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

12. February 2013 · Comments Off on Trans-Atlantic Day 16 · Categories: Posts

Trans-Atlantic  Day 16

The winds have been very, very light, so we have not gotten far.
16’13.56′ N, 50’56.847′ W at 9 am this morning.
The GPS says I will be able to run further then the length of the boat in just over 586 nm.

It was a real ‘scorcher’ yesterday.  With no wind the human’s needed to put the UV side screens on the south side of the boat to give us all more shade.  The boat drifted with the tide, more then it sailed.

In the evening the sun turned bright red as it approached the horizon and a pod of Atlantic Spotted dolphins (Stenella frontalis) came to play with us as it set.  This pod was much darker in colour and had bright white tips on their noses compared to the last pod.

We ‘waddled’ through the night with no winds, but at least we have had a very smooth drift.  The waves have turned into ‘what I had imagined’ as mid Ocean waves.  Very large, long waves with big open troughs between them.

We have spent the morning clearing flying fish off the deck again.  They have to jump over 2m out of the water to get over the netting we have all around the guard rails.  We are leaving the Mid Atlantic Ridge now and are going over the Demerara Abyssal Plain towards the Caribbean.

It looks to be another ‘scorcher’ today.  The winds are forecast to improve through the week, getting quite strong on Friday.
We will just have to ‘take it as it comes’.

SOA Day 16
SOA Day 16

Trans-Atlantic Day 15

We were still over the Mid Atlantic Ridge at 9am this morning: 16’36.947′ N, 49’03.482 W.
My paws will hit terra-ferma in just over 697nm.

The winds yesterday died out and we were making very little head way.
So the human’s decided in the afternoon to douse the sails and have a Mid-Atlantic dip in the sea.
One at a time they dove in and declared the water very warm.
Even with the sails down, the tide was taking the boat westward at about 2 knots.
This meant they had to swim quite hard to keep up with the boat and get a hold of the ladder dragging down the side.  They strung a line down the boat incase one or the other got a cramp.
It was lots of fun for them to be swimming so far out to sea.

With out the wind the rest of the day was very very hot.  They sea state had dropped right off to a gentle roll that was very pleasant.   The human’s took advantage of the settled sea state and tried, with no luck, to fix the spinnaker pole and do some laundry.  They washed their clothes, from the past 2 weeks, first in sea water, then finished with a fresh water rinse to get the salt out.  They also did some baking and made a tuna empanada.  No more luck on the fishing lines, but lots of small mats of green fluffy sea weed floated by in the day.

The settled sea state also made for wonderful sleeping through the night.
The winds are meant to be light for the next few days, so we will not be making our usual good progress, but at least the sailing, and more importantly the living aboard, is more pleasant.  Although a little hot.  We have put some fruit juice in an ice lolly (popscicle) maker in the freezer and that should help.


SOA Day 15

10. February 2013 · Comments Off on Trans-Atlantic Day 14 · Categories: Posts

Trans-Atlantic  Day 14

Well, welcome again to Quinney Quinster time at sea.

We are in the middle of the Mid Atlantic Ridge now at 16’59.303N, 47’27.955W at 9am this morning.
The GPS says I will see palm trees in just over 791 nm.

We are now entering the North Equatorial Current, proper, and this should give us a push west with an extra 0.5-1.5 knots.
When you are sailing such a heavy, long keeled boat, every push helps.

Yesterday we had some steady strong winds, but they died off in the night.  It means we have seriously slowed down, but at least the waves have eased a bit.  Still rolling around, but no big ‘hits’ that toss you about the boat.  We all got a good night sleep and will use the calmer weather to shower and get some more fishing in.

We already lost one Mahi Mahi this morning.  He jumped off the lure just as we were lifting up aboard.  Were there is one, there will be more.  Lochmarin taught the humans to make empanada.  This is a Spanish Cornish pastry using flour, olive oil and white wine.  If we catch some fish today they will go in as filling.

The winds are meant to be variable today, so we do not know how much progress we will make.  We will just do our best to amuse ourselves with fishing and reading.  We did get all your words of encouragement through Uncle Steve and Aunt Helen.  It made us all feel like you were here with us.

We did finally get some questions as well to answer.

1) Hope you do not have any more gear failures.
Well, this is Spirit of Argo, and she is over 30 years old.  No matter what we do, something else breaks down.
You know about the spinnaker pole, the topping lift at the top of the mast.  The davits and the furling line that chafed and needed replacing.  Well since then the furler, for the twin head sails, has decided to start spitting out nuts and bolts.  We have to run up there with allen keys twice a day and tighten them all up.  Then the water hose came off the water heater and started spitting out all our fresh water.  We had to empty the rope locker to get to that side of the engine to repair it.  It was not fun trying to find a safe spot, in the really rolly conditions yesterday, for all the gear in locker and the generator that rests below it all.  But we got it repaired with minimum bruising to the humans.  But boy did they ‘curse’ a lot.  They cursed even more when they sprung another leak in the evening, when another hose came detached, but luckly on the hall side of the engine room.  They still had to put a cushion on the engine to throw them selves over it and get the hose re-attached.
These are all, a pain in the butt, but not threatening to the safety of the boat and our ability to sail her across.
Any one planning to make the crossing: Have tools and spares somewhere handy to get at.  Check all your standing and running rigging every day for wear and tear.

2)How does it feel, after all the planning?
Wow!  That is a very difficult question to answer.  I asked the human’s individually and this is what they had to say.
Human 1: It is not a difficult as I expected…knock on wood.
Much more rolly then I had expected.
We did not realise how much wear and tear it would have on the boat.
You do feel very isolated, especially as we have only seen one ship.
The marine life has been fantastic to watch and the Ocean is beautiful, but it can get monotonous.
We planned to leave when the trade winds were properly established and so far that has been the right decision. We have been fortunate with the weather.
We had not expected for so much gear failure. We thought we had sorted it all before we left and have extensive spares, but unforseen things will break. You are putting the boat under a lot of strain for an extended period of time.
Human 2: I will tell you when we get to the other side safe and sound.
As for me, Quinney Quinnster, I will do a synopsis at the end of the trip with the highs, lows and what we learned along the way.

It looks like, despite the fickle winds, it will be a beautiful day.
Take care everyone.

SOA Day 14

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

Trans-Atlantic  Day 13

Well we were at 17’16.409′ N, 44’56.908′ W at 9 am this morning.
The GPS said I would get to run on a beach in about 937 nm.  So we are less then 1000nm away.

We have moved off the 4000 m deep Cap Verde Abyssal Plain onto the Mid Atlantic Ridge.
If any of you are any good at Geography, you will know this is where the continents are pulled apart.
North and South America are being pulled away from Europe and Africa.
The result is a huge rift in the sea floor that fills with molten lava.  Depths greater then 4000 m.
It will take us a couple of days to cross this and then we will be over the Demerara Abyssal Plain and then the Venezuelan Basin.

We had some brisk winds last night and had to reef in the sails as it all got very rolly.
We have to check everything now, as the constant wear on the sails and rigging is loosening bolts.  We also know now that the dingy will have to go somewhere on the deck on long passages.

The days are getting very hot, and so are the nights too.  The human’s feed me ice cubes in the shade during the afternoon, to help cool me.  Even they are seeking the shade before noon, when the sun gets to hot to sit under.  I am very happy that we have a cockpit cover for shade. Cooking in the galley has become uncomfortable for the humans.  They have switched to heavy breakfasts and only light lunches and dinners.

Me, I eat for England, and my appetite has increased.  It takes a lot of energy to stay up right on this rolly tub of a boat.
The day light hours have changed too.  The sun sets a lot later and does not come up until later.  I imagine we have crossed at least two time lines.  The human’s have changed their watch systems.
8-10pm and 10-12am are two hour naps each.  12am-3am and 3am-6am are night sleeps each.  6am-8am and 8am-10am and morning naps.
They usually stay awake for the day.  They say that trying to stay awake for 3 hours is long enough at night.  But I stay up with them, curled up on their laps and giving them ‘numb bum’, and I catch them dozing off all the time.  They are lucky there is nothing out here but flying fish.

Well I have to get the fishing lines out and see if we can catch a sea monster from the deep.


SOA Day 13, also Lochmarin, Amorosa & Limbo other of SOA Friends met in Maderia