17. February 2013 · 1 comment · Categories: Posts

Trans-Atlantic  Last day 21

Well we did it….We are in the Caribbean MAN!
We sailed right into the anchorage at Grande Anse, Martinque at 12:53pm UTC.  14’30.259’N, 61’05.357′ W.

We discovered, after being told off, that no anchoring is allowed and you must tie to one of their free (EU funded) anchor buoys.
As we looked about one of the other boats shouted over that ‘it had been a bit rolly last night’.
‘Nothing is as rolly as the last 3 weeks’ we shouted back.

We got tied on, put the boat ‘to bed’ and the human’s jumped in for a swim.  I relaxed to a well earned nap.
The human’s told me the water temperature was a shocking 24.2’C the water!
It was officially 9am Caribbean time but after 1pm UTC so the human’s had a celebrator beer after being ‘dry’ for 3 weeks.

They have taken pictures of the anchorage, cleaned up and now we are all going drop the dingy and go a shore and check in with customs.

It is a little unbelievable that we are really in the Caribbean!!!
As soon as we can get some internet we will add pictures, video and a summation of the trip.

Trans-Atlantic  Day 20

After our night of squalls the day brightened up and was sunny.
We still had a fair wind and were treble reefed (sails shortened).

The day was one of monster waves.
They had been stirred up through the night.
Most just lifted the boat up into the sky and settled her back down in the troft.
They looked a bit scary, but were harmless.
Unfortunately not all of them were harmless and a few broke over the side of the boat and soaked the cockpit.
It is the first time we have had white water in the cockpit, usually we get spray at the most, and now we have the dodgers to help fight that.

Thankfully the waves eased in the evening and we made a fair passage towards our imaginary way point (chart position on a GPS) just off the south point of Martinique.

At 3am and 40 nm out we could see a distinct bright haze on the horizon.
The haze got bigger and finally turned into twinkley lights and we could make out the light houses on either end.
We tried to take turns sleeping, but excitement was building.
The human’s had already dug out the ceremonial beers and a bottle of champagne out of the bilges and moved it to the fridge.

Then it happened at just after 9 am UTC.
We reached the imaginary way point we had been aiming for for 20 days.

14’21.804′ N, 60’50.445′ W.
With no miles to go.

It is still dark here and we still have to get around the back of the island to the anchorage.
Stay tuned for the final hours on Day 21.

SOA Day 20

Trans-Atlantic  Day 19

We had lots of visitors yesterday.
I say lots, but any visitor makes a change for us out here.
First we entertained by a pod of Atlantic Spotted dolphins (Stenella frontalis),
then we crossed paths with a ship.

Real life other people out there!
The human’s were so tempted to call them up on the radio.
You could really see how rough the waves were now, as they were breaking over the bow of the giant container ship.
They must have been looking at us and thinking ‘crazies!’

It did not improve through the night.
Instead we were hit by squall after squall.
It was remarkable that we had gotten this far with out being hit by any.
We are all a bit water logged this morning, but disappointed that it did not wash away the red Sahara sand that had coated the boat since we got caught in the sand storms off the African coast.
It looks like the boats colour theme is permanently changed.

This morning at 8:30am UTC the wet crew of Spirit of Argo were at 15’10.097′ N, 58’15.633′ W.
According to the GPS, I had just over 159 nm to go before I get wet running into the surf.


SOA Day 19
SOA Day 19
15. February 2013 · 1 comment · Categories: Posts

Trans-Atlantic  Day 18

Yes, we are still at sea.
We were at position 15’29.755 N, 55’30.296′ W at 8:30 am UTC.
I have just over 319 nm to go before I can have a pee with out looking like I am drunk.

The winds gradually picked up during the day, reaching a crescendo in the night.
They have calmed a bit this morning, but it has left the seas stirred up.

I was thinking last night how best to describe a rough sea at night.
Of course, in the dark, you rely more on your senses and imagination.
I will try and put you in my place:
Imagine you have rented a beautiful rustic cottage on the beach.
Just set back from the water in a little forest of beech trees.
After a long hot day, the night winds kick in, just as you are going to bed.
You open up the windows, to let in the night air, and curl up under the covers of your little bunk.
You can hear the waves ‘breathing a deep sigh’ and then crash onto the beach, with tumbling white water, over and over again.
You hear the rustle of the beech leaves in the trees as the winds pass by the cottage in gusts.
You are relaxed into a lull of peace and one with nature.
As your floating cottage rides up and over the ocean waves you are still trapped in you bed!
All the furniture, including the bed you are on, are now throw first to one side of the room, crashing against the wall, then the other.
Pictures and books throw themselves at you from the walls.
Between the crashes you can hear the wooden boards that make up the floor, ceilings and walls creaking and contorting with the constant movement.

Maybe I am over exaggerating, just a little.
Didn’t scare you did I?
Tee, hee, hee.


13. February 2013 · Comments Off on Trans-Atlantic Day 17 · Categories: Posts

Trans-Atlantic  Day 17

The time has definitely shifted now.  The sun is not setting until 9:30pm UTC and rising until about 9:30am UTC.  So I think we are about 2 and a half hours behind England now. The human’s have had to move their sleeping schedule a little later so the first night watch starts a little later.

At 8:30am UTC this morning the boat could be found in the Atlantic Ocean at 15’48.186 N, 52’57.244′ W.
I will be able to dig holes in the beach in just over 467 nm.

The calm weather, may not have been very good for sailing, but it has been great for me to run around on the deck.
It is too hot during the day to ‘fool around’ and I usually nap as the human’s read books and snack on the last of their stored fruit.  But in the cooler dawn and dusk I am up for adventure.

Now being on a boat does limit this, but imagination prevails.  The human’s play tuggy, retrieve, hide and seak, and my favorite, tag.  With a centre cockpit, there are lots of places to sneak around them and they are just not as fast and agile as I am with my ‘four wheel drive’ in the rolly seas.

But the wind has picked up again.  Good for sailing, but not as easy for me to race around the decks.  The human’s tell me the winds will continue to increase through the week, getting a bit strong at the end, but that we should be at LAND by the week end.

When you come to a new country, like Martinique, you must check in to the islands officials.  They are sort of like boarder guards.  You bring your passport and boat papers to them as soon as you arrive.  Some let dogs come on the island, others do not.  European Union countries accept the new vaccinations and pet passport scheme and so do their corresponding islands.  So the human’s will have no problem taking me ashore, as Martinique is French.  But the French only work on week days and half days on Saturday.  So if we arrive after noon time on Saturday or Sunday, we can not ‘officially’ land on the island until Monday.  They do not care if you ‘unofficially’ come ashore.  They just do not want to go out of their way to check you in ‘out of office hours’.

After being at sea now for over 2 weeks, I must admit, I am looking forward to making land fall and having a ‘proper’ run about.

SOA Day 17