April 23, 2010


It is early morning now, the sky is slowly becoming lit. It looks a bit dreary out. We are on a dead downwind run. Our ginny is poled way out to our starboard and our main is prevented way out to port. We are wing on wing. Picture the wind pushing us along from behind and filling both sails. We averaged about 7 knots through the night but we even saw a maximum speed of 10.6 for a moment! This is my favorite point of sail. We roll alot but it is like the kind of roll I imagine a baby feels in a cradle as they are rocked to sleep. The seas have been good to us on day 1, small waves and gentle slopes.

Ok, enough about the sail configuration and onto the Artemo crew! We have all been excited about leaving. The anticipation heightened as we had to wait a few days for a weather window. We were all in basically a "Let's GO", state of mind. It is so strange because I remember how much the thought of this trip terrified me not to long ago but now it doesn't seem so scary. I was thinking last night in the darkness as the sky filled with lightening that sometimes it seems that the universe gives you what you need when you need it. Having the Gromits buddy boat with us is definitely a comfort but it does something else....it brings out competitive, confident Julie and this trip needs competitive confident Julie. Not crazy, scared, overreacting Julie.(omg I am talking in third person...please forgive me)

I remember when I was little and had to go in for my vaccination needles. The doctor and nurses would remember me because each time I would kick and scream and cry and they would all fight to hold me down. This one time I went in and there was another little girl waiting to get her needle and she was crying. Well I was going to show her! I marched right up and put out my arm and no trouble at all! I had it in me the whole time. So, if you are wondering how I am doing, I am doing well.

The kids are fantastic. No one is seasick ( I say with a whisper as I knock on wood). Amelia loves having the Gromit girls, Maia and Zoe, so close and able to chat on the radio. They have played tic tac toe over the vhf and kept each other updated on what they are doing or recent dolphin sightings.

Alex is happy. He has that twinkle in his eye that makes me feel good as a mother! You should of seen him at sunset last night as he landed a 15 lb MaHee MaHee (sp??). OMG it was a moment. His biggest fish yet. Watching the fish bob along the water as Graham and Alex pulled and pulled. They got out the gaf and pulled it in and then....the death. It was so strange because once it had died it switched from its beautiful vibrant yellow and green to dark green. Amelia and I felt a little sad. Anywho.....crazy, scared Julie would of had a problem with Graham and Alex on the back deck slipping around in blood as we sailed at 7 knots and rolled but not competitive, dig deep Julie. They had their harnesses on and the excitement and joy on their faces made me forget my fears.

Amelia and Alex decided they wanted to take watches. They decided on 8pm to 11pm. Another huge step. They wore their harnesses and life jackets and tethered into the cockpit. I gave them a list of 5 things to check for and to wake us up if they changed significantly (our speed, wind direction, wind speed, other boats and Gromits location). I had them record the information every 20 minutes and they did great. Amelia made them drinks and a snack bag for their watch. She brought up pillows and blankets and Alex enjoyed the service. I think Graham and I may have even fell asleep for awhile and not just closed our eyes.

As for Captain Graham. He is keeping this boat together and moving forward in right direction. He has the sails all finely tuned and he is downloading and analyzing the weather data and deciding on our route. He is a true voyager. I knew this when I met him. He is in his element. I am going to try and have him write a blog while we are out here. Fingers crossed but bear in mind he doesn't take orders very well.

Ok, one last funny story before I close for the day. A boat came fairly close to us last night. It was a bit strange because they came quick and then turned back around to follow in parallel. The kids started asking about what they should do if pirates came up. We talked about the unlikelihood of this and how most often it is just curious fishermen. Alex though with his Alex with, says "We will just tell those pirates - if you like us, you will like those guys even better!" and he points to the Gromits boat. LOL. Reminded me of the Billy Goat Gruff story.

We are all really enjoying having the company of the Gromits along and we won't be sending any pirates their way!!


  1. Congradulations Alex on your big catch. Have you ate it yet?You will get quite a few meals out of that one.
    Sounds like your off to a great start. Keep us posted we love your bloggs. Julie you always sounded confident to me.If it were me those rolling waves would scare me half to death. I guess its just a matter of getting use to.So I guess you have 6 more days before you reach the Galapagus islands.

  2. 15lb Mahi Mahi. Alex that fish must be huge! Good for you!

    The Sparks family are checking the computer all the time and watching your dot cross the ocean. It's so cool to see you further and further out to sea.

    And now Alex and Millie are taking shifts at the helm too! OMG you two are getting so mature. You're going to be all grown up the next time I see you.

  3. Fort Mac - the AcreageApril 23, 2010 at 9:59 AM

    Absolutely nothing like the stars on a clear night with no lights of land around. Enjoy as you get closer to the equator and don't forget to toast the crossing.
    Hope the weather keeps fine
    dad and Cheryl

  4. Wow, catching that fish must have been exciting. Hope it tasted as good. Love reading your blogs. Alex I love your sense of humor. Take care and stay safe.Love you

  5. awesome post, nice work on the fish Alex!!