have been so busy lately. Fixing the boat, getting supplies, getting more
supplies and again getting more supplies. I asked my wife Isabelle ‘How the hell
are we going to store all this, we don’t even have our fruit and vegetables
yet!’ But we’ve managed somehow. I’ve put extra boxes next to our bed, hung
extra netting in the galley and rearranged the forward cabin. Our temporary crew
member Yannick is sleeping with 2 bicycles (the other 2 are stored on deck, yes
we have 4 bikes because we’re Dutch, its our heritage), 100 cans of beer (nope,
we’re not running a dry boat), 50 cans of Shandy and 75 cans of coke. If he ever
has trouble sleeping, he could count the cans. That should do the
between getting supplies we’ve done many great seminars. The ARC organization
did a great job selecting the right speakers. All our seminars were fun to
listen to and very educational. Most of the stuff was just a reminder of things
we already knew, but still.
every night there were parties and there was a Happy hour. Normally I would not
miss out on Happy hour. But I’ve been so busy that I only managed to go to two
Happy hours. Most of the time with Yannick and the crew of Off Spring. The
parties I’ve not missed although it took some organizing with the kids. Connor
(12) of Winddancer IV babysitted one night and some other nights we just took
them along. The kids loved it and so did we. Again, well done ARC
best part of being at the ARC in Las Palmas was the kids pontoon! The foremost
reason for joining the ARC was meeting other family boats. And meeting them we
did! Alec and Katie were like gipsies going from one boat to the other. Playing
with many nationalities proved no problem. Fishing, Crab catching, running on
the pontoon, Playstation 2, Nintendo, Lego and watching DVD’s of ‘ The Blue
Planet’ courtesy of Winddancer. They loved it. And I must say Seawalk was also
very popular among the kids, a good hideaway for their parents and of course the
only Playstation 2 on the pontoon with widescreen TV. At a given time we had 7
kids on SeaWalk and none of them were ours.
fun parallel to the ARC schedule Ohana and Seawalk took upon themselves to
organise two pontoon parties, a Halloween party, a Sinterklaas (Dutch folklore
and original version of Santa Claus, celebrated on his birthday December
5th and his arrival in Holland mid November) and a kids beach pick
nick. It was a great success.
almost 30 days on the kids pontoon and loved every bit of it. On departure it
was time to say farewell. Our son Alec (5) understood we would meet them on
St. Lucia again and was
thrilled to go sailing to Palm tree Island.
Something he has been looking forward to for many months. Katie didn’t
understand and didn’t accept it. She was in tears, all her friends were going
away. She was very popular with the semi-teenage girls to whom she referred as ‘
Mijn vriendinnen’ (Dutch for ‘ My Girl Friends’). Especially Julia, Jennie and
Ingeborg were close friends.
been given a lot of leeway during the time we’ve spent on the kids pontoon. So
she was doing so much and sleeping too little to cope with the new input. There
was hardly a steady rhythm. We could see she was changing, making another mental
jump, growing intellectual. Even her (very basic) English was improving rapidly.
I’m glad we’re on the Atlantic for a couple of
weeks. It is good for Katie to sort everything out and get some rest and
some rest and rhythm too. I never would have thought leaving the pontoon would
be a relieve. I always imaged setting of for a Trans-Atlantic crossing would get
me a lot of sleepless nights. In fact it gave me only one bad night but that was
due to all the things I still needed to do.
we’re sailing to St.
Lucia. It is slow going. The wind dropped below
10 knots and at the moment I write this we are actually running the engine since
the wind dropped below 4 knots and the sails were slapping hard in the swell.
There is a big High next to us causing this low winds and it will take at least
2 days to catch some good winds.
At first I
was very frustrated about this. It means the crossing will take considerably
longer, perhaps more than 21 days. But then I started reading in Bernard
Moittessier’s ¨Cape Horn, the logical route¨ which was given to me by good
friends (John, Nicola and the JJ´s). It made me realise that this is a very
magical moment. Being on the Atlantic for a
little less than a month with my family. It should not just be a way to bring
the boat to the Caribean, it is a journey in itself.
running the engine now although I hate running the engine. We’ve had to run it
many times coming out of Holland and out of the Med. I really wanted to
sail all the way but we need to prevent wear and tear too. With no wind the
sails get a beating. Chafe is already an issue and I have been halfway up the
mast twice trying to fix it. In this case it was a faulty block for the Spinaker
pole lift cutting into the rope.
we are. I didn’t forget Las
Palmas and the ARC parties. The ARC organization did a
wonderful job as did the Port of Las
Palmas. We worked hard and partied hard too. But I
am very relieved we finally slipped our mooring lines and crossed the ARC
starting line. Las
Palmas is miles away, both literally and figurally.
are focused on the boat and finding the right course through the maze of Grib
files and weather forecasts. But our harts are looking for amazement, enjoyment