Atlantic crossing. Bermuda 6

Sat 2 Jun 2007 00:12
Still making far too much westing. Continuing would steadily make matters worse as we increased the distance to our destination. At midnight Thursday I decided to go for it based on the results of a yet another tank dipping. Running the engine slowly and sailing whenever  possible I figured we could just make it. The crew are very tired and a bit worn down by the bouncing. we need a result to cheer them up. Dipped again first thing in the morning and a bit unhappy with the result, the 20kt headwind is playing hell with the consumption but arriving without another 24 hours at sea is still within the realms of possibility. Chugged on through the night slowly getting into calmer waters but way out to the west of the island. Up at first light to relieve the French who are looking the worse for wear to say the least. Just in sight of the westernmost lighthouse which is encouraging.  More dippings and quiet anxiety on my part, the last thing I want is to get towed in. Wind freshened at about 9am and just able to sail in roughly the right direction, great. Very impressed with our first sight of the island, so different to the Caribbean ones being very low and flat. The chart is a chilling read, reefs extending out from every direction, a  north approach would be impossible. We had planned to make landfall from the west as recommended but as you know, were not able to. By now we were enjoying some respite, tacking slowly and quietly along the beautiful coastline and feeling the  now familiar arrival euphoria  Things continued to improve throughout the morning and I began to become optimistic that we would make it. Tacked around a bit to weather Coopers Island and the shoals around Great Head and suddenly all was well.  The light seems different around here somehow. I never feel the need to wear shades but certainly wished I had a decent pair this morning. The sea is a startling blue and all the other colours seem to be much more vivid. Contacted Bermuda radio for permission to enter the harbour and was subjected to a verbal interrogation re the equipment onboard, where we had come from, the serial numbers on the Epirb and other equipment. When he asked for the sex of Grandmother I told him the questions were becoming tedious and all we needed was permission to enter. I had the impression that the litany was expected as part of his job and he was relieved when I called a halt. We had to wait for a liner to come through the very narrow entrance after which we motored in without further contact. He contacted us again to give us clearing in instructions, immigration etc. and left us to our own devices. A lovely harbour, very clean, neat and very expensive as we were soon to discover. Onboard now having a well earned rest and preparing to go ashore to join the French who are awaiting the arrival of Michel who is flying in  from the UK this evening. Michel will skipper the boat the rest of the way back to the UK as originally planned. Looking forward to exploring this lovely place during the short time will be here. I felt a bit tired and emotional this evening as we sat having coffee beside the harbour, I have been concerned for the welfare of the French in particular, their families are obviously worried judging by the amount of medicaments they loaded them down with, something for every eventuality.  Having great time.   Manny