May 25, 2010

Hola Senior

So many things to tell you all. I have been waiting a moment where the boat isn't heeled way over and smashing through waves to write you. Unfortunately this moment hasn't happened yet but remarkably what has happened is that we all seem to be adjusting to this uncomfortable point of sail. (took a couple of days though)

Every movement you take you have to think about. Where you place your foot, what you grab ahold of, if Artemo is at the crest of a wave and about to drop down or just building up. My body is sore from clenching up and using all my muscles. We all are living on the starboard side of the boat (the low side). The stove is on the low side so we had to rig up a rope about a foot in front of it that we could lean against to make our meals. We have a couple of attachment points so we can move it to lean against it to do the dishes. We have taken to wiping all the dishes down with paper towel in the cockpit to minimize the time we need to spend in the kitchen. Remarkably Graham still manages to make amazing meals. He has only the sinks to use to put stuff in so it doesn't fly as he prepares the meals. He props himself against the ropes and tries to move in rhythm with Artemo. He made us all Salisbury steak, mash potatoes, beets and gravy last night. We were all so craving comfort food.

Here are a few interesting things that have happened the last few days:

The other day we thought we noticed another rigging issue. Graham decided he should go up the mast. The wind was about 18 knots but the swell was huge. I hoisted him up. It felt so strange to have him up there as the boat lurched back and forth. Murphy's law though was ruling that day and as soon as I had him up there Alex starts yelling at me, "Mom, mom the mizzen sheet has come undone!". This means that the mizzen boom at the rear of the boat is swinging wildly back and forth. I couldn't let Alex go back there and risk getting hit trying to catch it and hold it in place, so I locked the rope I was holding Graham up with and I headed back. I managed to get ahold of the sheet and hold it steady. Alex took over lowering Graham and luckily there weren't any serious issues he could see. Then Graham came back to the mizzen and reattached the sheet (permanently this time!).

Yesterday I was in the back room having a nap and Graham was up on deck. All of a sudden I hear, "Hola Senior"! I was in shocked. You could hear that Graham was in shocked. We all ran up on deck and there right beside us is a open boat with a huge outboard and three fishermen. Can you imagine Grahams surprise as he looked up from his book and there are three guys beside him! Anyway, all was ok. They just wanted us to alter course a bit to avoid their fishing lines. We got all this from their sign language. We did back some letting them know that the motor wasn't on and our boat was round on bottom and wouldn't get caught on the lines. Not sure if they got all that through the four of us making motions like holding wheel and like no and rounding motions. I am sure they got a kick out of it though and we veered off and watched as their line went under us with no issues.

We were a little scared when we heard the boat because a couple of days before this the kids and I had been sitting at night in the cockpit and staring off the port side at the glow in the distance from the Columbian coast and then all of a sudden right in front of us this spot light goes on (it was very close). We could see so clearly the faces of these two guys. The guy in the front was wearing a bandanna on his head. They saw the kids and I and then they turned back off there light and left??? We were so freaked out. We had been in contact daily on the SSB with other boats who are also making this passage and one of them had warned us about pirate attacks off the coast of Columbia. This added to the fear we felt. Graham was sleeping at the time. Looking back it was kind of funny. Alex equates it to the "Office" episode where Ryan starts a fire and Michael flees the building leaving everyone behind. Alex shot down the stairs below before Amelia and I could even scream for Graham. He forgot to unattach his teether so there he hung down below as Graham came running from the back. Amelia and I were scrambling over each other to get down below to. Poor Graham he was in such a daze and we were all really worked up. Our hearts were beating so fast. Graham saw the tail end of the boat as he went off into darkness. It took us all quite a while to come down from this. We were all pretty shaky. It was just so freaky to have been looking directly where the light came on and then men's faces so clear.

Last night on watch Graham got hit in the arm by a flying fish. Thank god it was him and not me. He managed to grab it and toss it back in the water. The nights are really cold. It is so strange to be cold. We have been wearing socks and fleeces. We have a strawberry shortcake fleece blanket on deck that Amelia got for her 8 birthday from her best friend Amy, that we all use. It is so funny to see Graham all wrapped up in pink when I come to trade off shifts with him.

We are finally on our track and hopefully not needing to do to many more tacks. Looks like if the weather holds we can stay pretty true to our rum line. We did 6.5 to 7 knots for many hours last night. I was incorrect in the last blog the distances etc. Our route is about 1465 nautical miles. We have about 370 nm left. Our ETA right now on the chart plotter is showing that we will arrive Friday morning some time. I so hope our winds hold and this is true. We have been out at sea for 9 days so far!

We are planning to cross the Equator very close to the Galapagos, since we are riding a nice current right now. For sailors I guess it is a huge deal to cross the equator; momentous. You are suppose to have a huge party and celebrate. I think they have a couple names for sailors who haven't crossed and those who have.....shellbacks and pollywags?? I can't remember...maybe someone could look it up. I bought a bottle of champagne (non alcohol) for us all to pop and enjoy. Amelia has made party hats and we have our new years eve noise makers. We are looking forward to this!


  1. The Acreage - Fort MacleodMay 25, 2010 at 3:45 PM

    You are making so many wonderful memories. And it is you guys that are making it happen - GOOD ON YA!!!
    Dad and Cheryl

  2. It's good to hear your are getting close to the Galapagos. I was so happy to see the new blog this afternoon.
    Love Mom(JP)

  3. there is much planning done by the “Shellbacks” — those that have already crossed before — in preparation to indoctrinate or “cleanse” the sailors that have not crossed, i.e., the “Pollywogs.” Whenever the crossing occurs (which could be daytime or in the middle of the night), the Pollywogs are subpoenaed to the decks: “You are hereby commanded to appear before the Royal Court of the Realm of Neptune, in the District of Equatorius… because it has been brought to the attention of His Highness, Neptune Rex through his trusty Shellbacks, that this ship about to enter those waters are manned by a crew who has not acknowledged the sovereignty of the Ruler Of The Deep, and has transgressed on his domain and thereby incurred his Royal displeasure.” Then, a fully costumed and seaweed adorned “Neptune” appears before them, with sometimes “Davy Jones” at his side, indicting the Pollywogs for further charges. The Pollywogs, groveling on the deck at “Neptune’s” feet then are put through a sort of college fraternity-like hazing, with demands to eat globs of grossly concocted food combinations that the cook has made up, dousings with buckets of salt water, and other humiliating feats all in the presence of the Shellbacks on board. You have no Shellbacks I guess you have to douse each other and eat worms. Have fun and note the date and time to be engraved on a plaque at a later date.
    Love the Pirate story, This is all kind of Pirates of the Carribean. I wish I knew just when you were crossing as we would make noise here too.

  4. Do you have any kind of protection from pirates? I was just wondering. I would have freaked out to seeing that light and the guys faces. Terrifying. It was probably drug dealers dont you think?
    Amazing that alex caught that problem with the boat. Way to go alex! And you Julie catching that other problem you had. You 4 are definitley sailors! Just think of all that you have learned.
    Get lots of pictures of when you cross the equador and are celebrating. It will be a special moment for sure a real accomplishment all those days at sea.
    I felt a bit sea sick just thinking about being tipped like that. And then actually cooking hoy cow couldnt imagine it!
    Cant wait to see all your pictures when you reach the galapagus islands.