Swimming mid-Atlantic

Fri 4 Dec 2020 10:16
15:49N 49:53W
638nm to Martinique at 0945 UTC. Motorsailing in 5-6 knots apparent wind at around 7 knots sog direct towards Martinique waypoint cog263, with the machinery predicting our arrival very late Monday or early Tuesday.

Simon Said there would be thunderstorms on Thursday. Sure enough, although Mojo had fine weather throughout daytime Thursday, we saw lightning way off in the distance in the evening. The aptly-named ARCies (who are all guilt-tripped into NEVER using the motors, dear Oh dear NO, tsk) must be having a tough time - first week of F7 and squalls, now light winds and thunderstorms, eek! Mojo powers ahead with Simon's guidance, loon spinnaker and 1500 litres of diesel.

Simon's probably finished the actual serious forecasting for us on this trip and it's all fairly plain sailing from here. Okay, diesel-flavoured sailing, not plain. Anyway, massive thanks again to Simon from me and all on Mojo.

Fabulous sunny yet calm weather daytime yesterday (Thursday 3rd Dec) had the downside of no sailing, but swimming a distinct possibility. So we had a swimming stop at Researcher Ridge in the afternoon at 16 degrees 4.215north, 47degrees 52.708 west in a slow swell and almost zero wind. It's a very picturesque spot, despite (or maybe because of) being 2 miles underwater. We put out a floating line for safety. I jumped in and out fairly quickly. The others bobbed about for five or ten minutes, and several of them have Go-Pro video of each other taking Go-Pro video in blue water, blue sky, blue everything. Aixa says it was a lifelong dream to swim in the ocean. No sharks.

I may have made a schoolboy error in emailing the Martinique authorities requesting permission to arrive. Normally of course I wouldn't do this at all - I'd just pitch up. But these are strange times. They've responded (with English translation) that due to the pandemic I need an "imperious motive" (sic) to visit Martinique. I have been toying with the idea of emailing back to the effect that I have run out of cannonballs, need to take on fresh slaves and to kindly stop wasting my time! But I don't think that's what they really mean. We've booked covid tests by email at the marina office for Wednesday 9th in the morning.

Sailing the Atlantic poses all sorts of dangers, and sadly the trip hasn't been entirely accident-free. Back in Las Palmas I opened the freezer door and a load of not-yet-carefully-packed frozen stuff fell out on to my big toe. Ow ow flippin ow! My toe kinda swelled a bit during the trip, so we had a look at the medical kit. Hmm. The situation on a boat like Mojo is that since nobody is a medical doctor, taking medicine/drugs has to be a matter of choice, not a prescription, and definitely not a decision of the Skipper, for example. So (unless someone is incapacitated, in which case we'd just have to Do Our Best for them) crew have to kinda self-diagnose and choose their preferred drug/treatment themselves, very much as if at a restaurant. I prescribed myself a large helping of vanilla ice cream. Momma Aixa gleefully prepared and supplied this. My big toe has since stopped hurting and is improving all the time.

In other news we changed the gas bottle. Wooh! Slow news days in calm sunny weather - the trip becomes a bit more of a caravan holiday than ocean adventure. Still over 600 miles from the nearest dry land though. Hm, again.

Thanks to everyone sending messages. We love your messages. But... there may be some confusion about my request that you "sign" these. Thing is, they're sent through some anonymous server farm and they may or may not carry your email address to us. So I suggested a text sign-off e.g. "Si" if you're called Simon for example. I didn't mean for everyone to sign "-Si" regardless, though. Maybe I wasn't clear about this. So ... please sign the end of your text with your OWN initials or similar ID so we don't have to guess who it is, is what I meant. Some of you completely got this, and thanks. Some of you completely didn't get this, and sent the message assuming I/we know who it is. And several other people not called Simon signed their message "-si". Chaos.