The most exciting part of a passage is getting underway. It is filled with anticipation energy and a little fear. The fear comes from, ‘what can go wrong’ and ‘will the exit process go smoothly.’ The anticipation energy comes from’ ‘what will this passage hold’, ‘what new sights will we see’, and how well will we sail.’ Each of these builds as we finally drop the dock lines and pull away from safe harbor.
While Mike keeps us abreast of our adventure through the Sailblogs, I write a few tidbits that come to mind on the news page of this website. We had an incredible passage coming to the Bahamas from Aruba. It's hard to believe it was only four days to travel 632 nm. We had strong easterly winds as we headed north that put us on a fast point of sail. Although the seas were a bit rough they were nothing in comparison to other passages we have been on. The surprise for this crew member who is aware of the seasickness that hits with every first two days of a passage was how hard it hit this time. Maybe it's age. Who knows. But, while Mike was dealing with a whole pan of spilled macaroni salad on the cabin floor I was hugging a trash can and we were both being knocked from side to side in the cabin trying to hold on. If anyone had a recording it would have made for great comedy.
Watches are definitely our comfort place. We slip into the schedule each time without a thought. Being alone on deck with the dark skies, new moon sliver and a universe of the twinkling stars wraps a sense of great assurance of God's grandeur and grace. There is nothing more relaxing and joyful than being on night watch in the middle of the sea. (Of course when it's not a storm.)
Today we’ll take a tour of the island-maybe. We set a time and date with a man in a truck. Now we sit and wait. If there’s a no show we have a ton of boat work to make us happy for the day. Until next time with more photos.
Provisioning means food, liquid, and everything to stay fed and healthy while on board. One thing to remember when provisioning is: 'if you don't like it while on land-you won't like it at sea'. So, when shopping for meals, snacks etc. be sure to include all the favorites, the fast and easy to make, and the special treats too. Nothing is worse than being on board hungry and everything is food you would never consider eating while on land. Passagemaking food is a little trickier because we never know when the seas or the wind make it too rough to cook. I've learned to plan three days of grab and go foods as well as meals that taste good either hot or cold.
One thing we do while at sea that we never seem to do at home is stock up on fresh foods. We look for the local fruits and vegetables. We clean them and then hang them in our hammocks to help them last longer.
We don't have a freezer so we ask the local restaurant (sometimes it's a butcher) to put our packaged meat in their deep freeze until the day before we leave. The frozen meat stays frozen sometimes up to a week in our refrigerator.
Potatoes and apples last the longest, close to three months. Bananas, avocados and fresh vegetables don't last more than a week.
We don't have a water maker. Our water tank holds 80 gallons. It is potable but doesn't taste good. We use it for showers etc. We calculate 6 liters of drinking liquid a day for the two of us and that's how I buy enough water for a month.
Once it is all bought, it has to be stowed and accessible for the passage. That's the fun part. As you can see from the pictures it all works out even on a small boat.
Probably the least romantic part of any adventure is the preparation for it. A passage requires a lot of planning. When folks make passages in the way we have over the last twenty years it requires an extra amount of preparation. Each year our Neverland has been in storage in a foreign port. That means we begin our preparation from home far away from our precious boat.
When we arrive at the port where Neverland has been resting during the time we've been away, and with Covid-19 it's been longer than we hoped, we know there are many things that require our attention.
Before she is launched we do a complete hull check. That means the thru hulls, the zincs, the propeller, the depth sounder, and the speed wheel. We also do as much on deck work as possible until the time of launch. We don't want to waste any time as we measure our time carefully each day.
Part of planning is everything that can go wrong or be broken and need repair. Also, everything needs to be removed for inventory and assessment. Safety and every inch of the boat needs inspection and adjustments made as necessary.
So, after she has been launched we discovered problems with the chart plotter, the winches, the dinghy, dinghy engine and a few small things. We have been able to spend time to correct all of these issues.
We have a rental car and that has made life really comfortable. I've been to the grocery store twice, Mike has been to the marine store three times. We had another covid test in keeping with the Aruba departure regulations for arrival in the Bahamas.
Sunday I plan to do the final shopping for all the fresh food. Mike will finish rebuilding the winches. We hope to watch church. I will begin cooking our passage meals. We will finish doing the rest of the safety checks. We need to buy fuel, fill up water tanks, and jerry jugs.
Needless to say there is no boredom here. There'll be a final wash down of the deck and a tip to customs for permission to leave. We'll fill out a health passport for the Bahamas so they will hopefully allow us to enter when we arrive there.
It's been a busy time. Thanks to the restaurant at the marina we've been able to use wifi to stay connected. Hope all the folks we love are well at home.
We are so excited to announce that we have t-shirts. They are great quality shirts with silk screened images guaranteed to last. Currently we have limited sizes: XL, L, M, in adult and Youth M. You can support us on our adventures with one of these t-shirts. Contact us through our email address if you're interested in having a t-shirt. (firstname.lastname@example.org) Adults shirts are $12 and youth shirts are $10 US dollars only.
Come along with us as we sail to the next destination.
Now that we are approaching the other side of Covid-19 (fingers crossed), Neverland will be released from dry storage in Aruba. We made the hard decision not to go further west at this time of uncertainty. Travel restrictions are still quite fluid across the globe. Our plans are to return to the United States at home on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. Neverland has been away since 2006 so we are looking forward to returning to home port. We will then be able to spend a lot of time re-rigging, and refitting, in preparation for the next really long passage.
This upcoming short adventure is about 2000 nm. Aruba to Inagua, to the Bahama chain, to Florida to Morehead City, and then to the ICW, to the Chesapeake Bay and home.
We have a SPOT tracker that can be accessed through the home page of this website. Just click the 'button' and you'll be able to follow us in real time as well as view the map of our total travels.
We hope you'll join us again as we keep hopping from place to place, one adventure at a time. Don't know where to look to find us? Just look up to the sky at "the second star to the right." Watch for our logo designed by our daughter in law Ugne Gould.
It's hard to wrap our heads around the adventures we've experienced. When we take a look back at the pictures of our send off, it's seems like a lifetime ago. Yet, here we are packing our bags and ready to come home. Yes, we really are ready. We are not yearning to stay, or regretful for leaving. This was 'just right'. We have been blessed beyond our imagination through the support of so many. We have discovered more about our resilience, skills, and determination than we knew before. Mostly, we recognized that we do like each other. We really appreciated spending time together and getting to know each other in a new way.
When we get home we are anxious to hear from everyone and their passage moments. We are eager to spend time with you and continue ministry together. We have family we look forward to seeing and talking to.
This "Passagemaking Days of Awe and Wonder" chapter is now complete.
Stay tuned for the next one.
Sometimes angels sing to you in the wind, all you have to do is listen.
This cross and angel have made the journey with us hanging in clear view as a precious reminder of all that is true. A dear friend gave us the angel as a gift before we left. I must say the words have been true for us as we traveled in the trade winds. We've covered more than 5000 nautical miles in three months.
Today, December 23, we are in safe harbor. Choosing once again to listen to the wisdom of the voices in the wind. I'm not sure if the voices were the angels or the voices of the saints who have gone before us. But the wisdom was there whistling through the wind sometimes loud and shouting and sometimes subtle and quiet. I had the comfort every night on my watch of watching the constellation Orion rise and maintain our stern. And our bow was guided boldly by the planet Jupiter. I spoke to my dad every night as I looked at Orion and asked him to do his best to keep us safe. I often heard (very often) Tony's (my step-dad) words of safety as we traveled. Tony was so interested in every part of our planning of our trip. Tony questioned every detail, making sure we knew what decision we were making was a sound one. He pulled out the Atlas often going over our route and making recommendations. Tony cheered us on in his own special way by worrying about us. Even in his last months of life he reminded us to be safe as we made the Atlantic crossing.
We miss him, my dad, Mike's mom, and all our precious family and friends who have gone before us. Perhaps, that's why we heard angels and saints singing to us in the wind guiding us to our safe haven.
We are so glad we listened to them.
We are much better because of them.
Well, we did it. But, we couldn't have done it with out the support of the village, the community, the family, the friends, the cheerleaders, all those who have supported this dream from its infancy, and those who have been boarding the dream over the years. Thanks to all of you. Those who wait at home and keep the fires going while we are away we cannot thank you enough.
It was one of the most wonderful experiences we could ever have imagined. The ARC+ 2019 offered us an opportunity to build a new community of friendship sharing a common goal. Crossing the Atlantic is now complete. We are on to other adventures before we return home. We are looking forward to these last few weeks together.
On Monday we made a visit to the Medical Center. But, we weren't the only ones. It turns out the economy of Mindelo is boosted by the sailors of the ARC+ through the chanderly, the restaurants, fuel docks, souvenirs, and also the medical centers. We went to check on my ribs after a fall in rough weather. At the reception waiting area of the medical center we ran in to, not one, not two, but four other members of boats with one ailment or another.
We were entertained by the way business is done. First you pay ahead for the consult with the doctor. Then you see the doctor and the doctor writes orders of what he wants done. Then you pay for those procedures prior to having them done. Then you return to the doctor after the procedures and another set of orders are written and again payment is made. Needless to say, they were very happy tending to so many battered sailors.
There is never a dull moment on or off the sea.
P.S. My ribs weren't broken-just beat up. All is well and we're preparing for tomorrow's departure. The weather should be perfect for a smooth sail away from Cape Verde. Keep a lookout for us on the YB tracker of the ARC+ Fleet Viewer.
Leg 1 to the ARC+ was completed for us on Saturday 11/16 at 11 pm local time. 937 nautical miles in 155 hours (6 days 11 hours). We held an average speed of 6 nautical knots for the entire trip. We have never sailed this far and this long without engine power. We are incredibly proud of our little old boat and what she's able to do.
The prize giving event was last night 11/19/19 and it was a spectacular event. Prior to the prize giving we noted our LEG 1 Division C preliminary results on the leaderboard outside the ARC Office. We came in FOURTH with a corrected time via our handicap. We are super excited about our performance and even more excited about LEG 2 to witness what NEVERLAND can do in the easterly winds.