5th November 2010

Enigma's Transatlantic Voyage
Manuel Ribeiro
Sat 6 Nov 2010 00:57

33 03 70N 016 18 93W


Hello All!


Firstly, apologies for the delay; we have not been able to access internet through our satellite phone – so our arrival in Porto Santo has been our first chance to update the blog. This should all be fixed upon our arrival in the Canary Islands, where the good people of the ARC should be able to help us.


Anyway, enough about logistics and more about the sailing!


From the time we set off from Lisbon, the excitement was clearly present among all crewmembers on board. The four Manuels  (Manuel, Manel, Manolo, Manu) and the two non-Manuels (Boyan and Penaforte) had been waiting in heavy anticipation to leave for quite some time. As many of you know, the weather caused the send off to be delayed until after the weekend – so when we were finally sailing under the clear night sky and over the seemingly large waves, our eagerness to start our journey was apparent.


After the street lights of Lisbon faded in the distance, and nothing but the Atlantic Ocean was in sight, an entirely different feeling began to settle in for many of us – sea sickness. Despite taking medication, some of us (Manel and Boyan), were found checking out the sides of the boat…  We were reassured that sea sickness is very normal. Apparently some time ago, one of NASA’s pre-requisites for aspiring Astronauts was the ability to not get sea sick. After performing initial tests with these poor recruits, this pre-condition had to be removed as they couldn’t find enough men who could pass the test!


The following day, we experienced some new things. Manu was able to catch a couple of good sized tuna fish! Though our experiences with ocean fishing often saw us waiting long hours to bring in anything, Manu somehow managed to catch the first fish in about 10 minutes. This was enthusiastically welcomed by the crew as we were looking forward to having fresh fish for dinner. The Ribeiros also made the final touches to the outdoor table so that we would be able to enjoy our first lunch – a lovely salad with the Jamon Serrano (de Salamanca) that Manolo was kind enough to bring from Spain.


The sailing conditions were perfect, as they have been for most of the trip (knock on wood), and we caught a beautiful sunset with rays penetrating the clouds almost straight ahead of us. As the sun went down, we all sat down for dinner. Though Manuel Sr. joked that no one seemed to like his cooking of the tuna, most of us were still getting accustomed to the waves of the Atlantic, so our appetites were not the biggest.


After performing our night shifts, with a false alarm coming from Manel’s Man Overboard gadget falling into the water, we headed into the 3rd of November with everyone being able to fully enjoy the journey. We were more than halfway through our 500 mile trip to Madeira and some great downwind sailing was done with speeds reaching up to 16.2 knots! The overall feeling of the crew was one of calm and relaxation. Many turned to books, iPods and the wide range of Spanish, Portuguese and Ukrainian foods available. Manel, Manu and Boyan each sat at the bow of the boat, enjoying the water and their music. Listening to Empire of the Sun’s ‘We are the People’ when surrounded by the sounds of waves: a perfect combination!


The following day was the last that we would exclusively see the ocean this week– as the beautiful hills of Porto Santo emerged in the horizon. After seemingly going through a slightly more routine day, we arrived at this beautiful Portuguese Island at about 6 p.m. We got accustomed to our sea legs and headed straight to the nearest restaurant – where everyone was very glad to enjoy a nice big steak.


Following a full night’s rest, we spent the day exploring the island with our friendly tour guide. His name – naturally – was also Manuel. He drove us through much of Porto Santo. Showing us the several incredible views from the island’s high hills, the beautiful, modest houses and showing us a great place to eat! Manolo and Manel took some brilliant photos, and we had a very lovely seafood lunch by the water.  Manel, Manu and Boyan also took advantage of the weather and had a swim by the empty, 9 kilometre-long beach.


We now write to you while sipping on Gin and Tonics and about to enjoy our Spaghetti Bolognese dinner (Thanks Julia! It smells absolutely delicious). Hope that this entry to the blog was worth the wait and we promise to write to you soon.


Until Next Time,


The Enigma Crew


P.S. Hi Nelly! Enjoy your last weekend before school.


JPEG image

JPEG image

JPEG image

JPEG image

JPEG image