If you’d asked me six months ago how I anticipated I’d be feeling the day before our Atlantic Ocean crossing; I expected I’d be secretly freaking the hell out. Surprisingly though, I’m not. I’m actually feeling (somewhat) calm. Sure the rest of the crew might say I’m acting a little stressed. The boat is a cluttered mess as we stow and re-organise, we’ve bought and sorted enough food to feed a small army and wind whistling in the rigging is a constant reminder what the next three weeks (give or take) have in store.
But we’ve got a great team – we were recently joined by dynamic duo Doug Gardiner and his son William – and the camaraderie of joining a rally means we’re preparing and sharing the experience with a dozen other boats and adventurous yachties of various nationalities (Belgium, Austria, Germany, Denmark, France, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, England and another Aussie family). We’re all in the same boat (pardon the pun) and helping each other with last minute preparation or lending expertise and tools where needed. They’re a fun bunch and we can’t wait to celebrate with everyone as each yacht makes landfall after an epic journey across the sea.
After months of steady preparation, the past few days have been particularly hectic with final engine and hydraulic steering checks; mast, fittings and halyard checks; safety gear checks; sail checks; testing our new Iridium GO!; ample grocery and produce shopping including pre-cooking, sorting and stowing; a dozen loads of laundry and a hundred other various tasks. Everything on board has been checked for a second and third time. By the skin of its teeth, our downwind Parasailor arrived on the ferry from Tenerife only yesterday after some love and attention at the sail makers. We are ready! And after a long build up, everyone on board finally my darling is raring to set sail.
Unfortunately though, there’s a late gate crasher in the camp. A dry cough echoing around the marina is evidence the flu is circulating amongst the crews. It hit Dad hard and chances of the rest of us avoiding it are slim given the close living quarters. It’s the same disappointment an athlete must feel when they’ve trained all year, and then come down with an illness days before their event.
Between watches, weather monitoring and catching up on sleep, the guys have plenty of reading material and movies to keep them entertained. I’m taking over primary responsibility of feeding the crew plus have a dozen writing, photo and video editing projects (Morocco and Canary Islands for example) that I’m endeavouring to flood the blog with shortly after we reach civilisation and WiFi signal.
Tonight we’ll all take a long, hot shower and are hopeful for a deep, uninterrupted sleep, as it’ll be the last until we reach the tropical shores of Martinique.
I’m sure anyone can appreciate there’s nothing that can quite prepare you for a passage of this magnitude. But we’ve done all we can so now, and for the rest of the passage, we are at the mercy of Mother Nature. Currently the forecast predicts strongish winds for our departure (20+ knots), though favourable from the northeast. And as occurs by January, the trade wind belt is established and should (fingers crossed) provide a downwind sleigh ride all the way to the Caribbean.
Bring it on.
Thanks for following our journey up until this point; we are beyond excited to next share adventures and images from the Caribbean. Be sure to check out that tracking link to follow our progress. For now, good night!
BELOW: our base for the last two weeks at La Palma Marina on the island of La Palma, the most north western Canary Island.
Every boat this week (like Roxy) has been a Chinese laundry.
Fresh produce delivery this afternoon; apart from the lush Pink Ladies, all are Canary Islands grown. Now to store and monitor ripening to ensure maximum length of life for the fresh goodness!
It was a perfect demo opportunity when Penny Lane launched their old life raft.
Pre-cooking spaghetti sauce and lasagne, plus meal portioning for our sweet deep freezer. Three weeks worth of meals for five people is a lot of food…
Team finally my darling at tonight’s farewell drinks. From left to right: Doug and William Gardiner (our awesome Atlantic crew mates), Mike, Brooke and Captain Col. Bottom: fellow Atlantic Odyssey yachties.
A final ADIOS AMIGOS from Spain!