Atlantic Crossing Days 13-15: What Seems to be the Problem Meow?

Tuesday June 24, 2014

It’s only 48 hours late, but I stayed true to my word to Matt’s mom and was finally feeling well enough to give Matt the birthday celebration he deserved but never received.  Still slightly getting over the effects of the waves that are still dying down, it took me two hours of sitting in the cockpit before my head stopped pounding enough to the point I could begin blowing balloons.  I think dehydration might be a part of my recent headaches, so I’ve been trying to down plenty of water in the past 24 hours.

Sitting at the entrance to the companionway with my butt in the cockpit and feet on the steps, I spent the next 30 minutes blowing up about 10 balloons, tossing them on to the floor of the cabin while Georgie looked on with curiosity, and simultaneously making myself lightheaded by depriving myself of oxygen for each balloon that was blown.  Once the ground was littered with them I brought out the Gorilla Tape and tore up a few pieces and set about with my ninja like skills to get them on the grab-rail above Matt’s head so he’d wake up to a colorful concoction of balloons and shiny streamers.  I was two balloons down when my cover was blown for this hopefully unexpected birthday surprise.  Matt’s eyes started to flutter open, and even though I tried the cliche line of ‘This is all a dream…just go back to sleep’, he knew what I was up to.

As I mentioned in the last post, he’s not into celebrating birthdays at all, so all I got out of him was a grunt and “Did my mom put you up to this?”, as he rolled back over and fell asleep once again.  Even though the surprise was ruined, I continued with my work until every balloon and streamer that was mailed to me was now decorating the cabin.  Just like two years ago when Matt woke up and wandered into the bathroom of his mom’s house (of which we were living at that time to save a little $ for the kitty), to find most surfaces covered in balloons and traditional crepe paper, it wasn’t so much for Matt as it was for us.  We like putting forth the effort and giving the surprise, even if he isn’t all that enthusiastic to receive it.  It does always bring at least one smile though.  And hey, I didn’t hear any complaints about the meatloaf dinner I made tonight, just in celebration for his birthday.

Matt's birthday decorations



Wednesday June 25, 2014

There is nothing I wanted more when I woke up this morning than to be able to relax in the cockpit with a cup of coffee while I whittled away the hours until Matt was awake again and I could either nap or just have the company. It’s all I’ve wanted for the past few days now. But just like the past few days, I’ve been on cloud watch upon waking up. Towering clouds off in the distance that I have to keep a close eye on in case they come our way, in which case sail has to be reduced right away as this new squall passes over us. It’s like the coast of Florida all over again.  At least this shift lets me watch them in the light though.  Ever since Florida we’ve both been able to enjoy lightning shows on our night shifts, every night.  Luckily none of them seem to make their way over to us, but instead just leave us squirming in our seat as we watch the flashes of light illuminate the clouds in the distance, checking the radar every 30 minutes to make sure the pink blobs aren’t getting any nearer.

I expected this morning to be like every other day, and night, where I’d watch the towering cloud while we kept our canvas to a minimum, and then it would pass 2-5 miles away from us where we never even got a gust.  This morning though I wanted to keep full headsail out unless I knew we were going to get hit, because our lack of progress is starting to get ri-goddamn-diculous.  So I sit there for the next two hours, watching this monstrous thing actually coming our way, and then I see it.  S%*t.  It’s forming into a shelf cloud.  The kind that, when they’ve blown over us before, usually bring 50 knot winds with them.  And we were finally starting to make 4 knots!

It didn’t look like the whole thing was going to hit us, just one of it’s outer edges, so I waited until it was two miles away before bringing in the headsail.  It looked like things were about to get ugly though, it took less than two minutes for winds to jump up 10-15 knots.  Realizing how close we actually were to the edge I threw on the engine, while all the noise that was being made roused Matt from his bed, and he came to put down the mainsail as well, just in case.  We were able to skirt most of it, avoided the rain, and had an increase of winds up to 25 knots for a total of about 20 minutes.  Nothing we couldn’t have handled.  But, better safe than sorry.  I just wish we could have kept those winds, although local weather had different plans for us.  Back to 6-10 knots for the rest of the day.  The way things are looking, our passage is going to be 45 days long before we get to the Azores.  Think they give out awards for slowest passage ever?

shelf cloud forming

sun & clouds on Atlantic



Thursday June 26, 2014

I can’t think of any new or exciting news to report for today. You know why? Because nothing interesting is happening here. Unless you care to hear about how Georgie is starting to go a little bezerk. Tearing about the boat in a feverish dash, trying to hunt down imaginary insects. At least, I hope they’re imaginary.

This really shouldn’t be much of a change for her though, the only thing that’s different is that she’s not allowed to go up on deck. So for the most part she’s been sleeping,…sleeping,…sleeping some more, and then throwing us glares with her eyes that question ‘Why are you doing this to me?’. Apparently someone who’s everyday living space has only been cut down by 25%, compared to ours of a much greater amount, is taking this trip much harder than we are. That’s ok though, her peanut sized brain will forget all about it once we’re at anchor again. She’s reliable like that.


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