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, ร‚ย 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

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