Friday, June 05, 2009

Day 11 - Bermuda to Ireland

Weather: Dry, clouds come and go constantly but we do get some sunshine, seas currently a gentle roll.

General Comments: We've spent most of the last 2 days now wing on wing with the screacher and main. Kyle estimates 80% of our journey so far has been on the screacher (Our light wind sail).

Kyle and I generally each have a book on the go, but we also have a book that we read to each other when we get time together on a passage. Currently we are reading 'An embarrassment of Mangoes', a story of a Canadian couple who take 2 years off 'real life' to go cruising in the Caribbean. It is beautifully written and we've enjoyed reading how this couple discovered some of the very same
treasures as we did - 'ti punch, rum distilleries Presedente beer, etc. They too had a case of Old Milwaukee that they struggled to drink (In my defense I'd never heard of it, didn't know it was so bad, and it does say on the can "America's best beer" - I was duped by the marketing) - Kyle was none to impressed when he saw what I'd bought for him.  I'm reading Obama's "The Audacity of
Hope" and Kyle has Richard Dawkins "The God Delusion" he's re-reading, generally a page at a watch - just before he goes to sleep on his off watch.

The clearer skies have allowed us to use the sextant.  We don't really need it to find out where we are (we have at least 3 GPS's aboard that can tell us that) but we like to know we could use it if we had to - actually we have 2 sextants aboard). Kyle discovered his first few attempts were "within 5-6 miles" of our GPS position (Kyle wanted to ask what was wrong with the GPS), then he realized there was an index error (so the angle reading on the sextant was slightly off). The sextant should be checked on each use, but we hadn't calibrated it since our Antigua passage - he corrected that and now can get a line within 0.25 miles of our known GPS position. Kyle says he's happy the GPS is working better now. Despite using it many times, I'm suddenly having problems with sun sights and the use of the shades, but I've plenty of time to practice.

Currents in the open ocean act in a rotary manner; throughout the day they basically swing through all points, although they are not the same strength in every direction. We often find we are going with or against a 1 kt current. Then we find ourselves in the gulf stream and this is giving us a bit more of an advantage as it is always in the direction we are traveling (currently we have a 1.7kt advantage - which is good since we are not going too fast through the water (currently between .5 and 1.5 kt).

I spent my night watch staring intently out to sea on look out for ice bergs. Kyle carefully plotted a course that would keep us clear of the ice area, but when I check our position on the pilot chart we were well into one area and I didn't want to risk anything. Unfortunately, it was NIGHT watch and the clouds kept the moon obscured, so there was very little light. Oh, and a mist/light fog added to the event - I had to either stand half outside, or keep cleaning the windows of the water droplets that accumulated.  I took down the screacher to give me better visibility (and it was a bit rolly for the point of sail anyway). I had no idea what size ice bergs I might expect, the only plus was the water was relatively smooth so if there was something out there, I expected the waves breaking on it would show. For a whole watch I had horror movie tension music in my head and a real feeling of
anxiousness.  If there was something out there, we could NOT afford to hit. When I woke Kyle to hand over the watch to him, he scoffed at me, went over to the pilot chart and said we're no where near the ice berg line! I'd made a really elementary navigation error and while we were at 40 degrees and 2 minutes North, I'd plotted 42 degrees off the chart, putting us 60 miles north of where we actually were. Actually Kyle is complaining as I read this back to him, that I mentioned we were in the iceberg zone while he was off watch, causing him a very disturbed night of sleep. Oh, he wants to dictate:

It went like this - she comes in, sort of nervously mentions she is in an iceberg zone, she can't see well, it's getting foggy, and then says 'Ok, Honey, get some good sleep!', which of course I didn't. I tossed and turned wondering what it would be like to have the boat grind against an iceberg. This is
one of Maryanne's favorite things - she just plants a seed of a thought and then disappears to leave you to ruminate on it.

Anyway, keeping a good watch didn't do us any harm, and there was no Titanic incident.

Food: Breakfast was oatmeal, but made with some of the coconut milk I had. I loved it, but Kyle found it too sweet - strange coming from a guy that basically always has sugar coated cereal (practically candy) for breakfast. A light lunch of nibbles and then a Chinese chicken and pineapple with rice for dinner (made from scratch and using our great free range chicken find from Bermuda.

Progress: Yesterday we made 128 nm, So far on this trip we have traveled (through the water) 1201 nm, and have 1543 nm (straight
line) to go.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow! Your trip across the Atlantic sounds amazing. I wish you nothing but good travels my friends.. carl