FIVE WEEKS AT SEA. More than a month - 33.5 days to be precise - without contact to the outside world, other than our satellite phone and very limited credit to send one sms every few days with our position, to my dad who plotted our progress on google earth (Thank you Daddy!).
On September 21st, 2012, Rufus and I set sail with Melody across our first ocean together - 4 weeks across the Atlantic from South Africa to Brazil, with a half way stop at St Helena Island. Exactly 3 years and 7 months later we left Panama on April 21st this year, for what is most likely the longest passage we have and will ever do.
This was a very daunting trip for us to plan and prepare for, our first really long passage just the two of us. This time there was no half way stop. We didn't go to Galapagos, like many cruisers do. The price is far too high for our limited cruising budget and we are on a deadline this year to complete our circumnavigation.
Nothing about this crossing was as predictable as so many cruising guides promised us. Probably thanks to El Nino, the winds and currents were not what we anticipated or hoped for but, despite all that, we had an unbelievably blessed trip with minimal damage to sails, our autopilot held up superbly the entire way and our “new” second-hand spinnaker literally blew us away with it’s phenomenal performance. Without it we would probably still be bobbing around in the middle of nowhere, despite repeatedly snagging itself on the spreaders and keeping us busy with repairs. We have now appropriately dubbed it “Patches” and love it all the more for it’s new character, every patch a story we will remember for years to come.
Thanks to the uncomfortably turbulent anchorage outside Panama City we already had our “sea legs” well before we left and mercifully sea sickness was not an issue on this trip. We did have to get used to the watches again, 3 hours on / 3 hrs off and the physical aspect of rolling constantly, always countering the movement even during sleep. After the first week our bodies started getting used to the new sleeping routines and fatigue and, by the second week we were happily into our new routines - cooking, fishing, daily tasks (cleaning/maintenance etc), frequent sail changes to get the most out of the wind, reading, watching series & movies and many hours sitting in quiet refection or chatting together and dreaming of what we will eat and do on land when we arrive!
Thank you to everyone who sent us messages to the satellite phone. We could not reply to everyone but we did receive and treasure every single word! Thank you for all your support!
More tropical island photos to follow, as soon as we get a chance ;)