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.
Last night the four of us ate at La Mama Mia. Mike is pictured here with the owner Nuri. During the month of August Mike came and ate at this restaurant at least three to four times a week. He is so welcoming and so full of genuine hospitality that everyone who eats there wants to come back. He speaks French, Spanish, English, and who knows how many other languages. We are always grateful for the people we meet along our way.
Probably the most important part of preparing the boat for passage making is provisioning. We made two trips to the grocery store. One by foot to a local express grocery for as many little things as we could carry. Then with a rental car to a hyper-grocery (like a Super Walmart) Bought lots of the heavy things, cans, water, ice tea etc. Then came the serious challenge-where to put it all? After an hour or more, the provisions were finally stowed in their appropriate places. The big question will be will we remember where we put that last can of tuna three months from now?
Neverland is in the water again! She passed all her inspections. She has a new coat of bottom paint. All the new electronics are onboard and functioning. Now for the details to fine tune her for the voyage. Mike motored the thirty minutes from dry storage to the in-water berth. It's getting very exciting now. We'll keep you posted.
Perhaps the greatest honor to a dream is when someone offers to write about it. Carol Vaughn, a journalist for the DELMARVA area of the newspaper the Daily Times, asked If she could interview me for the newspaper. I agreed. We met and talked for an hour. She created an article that was incredible. Her words described our planned adventure better than we could ever articulate ourselves. That's why today I am grateful to reporters, to journalists who know how to craft information for the world. They are essential windows to our understanding the events, the issues, the politics, the world around us. So, today I hope we will all take a moment and thank the people who bring us the news and work hard everyday to inform us about all the things around us. Let's take a few moments and thank a journalist for all the hard work they do.
It was really fun to realize we made the front page!! How cool is that?!
We are now T-minus 4 weeks from departure.
The saying is true: a boat is a hole in the water that you put money in. In order to be up to standard for the ARC+ Rally we have had to install many new fangled gadget that are filled with modern safety safeguards. One is the new chart plotter with built in AIS and transponder. And we now have a VHF control in the cockpit. No more trying to see the old chart plotter with a towel over our heads because of the glare of the sun. And no more running back and forth to the cabin to hail ports on the radio while entering the harbor. It has been quite an adventure with the installations of steering backups. And also the surprises of once again needing new deep cycle house batteries! The one we replaced was only two years old. We've been sailing for the last five years with a busted outhaul on the boom which we are finally getting fixed. We thought the money spent last year on a new engine and other equipment would make this year easier on the wallet. But, little did we know, there is always more...
I must say though this is quite exciting to have all the new toys to shake down on our way to Gibraltar in September. There are a few more things to settle and we'll be ready to be on our way. I've been reading the Storm Tactics book by the Pardys and it is excellent. I must admit I've been reading it with Chapman Piloting and the Sailing Basics book at my side. After 30 years of sailing I still get confused with windward and leeward. There is a lot of planning to do that takes so much time I didn't realize. Actually getting the marinas in the different countries to answer their emails or phone calls is a paramount problem we've experienced the last eight years of sailing on the Med. I do know once we reach a person they have always been helpful, courteous, and accommodating.
We are now three months from our departure and have much left to do. We are so excited about this trip.
We are fortunate to live in an area that has the opportunity to meet with a travel nurse. We live in a rural setting that has a unique medical system. We are patients of the Eastern Shore Rural Health. As a patient we are able to consult with a registered nurse whose responsibility is compliance. We spent two hours with this wonderful RN (with lots of other initials following the RN. She listened to our travel plans and then she made many notes and said she would contact us to let us know what the recommendations for our health during our travel will be. We are so grateful that no matter where we go we have in our own backyard experts willing to help make our dreams come true. Who do you have in your corner?