Atlantic Crossing – 24th March 2015

Ahoy Dear Reader

Position: 01deg23’N 045deg14’W, 1200nm from Martinique

On our 19th day we crossed the equator into the North Atlantic and from a southern autumn into the northern spring (at the crossing we gave an offering – the obligatory drop of rum to Neptune for continued goodwill). The ITCZ (Inter Tropical Convergence Zone) is the low pressure belt between the south east and north east trade winds. In this fickle wind zone we experienced winds less than 5knots, along with squalls, heavy rain, and moments of absolute calm. Those conditions lasted only a few days resulting in a few hours of motoring, dolphin spotting, napping and thumb twiddling. We hadn’t even reached the first degree north latitude before a steady northeast wind blew on the beam and had Blue Heeler flying along at 7kn. No more poling out for a while making sailing very nice indeed.

Brazil’s northern coastline is over 1000nm until the head of the Amazon River then a further 800nm following the coasts of French Guyana, Suriname then Guyana. Having spent time in Brazil and South America some years ago, we didn’t plan to stop anywhere along this coast on this trip. I’d like to visit the countries we haven’t seen but I think travel to these countries would prove more enjoyable overland than by sea. Plus we are on a mission to get to New York by May.

The beginning of our fourth week… Life aboard our small floating home revolves around the cockpit, galley and saloon. The fore and aft cabins are not generally used, except to stow spinnakers, Sodastream pop maker, blankets, crushed empty tins and inorganic garbage which we will drop off at the next welcoming bin. Every few days I’ll tidy up – wash the few clothes we have worn to death, decide whether pillow cases and hand towels can last a little longer or they too get washed. I sweep the carpet, rotate eggs, sort through my spuds and onions and toss overboard anything oozing, stinking or generally betraying its freshness. On a whim and with my last bit of local currency I purchased a can of sandalwood air freshener at the supermarket in downtown St Helena. After three weeks at sea, in the tropics, with dampness, and odours of unknown origin including the lingering reminder of rotted cabbage (which jumped ship well over a week ago), I consider that to be a purchase with extreme foresight.

For the landlubbers who can’t conceive living at sea for such an extended period… If you could imagine living in one room of your house which has a constant lean between 15-25degrees, a narrow bed, an Esky, a multi use bucket, limited water supply, the heat control set at 30degC+, no internet, limited electricity and little interaction with the outside world. Add a pile of unwashed items in the corner, a dead cabbage, and six months supply of tempting foodstuffs then sit there for a month reading ebooks and you’d have a fairly good idea of life aboard on this trip. I forgot to mention that you’re surrounded by hundreds of miles of deep empty ocean. I also forgot to mention the sunsets, sunrises, dolphins, lazy sleeps, warm rain and contentment of this extraordinary lifestyle…

We’ve not watched any movies this trip as I’ve been on a mission to read as many books as possible to stave off utter boredom, but we do listen to a lot of music. My new iPod is positively bursting with an eclectic mix of songs from the past 60 years. Anything from Johnny Cash and Leonard Cohen to Lily Allen and Maroon 5. There are melodic gay tunes from the 40s and 50s that have me singing along such as “How much is that doggie in the window (woof woof)”. The tune transitions into the rock classic “Black Dog” by Led Zeppelin or perhaps the explicit “Gorilla” by Bruno Mars. Plenty of animal themed songs anyway to keep us entertained. Wayne wonders whether Patti Page is related to Jimmy Page, but without Google we will have to wait until landfall for the answer…

But we don’t have to wait long. We are making steady progress with good wind and current helping us along. With less than 1200nm to reach Martinique, the trip doesn’t seem so long after all…

About blueheelerhr39

Sailing the world aboard Blue Heeler
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