no more refrigerator.

at sea
18.33.00 N
061.33.45 W
27.09.08
1000
s/y nina
__________________________________



well well well. i'd have to say the crossing this time has been a lot more like work and less like an adventure, which is not to say intolerable, but perhaps also not less great. the parts of each day devoted to watch or the business of sailing are still a treat and i am yet impressed with the learning curve activity. it's been a few days now. ankle is still a bit of a drag. i have finally felt like i should ease off on the icing. still monitoring its strength and i am tending to favour it slightly. not that there are any long distance treks to contend with.

fancy gps satellite thingy that shows our route from france to BVI

actually, not terribly accurate. i believe we
were a little further south and not so much in a straight line at all.




up the mast part seven went way better than the previous versions. the main halyard got accomplished with a significantly less costly fee, some abrasion and far less bruising. i anchored myself in exactly the opposite fashion from the first failed attempt and was rewarded with a worn out spot on my wrist and now have matching heels. though the new blistered section is not as dramatic as the one on my right heel from last week. they are similar now in size and location. another half hour spent at 70'. this time with the direction of waves and in significantly less wind. i did question why i went up there at one point. 'why am i here?' i thought. 'foolish? stubborn? sadomasochist?'


the pristine galley


the fridge gets turned off today. it seems that we're stepping up the 'get-out-of-the-boat' programme and it doesn't seem to me that we're going to get three days to clean the boat and so on on in virgin gorda. also we're starting to lose all of our food. which means that we don't eat on the boat when we arrive anymore. this discourages me. i can't yet afford to eat in restaurants. and why should we get to enjoy being on the boat, we have only been sailing it for a month and a half. so it goes. let the cleaning begin.

a ship!

at sea
18.41.30 N
046.41.45 W
21.09.08
1130 utc-3
s/y nina
_______________________

it occurs to me that the expression 'at sea' is also akin to the expression 'out to lunch.'

the second of two consecutively mostly satisfying watches. i slept rather very well between them. we've been sailing roughly 6 - 7.5 knots since yesterday evening sometime. that nice wind that we were expecting has come through. watch is usually the good part regardless, and night watch doubly so; it's a better time when the boat's not continually at a threshold of 'time to get an engine on - not enough wind.' when it's at that liminal zone, attention to the instruments is more important and more tiring. as there is the potential for misreading the data. as i am aware that i much prefer sailing to motorsailing, i am aware of a tendency to pretend that the boat is actually doing better than our minimum when it might not be. and then it's also important to be sailing when it's possible to. more than once i have had to answer for the boat doing 4.5 knots for 30 seconds in a row when skipper is looking. never mind that it was doing 5 or 6 knots when he wasn't. the data in the liminal zone is open to interpretation. regrettable that this raymarine setup does not have a graph of wind speed over time like flying cloud did. that makes things real straightforward.


shh. don't let anyone know that this is supposed to be enjoyable.

that'll surely lead to trouble.



a difference in interpretation leads unfortunately to sharp criticism. it's still my belief that it's important to have minor errors from time to time.. that the skipper's tendency to twitch / micromanage / vent / otherwise behave unreasonably be indulged in a harmless fashion. it also helps if occasionally said twitchy unreasonable person makes a minor gaffe and is reminded that we're all flawed and imperfect humans from time to time. there was that thing of always behaving as though you are right, while maintaining an awareness that you're not always right. right? different than behaving as if you're always right. right?



recent sightings

~ hammerhead shark. brownish or tannish colour. 6-8 feet. bumbling along off to starboard and then aft. the briefest of opportunities to see one. unmistakably a hammerhead.

~ exciting meteor. one two three... luminiferous trail in a massive line in the night sky. a bog pop and a bright flash. the pop was inferred and not heard.

~ a fly.

~ the absence of airplanes. this is the mostly empty part. there was some amusing commentary during dinner yesterday:

/ (pointing out the window, excitedly): "a ship!"


\ (somewhat less excitedly): "you mean... out here? at sea?"

truly, it had been days since any sightings.

~ stars: for the first time in a long while it was not overcast on one of my night watches. the moon conveniently rose after the end of my watch. saw taurus, gemini, ursa minor, scorpio, ptolemy's cluster. i believe this was the first good astromoly opportunity on this voyage. the plow, or big dipper if you're not from ireland, is not really in the sky. though you can see a part of the handle as it rotates around polaris over the course of the night. with the moon having been nearly full and in the sky for most of every night, less great opportunity to look into the night.

"but there's a saying, 'when travels are many, experiences are mixed.'"
~ Skallagrim Kveldulffson, King Eirik's Gift, Egil's Saga

more from up the mast. trying to make sense of it.

at sea
18.36.46 N
35.10.15 W
1430 utc-2
16.09.08
s/y nina
_______________________


neglected to notice bruising on my chest. it's a physical record that i was mostly using my right hand to do the work. and that i was up there way too long, while accomplishing basically nothing. when i got down i saw what had been sent up the inside of the mast. it's hard not to be irritated, but there was about an inch of spectra line sticking offa the mousing line. what, no taping the end? we did find, while at a marina that we had to taper the end going into a pulley when mousing a line. and that was not 70' of line. it was horizontal and only about 20 feet through the boom. i feel as though somehow this lesson was lost on my skipper, who also went and had a smoke break while i was up the mast getting bashed over and over again into the mast. sorta feels like sabotage. no wonder i couldn't get the halyard through that pulley.



i thought it slightly suspicious that my headlamp hurt last night when i took it off my forehead. as it bounced once, then twice. then rested in a non-hurty fashion on an inanimate shelf beside the instruments. legs already feel less of a drag. chest feels more of a drag. the spots where the mousing line dug into the flesh in my pinky finger. (both the left and right hands). lost a lot of skin off my heels. i had established some meaningful contact with i think the spinnaker halyard. and there was no way i was letting go, even when i realized it was going to be a doozy of blister. that'll be about week. at least a week. actually, i'm expecting the bruising cycle to take roughly a week. a moratorium on doing pushups. matt had suggested that he got a lot of exercise when standing watch. makes sense to me. i celebrate the beginning of each new hour with a set of exercises when possible. except sort of in the past tense. at least until i stop feeling like i have been visited by a meat tenderizer. some fun in each bicep. and a nice bruise coupled with a stretched ligament limp on the one foot. actually, i guess i was hanging on for dear life. the bruise on the top of my foot is from my other foot, which held me against the mast. rewards for my stubbornness.





it occurs to me that angela from elvis the gecko had a similar problem, but motored to the middle of the closest high pressure system before even thinking about sending anyone up the mast. of course, there are slightly different circumstances here. but still.

i understand that we can see not much more than 25 nautical miles from the centre of our yacht-centric universe. today we're a cloudless zone ringed by a few wisps near the horizon. altocumulus and stratus clouds mostly, some cirrus clouds way to starboard. mostly just lovely. i have invented a shade device i tuck into my hat and into my shirt to keep the sun away. to stave off a gradual rightward shift in my political leaning. or at least to keep my neck from getting too red.

lost our halyard.

at sea
18.38.30 N
033.19.15 W
1840
15.09.08
s/y safari
____________________________

lost the main halyard. so we had up the mast, latest version. ouch.

12 knots of wind. at first we were broadsides and i went off to one side. no good. i spun around the shroud like a top. and was at one point starting to become concerned. i was spinning spinning and holding onto the shroud, my leg got wrapped in one of the spectra lines. i stopped myself. good thing to avoid a compound radial fracture out here. we went head to wind, and i'm not convinced it was for the best, though that did decrease the lateral movement. i'm starting to think that the actual correct way is to head in the direction of the waves and thusly therefore minimize the bouncy bouncy. i have been debating whether to include photos of the bruising. as i'm up there in the bosun chair, the boat moves and i pendulum. is that a verb? and slam into a shroud, the mast, some spreaders. solution: wrap legs around mast and hold on for dear life. keeping in mind we're now looking at approximately 70' above the boat. the plan: simply, send a fishing line down the hole at the top of the mast. it's weighted with a shackle pin. then, simply tie the halyard onto the mousing line (fishing line) and haul away. through the block, down to the mainsail, back up the mast and tie a big snubber knot in the top, and everything will be hunky dory. oh yes, and don't forget to cut the end of the 'old' halyard off of the keeper pin on the top of the mast. and don't cut the topping lift by accident. that's what's holding whoever volunteered for this little gig. what was that about how a volunteer is someone who misunderstood the question?

subtract steps 3-7 and add 10 minutes for each 3 knots above, say, whatever becalmed might be (around 3-4 knots of wind). i'm pretty sure i was up there for actually about half an hour. considerably more than the 10 minutes i'd hoped to have spent accomplishing this task. the dental floss or fishing line or whatever it was skipped off the wheel at the top of the mast. i thought i was clever when i wrapped a wee bit of it around the arm of my sunglasses and stuck it in there to get it back in place. no avail.

i did manage to bang my shin on something spectacular on the way down. i think on a high tension stainless steel cable. more like getting hit with an iron bar. great. the bruising is a little owie, still. i'll be more philosophical when i know that there's no real or lasting damage. fortunately i have acquired more than one owie to fixate on. thirsty.


the bruising promises to be quite fabulous. and i am strangely hoping for light airs. this time some actual light airs. so that i can get up there and complete the task.

up the mast. but a different mast.
different boat. this does, however, give a good idea about
the location of the task at hand.


russ went up for a couple minutes, managed to get most of the way up before letting go of the mast. he swung pretty much all the way around the mast and cranked his back and shoulder into one of the spreaders. time to come down. it was, i think, a bad idea for him to go up there. at one point i told him i thought it was my responsibility to tell him that i wouldn't climb on the knot he'd tied in the topping lift. the last thing i need is some sloppy knot tier falling 70' to the deck of our boat and getting hurt. and since he's the skipper, it'd be great if he didn't profoundly hurt himself.

i'd happily wait a few days before going back up there. it hurts when i walk. my leg sucks. no more pushups and no more situps until this feels like it's definitely going to be not a problem.

shhh. it's quiet.

at sea
18.58.45 N
030.35.30 W
0745
14.09.08
s/y safari
_________________________________

yep. the sun is riz. something about the sunrise watch is actually kinda fun. warms up. transition from needing a headlamp to needing sunglasses. it's warm out right now, too. less layering. of course the downside is that the boat never really cools off. being hermetically sealed and all, air barely flows out of the recesses. though there is a vent system and of course the air con, which we don't use. battery voltage going down quicker than ever, and i wonder how long we'll get to keep our freezer. we're better than halfway now. Martin wrote on the Nick Buzz CD, 'forever halfway there.' i think hopefully not. though zeno's paradox continues to apply.

there's no music on this voyage. use of any electrical device means use of electricity, and therefore eats into the gas budget. and therefore is considered frivolous and we're simply doing without.

but somehow the battery voltage is dropping right regular anyhoo. this seems to be a source of frustration. the storage cells are to be kept above 12.05 V at all times, as they can be permanently affected i.e. damaged and don't hold charge as well for as long if they ever get below a certain point. (around 12.00 V). this means we are running the generator several times each day. we still have a freezer full of sliced, white bread, some frozen veg and stuff. getting to be really expensive bread. i wonder. if only we were allowed to use the oven. there is some myth that russ can bake bread on the range top; so far, a series of failed experiments. he's not given up yet though.

wing-on-wing. oops.

at sea
20.21.00 N
025.35.00 W
1100
s/y safari
12.09.08
___________________________

trouble in paradise. when we do watch handover, usually there's some direction about what our range of preferred course is based on the predictions about weather and wind behaviour. as we do get quite up-to-date data, it's usually pretty safe to predict that our wind will be x knots coming from y degrees until z time. when new conditions may or should apply. local conditions prevail, as they say, and sometimes the weather just doesn't do what anyone behind a desk in some other part of the world thinks it might.

we're on the edge of the range, see, and there's been all this talk of goosewinging, see, and i was even asked point blank if i had any experience with it, and i of course replied, 'a certain amount.' i was given a brief (perhaps superfluous), 'this is how we gybe the headsail' tutorial. no problem. all leading up to what? my directives said that our 'ideal' course was 245° and we'd been having some trouble making 270°. not undoable, but slightly noisy. i elected to go for the wing-on-wing.

not met with approval. after about four minutes, russ came on deck. i was given a royal 'bollocking,' as they say. we're often told that russ is not at his best when he immediately wakes. and usually for about 8 hours after that. this was quite exceptional though. when i assured him that it was not meant to be malicious, he said that he was just 'having a go' and continued to have it. whatever it takes. we immediately undid the goose-wing, went from 248° to about +5 of the maximum of our former range and remained so for the rest of my watch. curiously, we have been goose-winging for most of the rest of today. the problem is that i took too much initiative in the process. no decision-making allowed. maybe wing-on-wing is a bigger deal than i think it is. hm.

in the tropics

at sea
21.44.00 N
021.17.45 W
10.09.08
1900
s/y safari
______________

'tanking along' at nearly 8 knots. a lovely broad reach, one reef in the main and only a wee spot of headsail away. still heading basically south and west. at some point, we'll head west and north, but that's not for a long while. strategy is a part of that. and just the general scale of where we are and where we are theoretically headed.

by now, josephine should be in the caribbean and we can only hope that this one's not too devastating. it must be something to live year in and year out with the possiblity that the wind may one day kick up and wipe all your work away. just started reading 'travels with charley,' which opens with a hurricane. never knew until recently that each year they start with 'A' and ascend alphabetically. in steinbeck's book, "Donna" was on the labour day weekend. so that gives us an idea about how the global weather patterns may be changing in our time. i wonder if they got to hurricanes larry or marvin routinely in that time.

we've crossed the tropic of cancer. therefore we're now in the tropics. heaps of flying fish. they, en masse, spring from in front of our bow waves into the wind. thirty or forty mouse-sized projectiles skipping along the waves. they're elegant and fly like birds; some of them make fifty, eighty feet. occasionally skips like a stone on a creek and doubles its distance.



being between the tropics means also that we should be able i think to see the southern cross. had some dolphins yesterday, more together and also more active /friendly than before. they surfaced right between our hulls and opened their blow-holes. surprise! it sounds like breathing. and man, are they FAST.

at lunch we're told that the cotton-wool ball clouds are associated with the trades. i'd always associated them with stratus clouds. regrettably, i had to stop and ask. no, we don't call it cotton-wool. and nor had i heard the term 'mare's tails' before. stratus clouds. cirrus clouds. easier.

but that's good we're closer to the trades now. it appears out weather window is holding. at this point, that means nothing significant is developing over africa. tropical revolving storms, as they are called, begin as large depressions. if they deepen, they can be upgraded to a TRS or to Hurricane proper. if they're big, they get named.

after a little waiting around in the canaries.

at sea
23.26.30 N
018.45.15 W
0900
09.09.08
s/y safari
____________

been at sea a while. no writing.

file under: 'if'n ya can't say anything nice.'

it's getting hot. new strategy: reading reclined on the floor in my quarters is significantly cooler. several degrees. if i wasn't concerned about possible abrasions, i would go trailer park and line the windows with tinfoil.

the water ration is too low. for a minute there i thought that it would be bumped up to 2L per day. but only for a minute. then russ figured out that teri was unconcerned about being dehydrated. i think when arriving in antigua in march i was closer to 5 L a day. that matthew's claim that 10 L per day per person is a good idea, i'm still not certain. but certainly limiting oneself to 1.5 L per day is less awesome than aiming high. less energy. the idea was, if you feel dragged out, you're probably dehydrated. if you have a headache, you're probably dehydrated.

problem i) i like coffee. a diuretic.

problem ii) by setting a low limit, i consistently fall under it, so i am likely consuming less water in a 24 hour period than i am 'allowed:' plain fact is, we'll not run out in any way, but there's this rationing mentality nonetheless.

and the food. life's too short to eat crappy food. but there should at least be enough of it. starting to feel like the food allotments are also too low. seeing as we're basically in the 'work for food' category. halfway to the other side of the pond, i should hope to do an inventory and evaluate how much food we /actually/ have. i am quite certain we're going to throw a pile out when we get to the other side. i'm not super cranky about luxury items: cheese, butter, jam, sugar cookies. but it'd sure be great to have more pasta. crackers. piece of bread. i know what's here, when we get 'there' we'll have to give away bags of flour, rice, pasta. i'll be profoundly frustrated each time i leave the table hungry. the problem in sailing with people whose metabolisms are not geared to an active life.

there's a funny taste in the water. in soup. in pasta. in coffee. heaven forbid that you'd want to sup a glass of the boat's fresh water supply. i once thought it would change if we flushed the tank with fresh. nope. i gradually eliminated variables. i was cooking with it when i first noticed it. i thought i'd put too much black pepper in a soup and consequently it was all bitter. i thought someone who shall remain nameless let the coffee boil, making it bitter. ruining an otherwise innocent and tasty brew. not so. (or not only that.)

am wondering if it's in the hose that brings the water. i have had water that tastes like a hose before and it's not wonderful. or if it's the plastic water tanks. or if it's the chemical we were told about that was used in the tanks. (we did rinse, but i am convinced though i was not enough assertive about this, that we missed on
the proper amount. at the beginning of this trip we were to flush the tanks with 9000 L of fresh. well, we certainly did fill the tank 3 times. but we should have filled it four times. hmm. and why was i not assertive about this?)

no way to know. no way to disguise it.

hungry. starting to find food loathsome. hungry.


one day on watch, this ship shows up.
i observed it putting up all of its sails.
better than tv.



sailing. not a tremendous amount of wind, but sailing. that improves things more than slightly. far superior to rotting in port. the waiting around was really getting to me. there's still a certain amount of anxiety, i suppose, or at least apprehension about the weather we may encounter. for what it's worth, daily grib files, certainly the sat pics of hurricane ike were cause for concern. though we're not likely to head into anything. we're told that september
is the busiest month. (not for transatlantic boat traffic, but for tropical revolving storms.)

still, we've weather routing, daily grib files, and meteo france's daily weather broadcast. so we're well advised about what is what.

GAS.

AT SEA
31°48'30"N
013°10'30"W
26.08.08
1545 UTC
S/Y SAFARI
____________________________________________

seas are slightly 'lumpy', as russ might say. due to an underwater obstacle, a 'sea mountain,' the existence of which i'd not before been aware. this one is sort of between Gibraltar Strait and the Canary Islands, therefore i have likely experienced it before, though i was unaware of the geography at the time. i suppose it is a style thing, where this skipper chats more about the sea features, and what´s underneath us. the business of sailing is indeed our primary distraction.

thinking a lot about the lake today. about how amusing it is that as soon as i get back from sailing i want to go to the lake. it /is/ what i actually want to do. and it almost doesn't matter which lake, but i have a sneaking suspicion it'd be lake of the woods. as it is quite spectacular in october, based on my experiences last fall. and other falls. thinking about the magnificent sevens, playing the banjo, roots jam, being allowed to work again and earn money, sitting in a canoe and not worrying about not earing money. the cross-country ski cabin courtney's folks mentioned, building the shilling, playing more mandolin. even... gasp, playing an / my electric guitar. i did manage to do some of that while in antigua. i somehow snaked on to play 'johnny b. goode'with the itchy feet variety show and cover band in dickenson bay during one of the many antigua race week celebrations. hindsight says i'd have enjoyed matthew's birfday BBQ more than the race week event. but there was no way to know that in advance. i didn't make the mistake of putting paddy's band that high on my priority list again. full cheese. some of the fun and most of what i do not miss in the least about the business of music. the music of music, as that lovely violist / violinist with the terribly beautiful hands described it, still appeals. the cycles of expectation and disappointment; the crowd pleasing vs. the creative. feeding the ego / truth and beauty.



this is the interior of s/y safari. neat, huh?

i'm quite hoping to hear back from antigua when i arrive in the canaries, a week or so there before the next whatever it is would be probably quite relaxing and regenerative. i'm a little concerned that it might be 10° or so hotter but so it goes, hey? i might even look up paddy's band. i would totally look up paddy's little band.

saw a sea turtle. and some dolphins, but that's almost in the notthing-to-write-home-about category. they're even called 'common dolphin.' somehow i had not seen a sea turtle before yesterday though. it was sort of brown. the colour of wheat in august. i saw it out of the corner of my eye. wondered if it was cardboard or something yukky. just under the water's surface. it lifted up a fin and waved as our boat went past.

*anthropmorhism note:

not really. our turtle was far more likely to be randomly swimming than greeting or saluting. even the dolphins, i imagine are not actually communicating with /us/ up there on the binnacle. if anything, they're around ever so briefly to find out that our twin 44' hulls are inanimate and then they normally quite promptly leave. sometimes play around for 30 seconds or so in our bow wave. but generally not long. it's sort of like the thing where people think the baby is smiling at them, and then the mom says:
it's just gas.

: :

AT SEA
30°27'00"N
010°55'30"W
24.08.08
1050 UTC
S/Y Safari
______________________________________

Another beautiful morning. still heading 218°, doing near 7 knots now. this is considered good, or at least better than average for this leg. running about 80% genoa, wind is constant on our starboard quarter, and has been so ever since we left cascais. a mostly good rest stop, though very little actual rest. it was some scrub-a-scrub and the usual routine i am tempted to say. went up the rig again and promptly sliced into my index finger with a party knife. whoops. blood spilled on deck. two or three choice drips from 70 feet up look pretty nice on the shiny clean white deck. indeed thicker than water.

made 15.8 knots yesterday. with 3 reefs in the main, and about 50% genoa out. woo hoo! mostly we're not in any evident rush. so when we are doing better than 6 knots or so, skipper is content. in some ways, not having the main up actually allows for better sailing, and certainly more flexibility. with no main, gybing is not an issue at all. and then with the main up, it seems like we do better, SOG wise.

it'd be a whole different story if we had a delivery spinnaker or even a gennaker. teri agrees and has a good line on one for the other end.

also, she has suggested that i'd be able to quickly get a cooking gig in the USVI when this is all done. an interesting thesis. one which would involve shaving! i actually never put any cooking of any sort on my first sailing resume. for some reason. i suppose i thought it was merely one of those bonus skills that everyone sort of has. not something really worth mentioning or marketing. and then, it becomes apparent that not everyone can or will bake bread or cookies. that there are people (bless 'em) who really do want the gorgonzola and the havarti to come out when the words 'grilled cheese' are in the same sentence. people who abhor macaroni, and actually enjoy salad.

still, i am not in much of a rush to chain myself to a gimbled oven. we'll see what happens on the other end. i am not less a fan of finding out what opportunity has to say when it finally shows up. half the trouble is recognizing the opportunity when it arises. thinking brifly about in the a├žores coffee place the day when my favourite deckhand asked what i was up to that afternoon and mentioned that it was a good day for a walk around the caldiera. i agreed and made idle chatter. then she finished her cappuccino and went away. how about: nice oops. file under: ron is a moron.

maybe i should be a cook. whatever keeps a person afloat, hey?