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Atlantic Crossing Part II Day 46: Last Days

Monday August 4, 2014

Another windless day!  And just when we were getting so close!  We’re just under 200 miles from Horta now, so I have to assume that we’ll actually be getting there sometime this week.  I’m having my heart set on Wednesday, but I have learned long long ago that getting your hopes up for a specific arrival date or time can be a very dangerous thing.  I’ll just say that if the winds swing around to the south and fill in like they’re supposed to, then just over 48 hours from now I should be sitting in a bar with a cold and well deserved beer in my hand.  In the meantime though, I have to get back to talking Georgie off a ledge.  I’m pretty sure she’s had it with this sailing crap and is about to abandon ship.

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Georgie was getting ready to jump.  I had to talk her down.

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At this point we’re just getting stubborn.  ‘Will..not..use..engine.’

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A Zen moment for Georgie.  ‘I will never see land for the rest of my life.  I have to accept this’.

 

 

 

Atlantic sunset

Atlantic Crossing Part II Days 42 & 43: Alien Encounters

Thursday July 31, 2014

I’m not going to lie, it’s starting to get really hard (and boring, probably for all of us) for me to come up with something to put for every single day of this crossing.  So until we make landfall, I’m only going to put down things that are worth putting down.  And then hopefully, just hopefully, I can start getting pictures and stories up of what I’m assuming is amazingly beautiful Horta.

On that note though, something happened that I thought was kind of cool and noteworthy.  Today we crossed a spot on the globe where we had the exact same coordinates for latitude and longitude.  I wonder how often that happens for people?  I obviously haven’t done a lot of research on the subject, but it seems like a lot of areas covered by land (or at least the United States) are higher than 80 degrees West, meaning there is no matching latitude.  So to find numbers close enough to match pretty much means you’re going to be over water.  Maybe something random I can add to my bucket list?  Seems like a cool enough accomplishment.

matching latitude and longitude

Oh, and if you can tell from the photo, we’ve now passed the stationary gale (which has all dissipated now) and we can begin heading north and directly toward Horta again!

 

Friday August 1, 2014

There’s just something about me and night shifts and strange lights. Don’t get me wrong, that fireball I spied just a few days outside of Bermuda was probably a once in a lifetime sight that I’ll never forget and may be worth crossing the Atlantic for itself (mayb-be), but the past few nights seem to be surprising me with questionable lights amidst the dark. Yesterday morning around 2 am I was popping my head up on deck between relaxing with my podcast on the comfortable settee below to see what looked like a flashlight beam oh so briefly shine on our American flag flapping at the stern. There is nothing on the boat that could have illuminated it at that angle so brightly unless Matt decided to sneak up behind me with an actual flashlight, unnoticed by me, while I still stood on the steps. Very unlikely. As my heart quickly jumped into my throat I thought it was another boat trying to identify us, but after frantically searching the horizon and then turning to the radar, we were the only thing out there. Alien encounter? Apparently once they realized we were American it was enough to make them leave us alone.

Which brings me to this morning’s odd light. More astrological than extraterrestrial, but still startling nonetheless. It was moments into my 12-4 am shift when I was just climbing up the steps to do a cursory glance before my more in depth check that would be coming up in ten minutes (what can I say?, I like to stick to my schedule), the sky directly in front of us suddenly lit up as if the deck light had been thrown on. In the split second it took my mind to register that this shouldn’t be happening I saw a very bright greenish-white sphere fall from the sky leaving a bright trail behind it. My first thought was ‘Oh my god, it’s a flare!!’. Although from what I’ve been told, flares are red or orange and nothing else. But this was close! As in, someone must be lighting off fireworks next to our boat close. Surely it couldn’t be a meteor?

Quite startled and still not fully registering what had just happened in the two seconds it took to happen I let out an audible and nervous “Ummm….” as Matt was still settling himself into bed. Asking what was the matter I told him that I’d just seen a very bright light that looked flare-like just ahead of us, and as he raced to untangle himself from the sheets he had just slipped under, I added “But it was greenish-white”, knowing that his first thought would be that someone in a life raft was trying to alert us to their existence. By now my head was finally wrapping itself around the fact that it probably was a meteor. Just a very, very close meteor, and that there was no need to worry. Not taking any chances though, he dove into full rescue mode, not wanting to risk the possibility of missing someone out there trying to signal us. Asking me question after question of exactly where I’d seen the light, how close it was, and what kind of shape it took, he set about trying to figure out our drift and trajectory while trying to find out when and how close we’d come to the source of the light After ten minutes of more horizon scans, scrutinizing the radar, and follow up questions such as ‘If it were you, how long would you wait to set off a second flare?’, I assured him that, as amazing and unlikely as it was, I think we were just incredibly close to a meteor that happen to be falling in this vast ocean that we’re traveling. He finally relented and went back to bed as I promised to stay up there for a while longer, keeping an eye out for any more lights or loud signaling noises.

In non-astrological news, we’re continuing our path directly north as we ride the east winds before they shift east in the next day or two and force us to turn directly east instead. So close and yet so far away. I keep focusing on the miles remaining as the crow flies, wishing we could take that same direct path, trying to count down our arrival based on those numbers, but instead preparing myself for yet another day or possibly two at sea on top of my predictions because we’re forced to travel at 90 degree angles instead. The pressure is still steadily rising, now at 1022, 10 mb higher than we were 48 hours ago, and I guess I should just be grateful for having any wind at all as we make our way into yet another high pressure system.

In more exciting news, I saw another sailboat today. What??!! I honestly didn’t think that would happen until we were within 20 miles of Faial. For some reason this sight makes me extremely giddy. We’re not alone out here, the only thing under 400 ft and carrying cargo. Part of me wants to call them up on the VHF just to say hi and find out where they’re going. Possibly get a little encouragement from someone out here that’s just as crazy as us. Another voice to say, ‘Yup, we’re right there with you’. Except, knowing our luck, they’d come back with, ‘You’ve been out how long??!! We just left the states two weeks ago. You must be traveling extremely slow’. Yup, that’s a much more likely scenario. Maybe they won’t get a call after all.

Atlantic sunset

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Atlantic Crossing Part II Days 39 – 41: Put a Little Leg in It

Monday July 28, 2014

I have no idea how I would handle living in the real world again, because my time management is completely out the window. Even for the simplest things. For example, making dinner. This has been my task ever since Matt and I got married and moved into our new house to start our new life together. In the beginning the food was regrettably abysmal and not well thought out (Oh, you mean you wanted a side with your meat?), but over the years we lived in that house they had improved. And at the end, I knew how to clock each item I was cooking so that everything would finish at the same time and just as Matt was walking in the door from work.

You’d think that with all this spare time on my hands for the past two years I would have mastered the timing issue. I guess I could liken that part to the rising and falling tides. Sometimes I am a genius of cooking where my rice absorbs the last of the water at the same moment my chicken is just cooked and spiced enough, while warm and slightly crispy tortillas are sitting and waiting under a covered plate. Other times I forget that I need to cook rice until my chicken is already almost done, and where the hell are my tortillas, did I forget to buy them?!

The past few days have very much been the latter scenario. I begin preparing dinner way too late, forget to cook certain ingredients, or forget to check that we have certain items before we start. And there is no making a quick Publix run out here. Last night as I stood over the stove at 7:30, thirty minutes before I was supposed to be in bed, and I realized the mahi I had cooking on the stove had been sitting in the fridge, never having been frozen, for about thirteen days now and was definitely no longer safe to eat. Searching through the fridge for new meats that could be quickly cooked up I realized that all of those were safely tucked in the freezer. I threw my hands up and went for the pantry. A can of soup it was going to be.

*On a sad note, our little bird friend did not make it through the night.  Matt made sure to give him/her a nice little funeral at sea during his shift this morning.

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 Maybe I shouldn’t have spent so much of my afternoon messing around on deck instead?

 

Tuesday July 29, 2014

So 40 days at sea is how long it takes for one to lose their mind. Or maybe it’s 22, since I guess I can’t count that stint on the way from Miami to Bermuda since we did have that sweet little interlude of rest in there. And maybe I’m not loosing my mind, maybe it’s just not functioning to it’s highest ability lately. I don’t know why or how it has not happened once until this point, but multiple times over the past few nights I’ve been comfortably sleeping in my bunk during my allotted time and all of a sudden my eyes will fly open. I’ll look over and see Matt on the settee across from me, usually reading his Kindle, and maybe it’s because he’s in the cabin with me instead of out in the cockpit, but the first thing that springs to my mind is, ‘You idiot, you’re supposed to be on watch!’. And this isn’t directed at Matt since he’s seeking the comfort of a warm and cozy seat instead of being forced out into the elements of the cockpit, but is instead directed at myself. I then fly out of my bunk, search for my glasses on the nav station, and begin bounding up the steps on the companionway to look around and make sure no boats are showing on AIS, or worse, in person.

In my feverish haste to get back to my duties, Matt will just kind of stare at me with a puzzled look on face and ask, “What the heck are you doing?”. In my embarrassment that I was ‘sleeping on the job’, I nonchalantly reply, “Um…you know…just doing one of my checks…”, to which he’ll laugh and reply, “Yeah, but you’re not on shift”. Then it will all come back to me that, yes, this is in fact my time for rest, and I slink back into my bunk until the same thing happens 90 minutes later.

 

Wednesday July 30, 2014

We may have made many, many miles south and out of our way to avoid that stationary gale that has been sitting directly in the path between us and Horta, but I guess we haven’t gotten quite far enough out of the way to not feel any effects from it. Things haven’t gotten incredibly bad, but there has been a noticeable increase in wind and waves in the past day or two. We’re averaging 5 knots of speed now, which is great, but my body is trying to get used to this new rocking back and forth motion that normally accompanies sailing but we’ve been lucky enough to barely experience on this crossing.

I should still consider myself lucky that I can move about the boat at all, considering that basically every passage we’ve made before this one has left me nailed down to the cockpit, incapable of doing much more than making it back and forth between my bunk for sleep shifts. So today as we got back to feeling the motion of the ocean, those past memories barely registered with me and I thought, ‘This would be a perfect time to make bread!’. Long story short, I was able to actually complete this task, but it was done with lots of difficulty and lots of grabbing on to different surfaces to keep myself from tumbling around. I’m just surprised I was able to do all of this without getting sick, which is nice because it means that my body might finally be adjusting to the sea, but I think I may have lots of new bruises to show for my efforts.

After pulling my freshly baked bread out of the oven and finally going back to resting on the settee, it suddenly hit me why my legs have been so sore the past few days even though I don’t remember doing anything besides sitting on my butt. It’s been all that time I’ve spent bracing myself in the galley while I cooked or did dishes. Right foot back; flex; wait. Step together; rotate; left leg to the side; brace. I’ve been getting a first class workout and haven’t even realized it.

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Atlantic Crossing Part II Days 36 – 38: AwwwSASSIN

Friday July 25, 2014

In my boredom of my morning shifts alone I’ve taken to mimicking the cat, repeating every move she makes just to see her reaction. If she moves her head to the side, I move my head to the side. If she makes a large and exaggerated yawn, I make a large and exaggerated yawn. If she starts licking herself clean….well, I just rub my nose along my arm and pretend I’m doing it too.

Oh my, I might be starting to lose it. But people do that right? Mimic their cats? Even the ones that aren’t going mad from solitary confinement. Oh wait, most cat people are solitary. Nevermind. 7.25.14 (1) 7.25.14 (2)

Saturday July 26, 2014

Today to relieve my boredom I’ve taken to reading PDF’d posts from a few of my favorite bloggers, who coincidentally happen not to be sailors. Because God help me, please let me forget for just one moment that I’m on a boat. Losing myself in the travels and musing of The Everywhereist and Mr. & Mrs. Globetrot, I fantasized about all the places we’ll be visiting.  I spent a good hour today staring at Yuriy and Julia’s images of Turkey, making lists of areas I’d like to visit that they’d already seen, and most importantly, listing the all the food there I’d like to try.  Plus, just generally getting lost in the beauty of their amazing photos.  Oh Europe, we’ll reach you some day.  I’m sure of it. 7.26.14 (1)

 

Sunday July 27, 2014

In every other blog I’ve read about someone crossing an ocean, each one of them at some point has had a feathery friend take refuge on their boat, and for weeks now I’ve been wondering if it would ever happen to us. I mean, there’s only so many places one can rest out here, our boat has to look pretty appealing to anything flying along, right? But for days out of Bermuda we watched long tailed tropical birds swoop by, eyeing lifelines and solar panels, but never actually touching down on them. There’s even been a bird that we’ve seen come out and do laps around our boat for hours every night that we assumed had to be hiding on Serendipity during the day, but we could never find it’s spot.

Then this evening during dinner, we finally had a taker. A little song bird it looked like, but a far cry from all the sea birds that are normally flying overhead. It took up residence on the lifeline on the starboard stern quarter, and Matt held Georgie back as she noticed our new guest too. For a few minutes we all stared at this temporary visitor, wondering what it would do next. Was he just going to catch his breath and be off again or was he looking for a place to hunker down for the night? Trying to get a closer look I inched myself over to the starboard side while our new friend made no startled motions to get away. Maybe I could pull a Slapdash and get it to rest on top of my head?

I was so excited at the prospect of having a bird aboard to play with, that I was just about to turn to Matt and tell him about stories I’ve heard of birds like this that don’t know to be afraid of humans or pets because they’ve never encountered them before. I was just about to tell him about the cases of other cruisers that have set up birds, nestled in lines or small blankets, as extra travel companions for days. Before I could get any of this out though, he made a grave mistake and let Georgie out of his arms so she could investigate the situation.

His assumption, before I could correct him otherwise, is that if Georgie got too close this bird would sense the danger and fly off. But after having just read through Maiden Voyage a second time, I distinctly remembered a chapter where she found her cockpit a mess of feathers after her cat found it’s own flying companion. It wasn’t even a half a second before Georgie was on the other side of the boat, exactly where our new friend was sitting. Both of us looked off to the sky to see where the bird had gone, it took us a moment to realize that Georgie was already headed back to the companionway with the bird in her mouth!

While I grabbed on to her to keep her from going any further, Matt pried her mouth open to get the bird out. It was quite a feat though as she was not ready to let her prize go. When he finally wrangled her mouth open and the bird fell out, I rushed her down below deck so she couldn’t go at it a second time. Inspecting our injured friend we couldn’t find any wounds puncturing the skin, although we assumed there might be some internal damage. The bird wasn’t flapping around although it was still breathing, so at least we knew it wasn’t dead. Maybe suffering from shock though. Taking one of our 5 gallon buckets we made a tissue bed and set the bird inside to see if it will make it through the night. Georgie went back onto her (shortened) leash to make sure she couldn’t make any visits to the infirmary. 7.27.14 (1)

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 Look at that face.  No remorse.

 

 

stormy sunrise on the Atlantic

Atlantic Crossing Part II Days 33 – 35: All Hell Done Broke Loose

 

Tuesday July 22, 2014

It’s plainly apparent the front is on it’s way and going to hit us tomorrow.  Today we had the winds pick up to a steady 15-25, and bringing growing seas along with them.  Even though I never put on a seasickness patch though, I took the new movement very well.  The 4-6 ft seas didn’t bother me very much, and other than losing my balance a few times as I crept along the cabin, it was still quite a nice ride.  Especially since our speeds have finally picked up to a normal cruising rate of about 5 knots.  If we could only keep this for the rest of the way to the Azores, I’d be one happy girl.  There’s still just a little over 800 miles left as the crow flies, and if we could arrive a week from now…..sigh.  But that will probably never happen.

For one thing there’s a stationary gale sitting smack between us and Horta.  We’ve been watching it for a few days on the weather now, looking at the grib files showing 40 knots of wind in that area, and wondering what kind of seas it will leave for us when we hit that spot even after the gale is gone.  Only..it’s not leaving.  This morning when Matt was getting the daily updates he saw the dreaded STNRY symbol right next to it.  Looks like we’re going to have to find a way around the thing, which unfortunately could mean adding up to a couple of hundred miles overall.  This thing is not small and we no not want to get caught in it’s path.

It amazes me how many close calls we’ve had with other ships out here. I’m not talking about coming within one mile of each other, but on actual collision courses. Today we had to call up a tanker to alter course because our AIS was showing that we were going to come within 230 ft of each other. This is not the first time this has happened on our crossing either. It’s the third. Just another reason why I’m so in love with our AIS and I don’t think I could ever travel without having at least a receiver.

*Excuse the terrible photos in today’s post, they were transferred from video.

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Wednesday July 23, 2014

Wow, what a difference a day can make. Yesterday we were comfortably cruising along at 5 knots under a 15 knot breeze, and gliding over 4-6 ft waves. Today, all hell has broken loose*. Well, comparatively from what we’ve been experiencing so far. My night shift brought an increase of wind that was getting slightly worrysome after we hadn’t seen anything over 10 knots in well over a week, and although I couldn’t see the waves through the darkness I could tell they were growing as well. Our sleep schedules for the day were now all screwed up since I had a terrible time trying to fall asleep at 8, and Matt while trying to do something nice for me, let me sleep until almost 3 am instead of getting me up at midnight. This means I finally was able to experience a full sunrise and see the frothy goodness of the Atlantic that surrounded us.

All in all I know it’s not as bad as I’m making it out to be, but along with sustained winds of 25-30 knots, something we’ve experienced plenty of during our travels and we can get past although I can’t say we like them, the building waves were what was getting under our skin. Twelve feet from trough to tip, these were the largest waves we’d ever come across. Although Serendipity was taking them like a champ, rising up on them and cresting down, we were keeping a steady speed of 6-7 knots with just the tiniest bit of sail up, and even surfing down a few waves at over 8 knots. Exciting for just a little bit, until you remember that one of these monsters could broach you, throwing you on your side and not giving you enough time to recover and right yourself before the next one crashed down on you. The drouge was creeping up in our minds as something that might have to be used if conditions continued to build, but at the moment there was one more issue on hand.

According to our Weatherfax, the Low pressure system between us and the Azores that we’re trying to avoid has now extended itself even further south and still directly in our path even though we spent all of yesterday making extra miles south that we wish we didn’t have to, just so we wouldn’t have to encounter it. If we were doing this poorly in a front, we had no idea what a gale might do to us and we had no intention of trying to find out. Waiting for a large tanker to pass us through the overcast haze, we cranked the wheel 40 degrees south and Matt began making all the necessary sail changes while I stood gaping at these massive waves that were now coming almost directly on our beam. Matt assured me that as long as they’re not breaking, which they weren’t, they wouldn’t knock us down. Our speed dramatically decreased down to four knots, but we figured it would still allow us to get about 100 miles south in the next 24 hours and out of harms way.

The rest of the afternoon was spent in the cabin, each of us fighting for a spot on the low side while the other person was stuck on windward, bracing themselves in any meas necessary as we were constantly tipped on our side and back. Sleep was unattainable and so we spent the day in a zombie like haze where we counted down the hours until the next day might come and bring some respite.  Or maybe I was the only one in a zombie like state.  Matt spent a good few hours on high alert as cannonballs of water exploded against our hull.  Sometimes the sound was so deafening that he would begin to start checking the inside seams for water leaking in, positive that the last rouge wave had begun to tear Serendipity apart.  For myself however, I just kept repeating the mantra of ‘Boats are strong, it’s the sailor that’s the weak link’.  Serendipity was going to get through this.  Therefore, we would too.

rough weather on the Atlantic

stormy sunrise on the Atlantic

viewing waves from the deadlight

 

Thursday July 24, 2014

What a difference a day can make…again. Yesterday evening the conditions had begun to calm and  we were left with a steady 11-13 knots of wind that were pushing us along at a comfortable 4 knots of speed and helping to keep us just enough above the decreasing waves to ride them as they rose and fell.

When I woke up this morning and the sun was shinning, and at the moment all things felt still, I was extremely excited, thinking that we were back to our almost glass waters while still making close to that 4 knots. Which after calculating the remaining distance between us and the Azores yesterday of 750 miles, would have put us there in about 8 days at this comfortable and attainable speed. Finally, a countdown I could handle. But, first moments can be deceiving. While waking out of my slumbering stupor, ready to make myself a cup of coffee and actually enjoy it without the worry of it spilling all over my lap, or worse, my face, as waves came to throw us on our side, I was sorely mistaken. Those swells were still there. And our speed…a diminished 1.5 knots.

Getting my morning briefing from Matt, he informed me that the winds had died down even further from the 8-10 knots I had been experiencing on my night watch, to a measly 5-6 knots. The headsail was rolled in, as I actually should have done on my own shift, since the only feat it was accomplishing was to make an unholy racket and threaten the seams of which I had just sewn after it blew open during the storm our first night out. The reality of my morning that I was now left with was a double reefed main and a course that was left completely up to the whims of the Atlantic as we couldn’t even keep the autopilot steady and instead had to lock the wheel and drift along at one knot in whichever direction the meak wind and swells felt like pushing us. Swells which, as we’d finally get a little bit of wind in the sail and start gaining momentum, would throw us on our side just enough to spill all the air out and leave us wallowing instead. Incredibly frustrating. Now my steadfast of 8 days is beginning to look more like 12-14. One of the only bright sides is that we have an abundance of sunshine being soaked up by our solar panels which means that hopefully I’ll be able to loose myself to the boob tube this afternoon and forget that I’m in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean drifting along at 1 knot.

 

*The title of this post is a quote from my all time favorite movie.  Any guesses what it is?  I’ll give you a hint, it stars Katharine Hepburn and Sydney Poitier.

mid-Atlantic sunset

Atlantic Crossing Part II Days 30 – 32 : The Road is Long, We Carry on, Try to Have Fun in the Meantime

Saturday July 19, 2014

Way back when, when we were living a sedentary life back in Ft. Lauderdale where we stayed in the glass calm anchorage that is Lake Sylvia for a whole month, our days would sometimes fall into a routine. Saturdays most likely, since that was the only day of the week that had something specifically scheduled. Or more likely, I’d roll out of bed and enjoy a cup of coffee and a little peace and quiet to get some writing done while Matt slept in another hour or two after me. Then when he woke up and I’d make his cup of coffee, giving myself seconds while I was at it, I’d flip on the radio and we’d listen to ‘Wait, Wait, Don’t tell me’ on NPR.

We may be thousands of miles from mainland shore, but at least I can still keep some semblance to my life back near land. I’m going to have my cake and eat it too.

Getting up on this gorgeous, sunny, and mostly (6-8 knots) windless day, I wanted to pretend it was a normal Saturday like any other. Before Matt could fully fall asleep and I could make as much racket in the galley as I wanted, I made myself a tall cup of coffee and brought it out into the cockpit. Bringing the Android and earbuds with me, something I normally only reserve for night shifts, I cued up the podcast to one of our downloaded episodes of ‘Wait, Wait, Don’t tell me’. For the next 45 minutes, my life was about as close as it was going to be to when we were at anchor, and it felt incredibly good.

When the podcast finished I wanted to take the opportunity to blare some music from the speakers, and what’s more, belt out along with it, but I knew I couldn’t do that while Matt was still sleeping. I might be able to listen to it at a ‘reasonable’ volume, but there would definitely be no singing along in this scenario. Then I had a eureka moment. I’ll just close up the companionway!

I found one of my favorite albums to blare out and sing along to (coincidentally, one that Matt hates), and as soon as I had it cued up I ran out into the cockpit, placed in the boards, and slid the top closed before it could wake him. It seemed to do the trick and just moments later I was crooning along with ‘Off to the Races’ and ‘Blue Jeans’. When the next album started and I needed a change I went to let myself back into the cabin only to find out that the sliding top to the companionway wouldn’t budge. It will do this sometimes when it gets too hot outside, the plexiglass will expand and leave itself immobile in the sliding area it’s in. Using all my strength I pushed and I heaved, all to no avail. This thing was not going to move an inch until it had time to cool down.

I was now literally stuck in the cockpit, forced to listen to the second disc of Lana Del Rey’s ‘Born to Die’ album, and even though I am completely in love with the first disc, the second is a torturous and bad cover of snippets taken from the first. #Problemsoflivingonaboat.

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Sunday July 20, 2014

I had a terrible nights sleep last night. All I could hear was the boom clanging due to a lack of wind. It has actually put me in a bad mood all day, although that bad mood might also partially be due to the fact that we’re only moving at 1.5 knots with 5-7 knots of wind on our beam. We seem to have found the Bermuda/Azores high and can not get ourselves out of it. Something needs to change, and it needs to happen soon. While sitting through my night shift the other day, locking the wheel and drifting aimlessly because we didn’t have enough wind to keep us on course, I honestly worried that we might be out here for months. That July will turn to August, August will turn to September, and we’ll still be miles and miles from shore.

Don’t mind the fact that we’ll probably be out of food by then, but if that happen to be the scenario, I have a feeling that the weather will take a sudden shift into fall and we’ll go from no winds to sudden and everlasting squalls. These are the kinds of things that pop into your head when there is no end in sight.

At least we still have the luxury of being ‘at anchor’. But for as much as we joke about our calm nights are just like being at anchor, tonight we wanted to throw our hands up and pretend we actually were at anchor. This would mean shutting off all systems to conserve our batteries, and then use that battery power to play a movie while both of us sprawl out, undisturbed, while munching on popcorn and drinking soda before finally passing out for 9 full, glorious hours of sleep. In short, a little slice of heaven to break up this monotonous schedule.

mid-Atlantic sunset

 

Monday July 21, 2014

You guys! I have this amazing new invention I need to tell you about! Some people somewhere have come up with these things that let you block out noise when you don’t want to hear it. All you have to do is insert these little foam plugs into your ears and it makes things quiet! They’re called earplugs, and I swear, every one of you should go out and buy a pair right this second!

Wait? You already know about them? They’ve been out for decades? Either way, I finally went ahead and put in a pair last night to block out the clanging noise of the boom and they worked like a charm. Seriously the best night of sleep I’ve had since we left Bermuda. Normally I don’t like to wear them while we’re on passage because I want to be able to hear if Matt’s calling to me for assistance, but really, what is going to happen to us out here right now? There’s no 60 knot winds trying to tear our headsail in half, and no 5 meter waves threatening to wipe our jerrycans off the deck. I’m pretty sure Matt can handle scanning the horizon for other ships, I hope, so I felt confident to allow myself into the land of complete unconsciousness for the night. It.Was.Amazing.

This afternoon when we went to check our satellite phone for messages from home we got some shocking news, but in the best kind of way. We’re going to be first time aunts and uncles! Matt’s mom had sent us a short text to let us know that his little brother and girlfriend are going to be expecting a baby early next year. We were thrilled to hear the news, as I’ve been waiting to be an aunt for years from one sibling or another. If we’re not in the time frame to have our own baby right now, the next best thing is having a niece or nephew that we can spoil. I smell a lot of nautical themed onsies in this babies future.

On a weather related note, there’s a depression coming up behind us from the east coast of the states, so we have some rough weather to look forward to in the next few days. If it’s anything like the front we had pass through on Matt’s birthday, I think we’ll be able to handle it just fine. But let me go ahead and check our stock of canned soup and Pop Tarts just to make sure we have enough to get us through the next few days.

 

sunrise in the middle of the Atlantic

Atlantic Crossing Part II Days 28 & 29: 10 Seconds before Sunrise

Thursday July 17, 2014

This morning I was able to experience something few people can probably say they’ve ever done. Watched a 4 am sunrise. Although really, it’s total BS because as I mentioned before, we haven’t changed our clocks since we left Miami, and that was two time zones ago. So my 4 am sunrise would have actually been a 6 am sunrise if you want to get into technicalities, but I’m not. I rule the time out here on the seas, and I say it was 4 am.

One thing I’ve noticed, now that this is really the first time I’ve seen both the sunrise and sunset in a consecutive 24 hours, is how indistinguishable they are from each other. If you look at the moments just after the sun has sunk below the horizon, or the ten seconds before sunrise (#awesomesong), they look exactly the same. I am going to go through the effort today of changing the clocks forward one hour, since our early sunsets are starting to get a little ridiculous and I can’t stand them. But at least they do mean we’re making miles east.

sunset on the Atlantic

sunset in the middle of the Atlantic.

sunrise in the middle of the Atlantic

 sunrise in the middle of the Atlantic.

 

We found out something new yesterday afternoon. We must have wandered into some massive North Atlantic fishing area, because we’re starting to come across fishing buoys in the water. 1,000 miles from land in each direction and situated in depths of 12,000 feet.  Yet someone has taken time to mark little areas here and there with what we’re assuming are very large nets that sit just under the water. Yesterday’s was such a shock that we passed within about 100 feet of it just to get a closer look (we could not see the net sitting below it), but the one we saw today was shocking in a different way.

Yet another glass calm day on the seas, we were debating if we should use our engine at all. Since getting ourselves out of the channel in Bermuda we have not turned it on once. If we knew there was wind sitting somewhere that we could motor to, we would, but otherwise there’s no point. We’re content (enough) to just drift. So when it got to the point today that we were dropping down to 2-3 knots of wind and the autopilot had to be turned off since we weren’t getting any forward motion, I was sitting in the cockpit actually contemplating going for a swim. It was sweltering hot out, and if ever I was going to get in the water, this was it. Just as I was scanning the horizon to make sure there weren’t dark clouds poised to pounce on me and kick up the winds just after I got in the water, I saw a bright orange something or other floating out in the water some distance from us. Calling Matt up to check it out as well, I assumed it was another set of fishing buoys. Because of the bright orange color though, he thought it might be a life raft.

Bringing out the binoculars now, we tried to make sense of the shape in front of us. We weren’t sure that it was a life raft, but we also weren’t sure that it wasn’t. And how terrible would that be to miss the chance to rescue someone adrift because you didn’t want to make the effort to investigate it further? One thing was for sure though. We definitely weren’t going to be able to sail our way over to check it out. Flipping the engine on and giving it a few minutes to warm up after ten days of disuse, we put ourselves into gear and flew over the calm seas at a good 6 knots. Keeping an eye on it with the binocs as we neared we did find out that, just like I had originally assumed, it was two orange buoys floating just a few feet from each other. I was glad to find out that it was not in fact anyone in need of assistance, but it begs to ask the question, How much do we miss when we’re not looking?

fishing buoy in the middle of the Atlantic

 

Friday July 18, 2014

This morning I woke up to what has become a familiar scene on Serendipity. Matt will have the wheel locked, stating there is not enough wind for the autopilot to keep us moving forward.  Yet when I come up above deck I find there is 5-7 knots, at least enough to get us going somewhere it would seem. Then I spent the next 45 minutes or so trying to pinpoint exactly where that little bit of wind is coming from and turn the boat, which doesn’t want to turn because we’re only making 0.8 knots, in a direction that I can harness that wind. It’s a little frustrating, but the fact that Matt used to have to fix all my improper sail trims after my night shifts where I didn’t know how to get it right and would therefore just leave it wrong until he woke up, kind of makes up for it.

Before I could even get my morning coffee brewing today I could not stand the thought of us aimlessly drifting anymore and I was determined to do something about it. Spending the first 30 minutes spinning in circles as I tried to catch the wind in our sails, it looked as if I might be just as well off locking the wheel and letting us float south at just under a knot. I was about ready to give up when the wind picked up 1-2 knots, just enough for me to set a course in somewhat the right direction and get us moving again. Once we were on that course for a few minutes and I knew the wind wasn’t going to die out completely again I brought out the heasail and worked on trimming it just so. Getting behind the wheel again I began hand steering, getting a good feel of the wind and how we were moving in it.

Then it hit me. This is fun. I’m enjoying this. I’m enjoying sailing. For those of you who don’t know, I’m not the biggest fan of this sport. I haven’t hated it as much as I used to during some of our earlier passages in the Caribbean, but I’d say over the past year or so I’ve been learning to tolerate it more than I’d say I enjoyed it.

But something about being out here today and making something out of nothing, leisurely cruising along on calm waters with a light breeze on my face and nothing but blue surrounding me, something about this moment was ecstasy. Sailing in it’s purest form. Now I can see what all the fuss is about.

clam waters in the middle of the Atlantic

glass waters in the middle of the Atlantic

Matt with mahi

Atlantic Crossing Part II Days 25-27: Fish On!

Monday July 14, 2014

I hate to admit to myself, but mostly you, how very easy it is to become incredibly lazy on a passage. The sad part is that it has nothing to do with fear of seasickness or of moving around the boat too much. It’s just your everyday garden variety of ‘It is so much easier to sit here and do absolutely nothing than to put effort into anything at all’. Which is probably why we’ve let ourselves drift along at this sad pace, achieving an average of 2.5 knots of speed. Today though, that had to change. It was time to bring out the spinny. I have to confess, it probably would have come out sooner had it not been for our dinghy blocking the forward hatch where we’d normally feed it out of the v-berth, but now we have to drag it back an extra five feet to feed it out of the other hatch. Either way, we finally got up the motivation today to give it a try.

It wasn’t even until late afternoon that we were able to give it a shot because of our sleep schedules. That’s the real kicker of these passages. By the time both of us are finally awake it’s normally two in the afternoon, and once we have the energy to actually do anything it’s already creeping past four or five. Which gives me a good two hours to be productive before it’s time to make dinner and then go to bed. So just like any other mostly lazy day, the spinnaker was not brought out until five in the afternoon.

*I should quickly mention that even though we’ve passed through about two time zones now, we have yet to change our clocks. Part of it is to do with keeping a schedule that allows Matt to be awake at the right times to download our weather, and the other part is, well, laziness. Whichever way you look at it though, it’s been leaving us with 4:30 am sunrises and 6:30 pm sunsets.

Just as the sun was starting to make it’s evening decent into the sky we were finally running the lines to the cockpit, hoping to get a good 2-3 hours of flying it before it was time for me to go to bed and it would need to be taken down. There is just no way that thing is worth messing around with in the dark.  Winds were currently holding at 6-8 knots, and although raising the spinnaker would not send us flying along, we thought it would be enough to hopefully kick us up to 3.5 knots. Something has to be better than nothing, right? I won’t call what happened next Murphy’s Law, but I’ll just call it Our Luck. We had just gotten the spinny raised and flying perfectly when the wind took a dip. Our 6-8 knots turned to 5-6, and then eventually 3-5. We kept it up for about 30 minutes, hoping a nice breeze would come by to fill it in, but it never did. So back down it came. It looks like we really will be completing this leg of the crossing at 2.5 knots.

 

Oh, I also had the shock of my life when I was on my shift last night and I heard a loud and expected clunk just feet from where I was sitting. I checked all the lines with a flashlight to make sure nothing had snapped, but I couldn’t see anything wrong. It wasn’t until I came back out during daylight that I was able to see fish scales sitting on the vinyl of the dodger. That must have been a pretty good jump! There was no body left on deck though, or trust me, Georgie would have found it.

fish scales on dodger

 

Tuesday July 15, 2014

Did this day actually exist in history? Because I don’t remember anything happening.

fish swimming next to boat

fish swimming next to boat

 

Wednesday July 16, 2014

Today was shaping up to be yet another forgettable day on Serendipity with only 550 miles under our keel since leaving Bermuda just over a week ago. I had my morning coffee, Matt was realizing a few things he messed up while working on boat projects yesterday (look, I did remember something!), and we were just settling into the cockpit and preparing to open our gift de jour. Having set it aside for a quick shower though, I went on deck to dry myself in the early afternoon sun when I noticed a familiar electric blue light passing through the water. “Matt”, I yelled to the back of the boat, “Our mahi is back”. Not the same one that escaped us before I’m sure, but one worth trying to catch nonetheless. Untying our hand reel from it’s normal stationary position at the stern, Matt brought it to the front of the boat as I tried to keep an eye on the large fish that was doing laps around our boat.

Conditions were once again incredibly calm as we drifted along on glass calm waters. As soon as I spotted the mahi was making it’s round from the back of the boat and toward us again, Matt threw the multi-colored lure in the water just in front of it. That fish didn’t even have time to think about what was happening, it just saw something land an inch from it’s face and went to nibble on it. We’d just caught our mahi! The question now was, could we keep it this time?

Without any time to prepare for actually catching a fish since I’d literally spotted it about 90 seconds earlier, we were in no way ready when we landed it. Matt began pulling it in toward the boat while I quickly ran to the back to grab the gaff. Food was beginning to get low and there was no way I was going to let this meal get away. Approaching Matt again with the sharp hook in my hand, he explained that he was going to hand the line over to me while he gaffed the fish and brought it on deck. Hearing about exhausting fights that other fishers have put up with while trying to bring in these powerful fish, I braced myself against the gunnel to keep myself from ending up in the water and getting dragged half way to Horta. Surprisingly though, there was no struggle.

At least, not until we got it on deck. Suddenly it began flexing it’s powerful muscles as it’s massive body started flipping all over the place. I had not been prepared for this and had no idea what to do next. I guess I assumed the gaff would kill it. Matt wasn’t quite sure what to do either and things were not handled well on either side. He began barking orders at me as I’m running around screaming ‘I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know!’. What makes matters even worse is that he can tend to get flustered in these kind of situations where he’s all anxious but can’t tell me what he wants. “Get me the…uh…you know…the…the thing!!”. “What effing thing?! I don’t know what you need!”. “It’s the…uh..just get me a hammer..quick!!”.

So I fly down the steps and into the aft cabin where we now have two bags full of Matt’s tools, and I can not find the hammer in either one. I am now beyond anxious and pissed myself. Stomping (quickly) back up the stairs I yell at him “Your effing hammer is not in the effing tool bag, you need to start putting your s&%t away!”*, as the mahi is partially listening to our heated conversation and partially fighting for it’s life. “Just get me the damn winch handle”, he called back, ready to end this in any way possible. Snatching a spare one out of our combing I ran it up to him, a few hard smacks to the head later, this fish was definitely not going anywhere.

Pulling out our fillet knife and the Cruiser’s Handbook of Fishing, all the while trying to keep Georgie confined to the cockpit, we cleaned our first fish caught by anything other than a pole spear. I’m not counting those barracuda we threw back in the Bahamas, or, tear, that mackerel we mistook for one.  Most of it was bagged and frozen, but I can tell you one thing.  I am having fresh fish for dinner tonight.

*This conversation is actually kind of hilarious because a.) We normally never yell or swear at each other and b.) if we do, it’s Matt yelling at me to put my things away because I never do.

Matt with mahi

filleting mahi

fresh mahi fillets

 

light in sky

Atlantic Crossing Part II Days 21-24: Light up the Sky

Thursday July 10, 2014

Now that we’re on our third day out we’re finally starting to settle into our schedule again. Falling asleep when we’re supposed to, having dinner ready by 7, and just kind of getting used to the general confinement of having my world extend no further than the 34 feet of this boat. The thing is, after a few days now, it’s beginning to feel like we never stopped in Bermuda for a week and a half. Those 10 days we were nestled safely at anchor? Right now they kind of feel like they never existed and we’ve been cruising this whole time. That we just picked up right where we left off. I’m not sure exactly where the excitement went, or where the feeling that we’re actually getting even just a little bit closer to our destination has gone, but the past day or so has left me like a whining five year old in the backseat during a road trip screaming ‘Are we there yet?!’. And considering that we’re still closer to the US than we are to the Azores, that’s a dangerous cry to make since Matt could still threaten to turn the boat around.

I did have one interesting thing happen on my night shift though. I was sitting out in the cockpit since it was still fairly nice outside (lately I’ve been switching it up between sitting in the cockpit and laying on the settee, coming out for a check every 15 minutes), listening to some podcasts downloaded on our Android. Usually something from Tech Stuff on How Things Work, while sneaking in a TED talk at the end, spacing those out since I only have so many to last me through this passage.

Now, don’t start pelting me with rocks when I say this, but I’ve already gotten a little bored watching the stars. Trust me, they’re beautiful and I’ll always admire and appreciate them, but for the past few nights I can see a shooting star every time I look up. They’re just everywhere. So tonight instead of looking out with wonder at the sky as I normally do, I was keeping my gaze just focused at the stern of the boat since that was the direction I was facing. Then on one of my 360 degree checks, I just happen to be facing the right direction at exactly the right second and saw a very bright light blazing through the sky. It was honestly one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen.

It only lasted about a second and a half, but it seriously looked like a ball of flame being tossed through the night sky. Quickly going back to my computer where I had a graph of ‘What’s that light in the sky’, I followed the trail to try and figure out what it was (definitely not a masthead light, haha). I think I’ve narrowed it down to either a bolide or a fireball. I didn’t see it end in a dramatic explosion, unless that’s what I was already seeing. Man I wish I had the option to Google while out at sea.

light in sky

 

Friday July 11, 2014

Did I ever mention that we lost all of our speed just out of Bermuda? I swear, as soon as we were 10 miles out the current that was carrying us so swiftly along puttered out on us, and our 18 knots of wind almost completely died. We ended up only making 100 miles our first 24 hours out. The next day we hit 68. Even though we thought we’d be picking up on some stronger winds once we left Bermuda it appears as if we’re falling into the same 3 knot average that we had the whole way from Miami. Our progress is becoming abysmal once again, but we keep our mouths shut and smile because we know that 2.5 knots is better than 1.5.

This puts us back into our ‘at anchor’ traveling, where even though we are still moving (however incredibly slow), the conditions are so flat and comfortable that it feels as if we were at anchor. Just, without the option of actually getting off the boat. Once again I’ve thrown myself into reading, cooking, and watching movies from our hard drive. I never forget that I’m on a boat, but sometimes where my boat currently sits, or where I’m headed to, escapes me. I have to constantly remind myself that I’m sitting in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean with a destination of a group of islands that few people ever see. That in itself is pretty damn cool, and even if we keep moving toward it at 2.5 knots, I know it will all be worth it in the end.

 

P.S. I broke into the temporary tattoos today. They’re glow in the dark! So cool when you shine a flashlight on it at the end of your night shift and then jump under the covers.

temporary tattoo

 

Saturday July 12, 2014

We may not be going far anymore, but at least we do have the luxury of being ‘at anchor’ again. Which is still better than being slow and uncomfortable in my opinion, so at least we have that going for us. With the ability to freely move about the boat as we please, and with plenty of sun this time to keep our batteries fully charged, we’ve basically been doing nothing lately besides watching tv or movies. Usually an episode or two of Dexter each day, but we’re trying to throw a few movies in there as well.

Which actually leaves me a little worried sometimes that I’m going to pick the wrong movie for this kind of voyage. Not that we have large seas or storms to deal with at the moment, but you never know what’s right around the corner, and I do not want to watch anything in a movie that reminds me just how quickly things can change out here. Probabilities are low that we’ll encounter any kind of epic storm out here, although I’m sure we’ll still get our fair share of the smaller stuff, but that doesn’t mean I need to see it on the big screen while I’m hundreds/thousands of miles out to sea.

So, here is my list of movies that I will not be watching until we settle down for winter without the prospect of moving again for a few months.

  • The Perfect Storm
  • The Life of Pi
  • All is Lost
  • White Squall
  • Forrest Gump
  • Hell, even that scene in the beginning of Frozen

Can you think of any I’ve left off?

dusk on the Atlantic

 

Sunday July 13, 2014

We’ve had an issue the past few nights where what little wind we have will suddenly shift from our beam to our bow, and the boat will suddenly begin tacking itself around in circles. Not a big deal since there’s no big waves or anything worrisome we’re turning ourselves into,  and the only real hassle is forgetting that I’m tethered in to the entrance of the companionway, subsequently being yanked backward as I run out of ‘leash’ while dashing for the wheel to set a new course. It happened to me last night, and it happened to Matt. We reposition until we’re closed hauled and go back to staring into space.

This afternoon though we noticed noticed that our doing doughnuts in the middle of the ocean did happen to create one issue for us. We usually leave a fishing line out in the water all day in the hopes of one day actually catching a fish, and Matt decided to leave it out overnight as well last night. Well, sometime during one of our little spins, it got itself wrapped around the prop. At least that’s what we thought since we could no longer see the line trailing behind us, and it definitely was not coming out of the water upon yanking it.

One of us was going to have to get in the water to cut it free, and even though I had joked the whole way to Bermuda that the next time the wind dropped under 6 knots I’d be in the water scrapping the bottom clean, it was not going to be me. Somewhere along the way I became terrified of jumping into that big blue pool. The wind wasn’t an issue, we were still basically drifting along, and the seas were just barley above a ripple. As Matt prepared himself to get in and cut the line free I began thinking of every possible scenario that could go wrong. We were barley moving, he was going to hang on to a line that was attached to the stern, but it still reminded me of back when we were in the Jumentos and Matt jumped off the boat to fetch his hat that had blown off his head. We had only been moving at 1.2 knots, but it was still fast enough that he couldn’t catch back up to the boat. We were also moving so slow that I couldn’t power the boat enough to turn around and get him. I almost had to use the engine, before the boat finally cooperated and turned enough that he was able to catch up. But this time I don’t even have the backup option of the engine.

Just as I was turning into my mother and asking every kind of safety precaution question possible, certain that Matt was going to lose the rope he was planning to hold on to and drift just far enough away that I couldn’t get him back, he noticed something off the side of the boat. Now that we’d heaved to and were effectively at a stand still, the fishing line had a few moments to float and Matt saw that it was not wrapped around the prop, but only the stainless steel bars for our emergency rudder system. With a little work with the boat hook we managed to free the line and bring it back aboard. No one was going to have to go in the water after all. Thank god. Even at a standstill, and even though I wasn’t the one going in the water, I’m sure I would have found a way to eff up the situation and lose my husband at sea. It would be just my luck.

sunset on Atlantic Ocean

cat with fake mustache

Atlantic Crossing Part II Days 19 & 20: Fun with Moustaches

cat in fake mustache

Tuesday July 8, 2014

We finally made our escape from Bermuda yesterday. It was one of those things where we could have stayed forever, yet at the same time I was ready for a change of scenery. As much as I wasn’t looking forward to the prospect of an 18 day passage, at best, it was time to go. We’d already gotten one extra day at anchor due to light winds and we couldn’t drag it out any longer.

We let ourselves sleep in one last time, and then with the dinghy still in the water, made our way to the market to do the smallest provisioning we’ve probably ever done in our lives. A head of lettuce, one cucumber, two tomatoes, and a five pound bag of rice. We assume this, along with the dozens of canned goods stashed in the boat, will last us to the Azores. Had we not bought the rice I might be a little worried, but if it comes down to it, I think we can live on that if necessary. Then it was back to the boat for me to finish up the last of the prepped meals and snacks so that once more, I don’t have to do any real cooking until my body gets used to the motion of the ocean. The chili was simmered, cooled, and contained, and then as the last chocolate chip cookie was making it’s way out of the oven, we were already getting the anchor up.

Our first stop on the way out was for fuel. Since leaving Miami we’d probably used about 20 gallons and we definitely wanted to fill them back up before we left.  It was hard to release my vice like grip while handing over the $7/gallon for our fill up, and even worse when I handed over a tip to the attendant, after he made me nearly fall off the boat trying to fish a dollar bill out of the water for him that had fallen out of his pocket. With that done and what’s probably going to be half of our monthly cost just spent on fuel, we were ready to head out into the wild blue yonder again.

Motoring out of the channel we had the main all raised and ready to pick up the 18 knots of wind that were waiting for us on the other side. Finally, some movement in our future! Shutting off the engine we cruised along at a mighty 6-7, although I have to imagine there was a bit of a current working in our favor. 18 days? If we can keep this up it’s going to be more like 12. And I can definitely handle that.

cookies for passage

Georgie on passage

Serendipity at 6 knots

 

Wednesday July 9, 2014

I think I may have mentioned back when we first started this crossing from Miami that we were given little gifts to open every few days from Matt’s mom, something to look forward to on our otherwise boring days. We had been really good with sticking with the dates of when to open our packages ‘Open on day Five, Open on day Twelve’, but when day Seventeen came around I decided to hold off. It was the day before we got to Bermuda and I was already extremely excited about that, so I figured I didn’t need the additional elation of a present at the time. I figured we’d wait until we’d been back on the boat a few days and push it back, opening it when day Twenty Two came around, therefore leaving ourselves the added cushion of extra presents when this crossing lasts over 37 days, if it happens to. Matt, ever the stickler for playing by the rules, did not like the fact that we did not open it when we were supposed to and as soon as he found out that we were now three (passage) days behind on opening it, forced me to dig into it earlier than I had planned.

Now, we love the stuff that’s been in our other packages: puzzle books, coloring books, stickers, ect. But this one happened to be right up my alley and totally made my day. It was full of beauty tween ‘beauty’ supplies that I’m just as thrilled to receive even now that I’m in my 30’s. Bright shaded crayons to color my hair, mud face masks, stick on nail art, and temporary tattoos. I could really have some fun with this. Rocking back to my early 90’s self, I can pull a Jennifer Gardner in ’13 Going On 30′ where I’ll have a full evening of pre-pubescent beauty routines where my hair will end up six different colors just to see what it looks like, and my nails will be Bedazzled to the point of suffering from temporary blindness any time the light hits them. The best part of it all is that I can actually look over to my husband and quote, “Matty!! Hey Matty, come here!!” as I get ready to break out my Michael Jackson ‘Thriller’ moves. Geez, …I really need to stop with the obscure movie references.

One other thing that was included in the present, fun for the whole family, was a package of three stick on mustaches, each with a different theme or look.  There was the Rascal, the Outlaw, and another that Matt was quick to pop on his face.  I was doubled over laughing so hard that I barley had time to get the camera out to capture the moment.  I’m sure we wasted a good hour of our time as we peeled off and stuck on new mustaches, playing the roles of the different looks we were offered.  As Georgie followed us around the boat while we were in hysterics, we decided there was no way we could leave her out of the fun as well.  A cat with a moustache.  Hmmm….I might have to try the hair coloring crayons on her next.

Matt with fake mustache

Jessica with fake mustache

cat with fake mustache