MARIPOSA VOYAGE OF DISCOVERY, Sat 11th Dec. DAY 20 - 500 miles to go! (N 14 20, W 52 12)

Mariposa Blog
Robert Newman
Sat 11 Dec 2010 14:55
It is Sat morning and we have around 500 miles, which at the current rate of progress should still take us another 3.3 days i.e. so we should hopefully be getting in sometime on Tuesday (fingers crossed) and very frustratingly, for Spiller whose wife and family are already enjoying a posh hotel in St. Lucia).
It has been hard going the last few days, with quite heavy swells and regular squalls (for some reason more at night) coming up on us quickly, which bring bursts of heavy rain and high winds, which have to be carefully monitored on the radar and when they are a couple of miles away, the sails have to be taken down, which obviously hinders our progress and our sleep! 2 nights ago, another yacht relatively close by radio'ed that they had been hit by a squall which had 50mph gusts (which doesn't sound a lot, but when you have 2 large expanses of canvas hung up in front of you, believe me it is!) and this sudden wind power-up caused their boom to break, so we are having to be particularly diligent at the moment.
Heavy rainfall for most of the time last night, so the watches all had to sit on deck in their water-proofs (so much for book reading and DVDs; in fact, Rob was going to learn the guitar, Frosty the harmonica and WIlly to improve his French on this trip and I have seen little evidence of any of this either)!?! Come this morning when we could use the rain for a shower or to do some cloth washing the squalls now keep missing us!.....saying that, here comes one!..................
Back now squall has passed, but, we now have a small tear in our no. 2 sail. Everyone is getting quite bashed and bruised, as the heavy swells bump you round the boat quite forcefully, the rain is making it quite slippery on deck / on the steps down into the cabin and there have been a couple of spectacular falls and near misses from flying objects (e.g. cups, saucers, bottles of Tobasco etc.); thankfully no-one hurt badly as yet, although Willy did manage to break Spiller's tea mug in one head-long dive down into the cabin (which was very up-setting re the tea mug) and Willy also dislocated one of his toes this morning, so Spiller had to put it back in place, which caused him (Willy) to yelp a little (....but got him back for the mug incident!). As a result, Rob is under increasing pressure to nurse in his boat and his crew safely!). 
Running dangerously short on Ginger Nuts and Earl Grey (now being rationed) and meals are now very basic (as we have not had the fishing lines out, due to the squall), but, we should now have enough basic rations, water, fuel....and beer to get us in?! Spiller however, did make "Banana Surprise" consisting of stewed, over ripe / off bananas, with ginger, honey, lime juice, sultanas and dried mixed fruit (recipe patent applied for!), which was particularly good served over a base of rum-soaked, ginger nut and he has now followed this success up with "Apple Surprise" get the picture?!
It was Frosty's youngest son's 3rd Birthday yesterday, so HAPPY BIRTHDAY CHARLIE, from all onboard the Good Ship Mariposa.