The Final Miles
Blue Sky's Voyage
George & Michael
Wed 13 Dec 2006 16:42
Hello Friends "16:49N 58:49W"
We now have less than 200 miles to go and the calm of the endless crossing has turned to anticipation of the first sight of land. Already those off watch tomorrow morning have vowed to stay awake with eyes glued to the horizon.
The voyage has had some surprises.
None of us expected the sea to be quite so rough, as for most of the mid-Atlantic part the sea has been quite steep and short, more reminiscent of the English Channel on a bad day rather than the long relaxing ocean swell we had hoped for. At times the wave height has been 7 or 8 metres with a wavelength of only 40 or 50 metres, so Blue Sky was constantly stop-go, surfing down the wave with the bow nearly burying herself in the trough, followed by the wave crest towering over the stern before we fell back down the back of the wave with the bow pointing to the sky. This all made for rather poor sleeping, but was more than compensated for by the whales within the waves later on.
When we saw the first whale as the light was fading, our concerns were of safety, thinking mainly of the vulnerability of a our GRP hull and the unprotected rudder. though as the sightings continued and became more numerous we relaxed and just enjoyed watching the show. There must have been hundreds of whales along our course, perhaps on some migration or maybe attracted by the noises from our towed generator.... In the event, our fears were unfounded as they seemed adept at positioning themselves close to the hull without actually making contact. They seemed to positively enjoy diving under the keel from one side to the other. We were all enthralled by the whales surfing down inside the waves, just a few metres either side of the stern, an image we will never forget.
When we were in Lagos, we met a Canadian couple who were amazed that we were taking crew with us - they hardly ever took crew when passage making and then "only family". What a lot they are missing! Not only have our crew made the watch keeping and sail handling easy, but we have all enjoyed the crossing and bonded together as a happy team and a very efficient working unit. The last time we did a sail change at 0300 - including going head-to-wind to drop the main - the whole exercise went off calmly with hardly a word being said. Not that you would have heard much with the wind screaming and the bow under water with each wave...
So thanks to the foredeck crew - Ruud and Arthur, pictured here doing the pole dance;
and linemen, Ben (halyards) and Barnie (sheets) keeping an eye on things in the cockpit.
Ocean Crossing is if anything, a surprisingly calming activity. Knowing that you'll be at sea for weeks at the mercy of the elements, there is nothing to do but to watch the sea and sky around you and to endlessly stargaze on the night watches. And if only a fraction of our wishes on shooting stars come true, the world should be a better place.
and finally, yesterday afternoon in the cockpit - hiding from the sun as Ben gently serenades us on his guitar Lucy.
George, Michael, Ruud, Ben, Arthur and Barnie