboard Cat's-Paw IV, sailing away from the caves in Fiji in the Yasawa group, the pot luck on Cat Mousses in Mauritius and the triumphant return home to Canada two years ago when we spent the day with our daughter Jennifer and her family in Cape Breton. I think my brother may be in Muaritius four years to the day since we were there, who would have thought, good on you bro, I hope you are celebrating. Have a great day all my fellow Canadians wherever you may be.