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.
Well, folks today is the day! We had our Skippers briefing. We had our send off party and then our send off fireworks. I believe we are ready to go! And we are quite excited-it should be a really good sail. The starting line signal will go off at 1300 local time-which is 8 am East Coast time. We have our tracker on our boat now and all the boats are on the map and we can be located. Go to the website on the opening page you'll see a link to this address-it's titled ARC+ 2019 FLEET VIEWER. You can click here to see it. https://www.worldcruising.com/arc_plus/eventfleetviewer.aspx
Things have been very busy here. In order to get from one place to the next there is so much walking. I have been averaging walking about 4 and a half miles a day. My body is very tired but also getting into very good shape. Now if we could just lose a little weight, that would be nice. It's been a great week of preparations and making new friends.
Please remember that after today Facebook linking this website and our SAILBLOGS will go silent-no more automatic posts there. In order to follow us please go directly to the website and click on all the links to keep up with us. It has been so comforting and encouraging to read your notes to us. Looking forward to seeing you in just a few weeks. The days a quickly going by. Much love to all.
We are in Las Palmas! Happy Halloween everyone. I really love the goblins and trick or treaters. I hope its a great year for all. Mike shared on the sailblog our travels from Agadir to Arrecife and our fabulous down time in the anchorages of Papagayo. It was the best two days! I've been looking forward to these days just relaxed in the sun pretending we were all alone in a crazy busy anchorage. It was better than watching TV seeing all the party boats with tons of people on board jumping, swimming, enjoying time together. I had a chance to write, reflect, and rejoice. Nothing does the body better than a complete physical and spiritual pause. My exercise app showed 8 steps and zero miles of activity. We did a total of 348 nautical miles from Agadir to Las Palmas. Our total logged nautical miles so far is 1426! We are super excited about our sail to Las Palmas. We left around 2-3pm on Wednesday and arrived this morning and anchored by 9 am. There is another time change (we are trying really hard to keep up with all of them). So for now we are four hours ahead of the US east coast.
We are so happy for all the experiences we have had until now. We are glad to be at the ARC+ check in and get all the formalities for our next passage taken care of. This place is huge and crazy. There are people walking around in a hurry and people coming into the marina reception anxious to get things done quickly. Mike and I have been through so many formalities in several different countries so we were having a great time taking a long time through the process. For now we can say that we are now into the next passage-the really long one. The one we have been dreaming of is about to become reality. We are excited, happy, and ready!
It's hard to believe we've been gone one full month now. It has been a true adventure with the sailing and the land tours, the people we've met. We met my brothers and their wives in Agadir, Morocco and filled the days with travel throughout the landscape. It is a beautiful country with a rich culture. We learned so much about the country and its customs and history from our guide. We visited the medinas, the souks, the kasbars, and learned about how to bargain (well I failed at it) to make our purchases. We ate fabulous food, drank delicious tea, and tasted yummy pomegranates for dessert. We rode through the Atlas mountains and saw shepherds, sheep and goats in trees-yes, they really climb trees! Our special treat we had not originally planned for was a trip to the desert to watch the sunset/sunrise and to ride camels. It was truly a highlight for all of us. We were mesmerized by the incredible wonder of the sand of the Sahara. It's amazing how interconnected our planet is-these sands are necessary to help maintain the rainforest in Brazil.
We also that extra special gift of meeting with the protestant pastor and learning how his faith finds a place in a 99% muslim country. There is so much to tell about his church, his incredibly beautiful family and his ministry among the migrants there. He has a faithful congregation and the members are fully invested in the ministry. We had the chance to meet with the deacons responsible for the ongoing work of the ministry. I look forward to sharing all of their stories when we return.
This morning, Friday, we arrived in Arrecife, Lanzarote. It is one of the Canary Islands. We took two nights and a day to sail here. The wind was great the first day and night. We were at 7 knots the whole time with two reefs in the main and a shortened jib. We got soaked as the boat was heeled and took on water over the rails. We were on the edge of needing to decrease sail again but the wind slowed some and we were more on a broad reach. We're rested now and need to do the everyday things such as check in with the customs, police and marina to get our papers in order and passports stamped. Then the joy of cleanup. The boat needs washing again and so do we. We are looking forward to days of rest and relaxation here as we prepare our hearts and minds for leg three-the crossing. We are praying for our church family as they too are on retreat this weekend. May they really be blessed as they spend time together.
We have reached the end of the first part of our passage. We sailed/motored from Alicante to Malaga 288NM. We were pleased with how the boat handled and how we all worked together as crew. We've said our goodbyes to Benjamin and Ugne. We had such a wonderful time together. Our relationship with our daughter in law has had a chance to grow. We really appreciate her and have had the chance to fall in love with her. We are so grateful to have her as part of our family. We feel really blessed to have shared this incredible week with one another. Ugne discovered her ability to handle new challenges. We had some very rough weather and she was a pro. We had several overnight short passages and both Benjamin and Ugne let us do all the night watching while they bounced around in the V-berth trying to sleep. Benjamin renewed his love for sailing. His chance to be back on board working with his dad allowed their bonding all over again. The hopes of the grant for Passage 'part one' have definitely been fulfilled and were even greater than anticipated. We're going to miss these two a lot. Yet, we are looking forward to our next adventure together.
We leave Malaga Friday around midnight for another night sail to Gibraltar.