fredag 15. desember 2006


This is the tale from my first transatlantic crossing aboard my good friend Thomas' proud ship; SY Vision1. 

Thursday November 9th 2006
I got up Thursday morning at. 04.20 and went to the airport at Vigra.

"I'M HEADED FOR ADVENTURE!"....was my thought. I was half adazed going through check-in. Still slightly confused, I walked into the security check where I was guided into a stall for an inspection my luggage. A box with various wires, cables and chargers that had been seen as suspicious.

The flight to Gardermoen, Oslo went quickly and I managed to get a 10-week lotto coupon delivered before I had to run to the gate. Most of Europe was cloudcovered. The only thing I really saw was the Pyrenees, the coast of Spain and Portugal and in the distance I could make out the coast of Morocco of Afrika. 

There are many: "First times..." when Mr. Hjertø is going out on an adventure. I'll be the first to admit that I am not particularly well traveled. Let's start with theese:
The first time I am in Spain.
The first time I've been outside Europe.
The first time I've been sailing across an ocean.
The first time I have flown so far.
The first time I've seen the Pyrenees (from the plane)
The first time I have seen Africa (from the plane)
The first time.....I can not think of more;)

Gran Canaria:

Las Palmas:
I landed in Las Palmas on Gran Canaria Island, just before 15.00 hours. There where about  24'C nice and warm degrees there. I found a taxi after a while, and I managed to explain that I was going to "marina pequino barco......barco de vela" (small boat marina......sailing boat). I was let off on the breakwater outside the marina. There I stood with 30 kg of luggage (felt like 50kg) and looking for SY Vision among a thousand or maybe even more sailboats, without any ability to contact Thomas. I went to the fuel dock and asked a guy with a inflatable dinghy if he spoke English. He answered in Norwegian, and I realized that English was superfluous. I asked if he knew SY Vision and Thomas. "Yes", he knew Thomas, and it was actually Thomas' dinghy he were using. I put my luggage into the dinghy and was skipped across to the other side of the marina. I finally found Thomas in a chandlery, in tough negotiations with a spanjard about some anchor-chain. 
Later we went out to Vision, which were anchored outside the breakwater by the container docks. We stayed a few days in Las Palmas where I could meet all of the other Norwegian sailors. I got reaquainted to Raymond and Anne from SY Helmax, witch where to sail with us across the Atlantic to the Caribbean. I also met Brimer from San Francisco, who sailed with Thomas from Lanzarote. 
While in Las Palmas, I bought myself a nice camera with wich I could capture moments of our adventure. I have also bought a mask, snorkel and fins, wich I will put to good use in Arguinegustin. (we got this townname so wrong so many times, that we ended up calling the place Gilly-gilly. It's proper name is Arguineguin). 

We let the anchor go, just outside the shore of the Anfi del Mar in Arguineguin. Anfi del Mar is a huge, grand timeshare complex that is built by the Norwegian entrepreneur Bjørn Lyng, and have Gr. Canaria's finest beaches with tan, almost white sand imported from the Caribbean. We enjoy to lie at anchor, I went snorkeling over to Helmax, then to the beach before I swam back to Helmax. Well aboard, Raymond and Anne offered me an ice-cold Coke and Raymond drove me back to Vision in his dinghy. After the swim I was completely exhausted. I had not been swimming in the sea for several years, and snorkeling I had only tried once before, about 8 to 10 years ago in a small shallow lake. Take all of this, add a little nervousness and it equals hyperventilation all the way, so no wonder I was exhausted. 
The day after Thomas and I, had a walk up the Tauro Valley to visit his cousin and then to the town of Puerto Rico. Later we moved the boat across the bay to the town of Arguineguin and anchored outside the harbor there, while we went by bus to San Fernando to buy provisions. We filled two shopping carts with food and drink, then we hailed a cab and filled the trunk with all the groceries we needed for the trip across the Atlantic. Later we took all the food over to Vision with the dinghy. It was a real hassle to find room for all the groceries, but we managed to get it done. 
A while later I went into land to pick up three friends of mine. Erling, Leif Arne and Kjell Arne from my homevillage of Moldtustranda was on vacation in Playa del Ingles and joined us for the voyage from Arguineguin to Puerto de Mogan. With almost no breeze at all, we unfortunately had to motor all the way. 

Puerto de Mogan:
We arrived in Puerto de Mogan around 21.00 hours. After having docked outside the harbor office, we went to find a restaurant by the harbor. Our three guests went back to Playa del Ingles after we had a better dinner together. Helmax arrived at 22.00 hours. 
We were assigned a space at the floatingdocks on the inside of the breakwater the next day, and Helmax were docked only two spaces awayfrom us. Puerto de Mogan wich is a beautiful little town, with three small canals and a river. Localy it is called "Little Venice". The place used to be a small fishing village with houses built in clusters up the mountain side, and with stairs instead of streets. There was an extensive building project in the 60's, were they built up a new flat "district" with canals by the sea and a beautiful beach. On the new land there where built up a series of two-storey houses with small shops and restaurants on the ground floor and tourist apartments on the second floor. The harbor office is easyli spotted, as it is the tallest building, with its four floors. This new area is built around the marina, and have helped to increase the charm of the little town.

At the marina, there were also three other Norwegian yachts, these were SY Pauline was from Bergen, and SY Hebe from Måløy. And finally, there was SY Bris III from Tønsberg. The owner of Bris III who had started out on a Eastercruise to Sweden, had just been retired. With this newfound freedom he no longer saw any reason in returning home to Norway too soon, and as such had wound up way south of his intended destination. This is inspirational for anyone with a sailboat! 
Thomas whent up to the Tauro Valley to visit Thomas' cousin, Geir Notøy, while I went about town. The next day we found a restaurant by the beach where we had dinner with Anne and Raymond from SY Helmax, and Geir Notøy, Tor Martin Kvalsund, his children Anne, Martine and Peter. Later that evening, Geir took us by car almost up to Las Palmas where there were many large shopping centers. 
We went to a giant grocerystore to buy all the provisions we had forgotten, or were short of. The one store was huge, the size of your average shoppingcentre. I spent 15 minutes looking around to refind Thomas and Geir after I lost them while looking for some canned food .... 15 minutes.......At a grocery store!!!!

We owe Geir a big thank you, for driving us all the way so we could get some more shopping done (1 full cart for each boat). On the last day I went for a trip with a yellow submarine which was at the end of the pier, it was a great experience where we at 20 metres depth cruised past a sunken trawler and various debris a couple of metres away. I also saw schools of small fish and the finishing touch was a great barracuda swam past at 3-4 meters distance. 
We were in Puerto de Mogan in three days, while we made ready to go on our oceanvoyage across the Atlantic. We cast off at 20.00 hours.

Across the Atlantic with SY Vision1. 

Thought I'd write down some of the things that happens en route.
By Trond Hjertø 

Day 1 
We left Puerto de Mogan Thursday, November 16, at eight o'clock in the evening.
We motor sailed about 1 hour before we got good wind from the north-east, which gave us an average speed of about 6,5-7 knots, and often a top speed of 9 knots. We had a wave height of about 4 meters.
The first day went smoothly, we had about the same windspeed as the previous evening, but it turned toward the west later in the day.
On my watch I saw some fishing boats and larger ships, Thomas saw 4 large ships on the first night. Since then we have not seen vessels of any kind.
The watches are ok, and I feel safe on board. I saw an aviation patrol at low altitude over the sy Helmax, about 100-150 meters, I believe it was the Spanish navy, which saw us off from Gran Canaria.

Day 2 
I was on watch from 21-24:00.
Since we traveled from country kl.20: 00 in the evening, begins new day kl.20: 00
Not much happened during my watch in the night. Auto-pilot fell out a couple times (go without notice to the Stand-By).
The stars seem so much clearer here in the sea than they do from land. Here you can see not only stars, but also the stars behind the stars and the phrase "starlit" gets a whole new meaning.
I saw computer screen float past today.

Day 3
Tonight I was on watch from kl.00-03: 00
Yesterday I wrote a bit about the stars, I will continue,
but this time it's "Sea stars".
"Sea star" is Morild(Norw. name), a planktonspecies who have something called "bioluminecens" or chemical light that flashes when it is touched. I see Morild in the waves that break in the wake, and even in the toilet bowl when I'm on the toilet at night.
Have seen some birds in recent days, they are two different varieties. One is a "gull" kind of bird,
the other is smaller and resembles a swallow. Have heard about "storm swallow" before, maybe that's what this bird is. They are practically dancing across the wave tops and down into the wave valleys millimeters above the water, it looks like it's really fun.
Today we had our second "Dorado" altso called "Dolphin" or as the tasty fish is called in Norwegian, "Gold Mackerel" . It is gold colored with blue dorsal fin. The very brilliant colors, fading fast and in just 30 seconds, the fish is far more dull in color. It has very small guts in relation to size, and is probably like me, built for speed! 

Day 4 
My watch was from 03-06:00.
Our watch arrangements is perhaps a little unusual, but it works.
It works as follows: We are two boats sy Vision and sy Helmax, we are 2 people in each boat. Me and Thomas on board sy Vision, and Anne and Raymond on board sy Helmax. We are divided into 4 watches, 3-hour one-man shifts. So when I'm on watch, Thomas here aboard the sy Vision is sleeping, and altso Anne and Raymond aboard Helmax (they sleep as well, I hope). It gets dark around.19: 00, the first watch starts at 21: 00 hours, and the last watch ends at 09:00. We do not run watchduty during the day, whoever is on deck has the watch.
Bathingday! We lost the wind in the morning, and motored over towards Helmax. Then we jumped into the water and swam the 40-50 meters up to Helmax, where we were invited for some ice-cold Coca cola and Freia milk chocolate(Worlds best!). It was a strange feeling to swim in 4600 meters deep waters, or over 4.6 km above the sea floor, talk about being out of depth. The temperature was 28 degrees in the air and 26.5 degrees in the water. ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT!
We saw a sailboat to the east today as well. We called over the VHF, it appeared that the boat was Dutch and called Stamper, on its way to the Cape Verde islands.

Day 5
Dead calm from kl.21-05: 00
We had all sail furled up because they were beating on the rigging, due to the boat rolling. We were rolling severly. A sailboat gets is a lot of stability from the sails, even if there is no wind they will dampen the roll. We have 104 square meters of sail and it dampens significantly. In the morning we got wind from the NW, and we were closehauled towards the west the whole morning.
I saw a plane high up in the morning, it was just a tiny dot with 4 fat contrails
after it, where it flew across the sky to the NW. By the way, we have a completely blue sky today, boiling hot and delicious. 
Thomas baked a bread today.
We also had dolphins on a visit, they came from Helmax that was ahead of us and told us that they were on their way. I just got a usable picture before they disappeared in the east.
We had a swim again, but this time with a harness on and we were dragged by the boat in 4-5 knots.
We altso got to see dolphins two times this day, the one time I was lying in the water, while we sailed slowly at 1.2 knots, I was towed behind in my harness and 8 feet of rope. I had my mask, snorkel and fins. When Helmax reported that dolphins were on the way, Thomas jumped into the water as well. He tied the Gennakerline around his waist, and while we were both in the water the speed increased to 3.4 knots. Then we saw the first dolphins jump high out of the sea, just 30 meters away from us, we began to look around ourselves down in the water. Suddenly I spot them 15 meters down in the deep-blue sea, as they are like shot straight up towards us, then only 4-5 meters away from us, they dart off in different directions and disappear. It is the most spectacular things I have ever experienced!
I must also tell you about our new travelcompanion. He does not live in or on the boat, but under. Our new friend has zebra stripes, is about 2 inches long, he likes it best around the propeller and rudder. He presented himself not by name, but he came right over to the mask, looked me in the eyes, greeted nicely and scurried back to the propeller. We call him, of course, Nemo, something every little fish astray should be called.
The day has been full of nice surprises and adventures.

Day 6 
I was on watch from 21-24:00.
Was really tired on duty this evening. The watch went as follows: Standing on my legs, have a good look around. Sat down on the cocpitbench, closed my eyes and pretended I was asleep for 5-10 minutes before I got up again

, stand on my feet and have a good look around. Repeat X number of times and the result is a looong watch, even a meer 3 hours long one.
We have had a quiet day, nice breeze and a slight overcast. Have probably, finally found the tradewinds.
I have mostly stayed below deck today, since I got a little sunburned on my shoulders yesterday. Have begun to read "Around the World in Ho-Ho", which is Norway's first circumnavigation with a "pleasure craft" as it was called back then (1934-38). It has otherwise been very little happening today, we haven't even made dinner.
We sailed around 5-6 hours with the Gennaker today, and only took the it down as darkness fell.

Day 7 
My watch was from 00-03:00.
The night's little drama. It must be said that I was supposed go on duty at midnight, but if truth be told, I did wake up until the clock had gone beyond at half past twelve. Everyone who knows me, knows that I sleep very deeply. Thomas always wakes up of the VHF, and usually goes forward to wake me up. Well, not so this time. Anne was about to go on watch at 21:00 hours, and had a little chat on the VHF with Thomas, Thomas had said he needed to go on deck to check something. Anne did not hear more from Thomas that night. Of course, Anne became very concerned. And it did not improve the situation when the autopilot awhile later disengaged itself, with the result that turned the boat adrift towards the north. W

ith the genoa backed, we continued the journey north in just over 4 knots during our sleep. Both Thomas and I was sleeping well, and Anne became more and more worried as the distance between the boats was increasing. When I wake up and realize that I am late on duty, I go straight to the VHF, calls for Helmax and ask if they have tried to call on us? "If we have tried to call on you!?" Raymond almost yells the words, "We have called on you for 3 hours straight!". Then he told me that Anne had begun to fear that Thomas had fallen overboard, and that we were almost 3.5 nm away. I got up on deck and saw the genoa lying backed up between the forestay and the mast. I got our ship back on course again and both Raymond and I sat up until we had come within at a distance of 1.5 nm. Later in the day had we found the reason they had not been able to reach us. When Thomas spoke with Anne, he had turned down the volume on the VHF (something we often do when we speak, because there is a lot of noise, and to turn it up again afterwards), since he did not call on Anne again afterwards (had been dead tired, went to lie down and fell asleep instantly), the volume remained turned down, and for that reason neither of us

 woke up.
The day would otherwise have been quiet, we have seen flyfish for the first time, in large quantities. It's pretty incredible to watch, especially when you have the sun in the back, then they darts like small silver arrows above the waves. Not only do they glide far(up to 150 meters), but they can also turn, so much that the first time I saw them, I immediately thourght that it was small birds.
We got another dorado (dolphin) to today, the third so far on the trip. It was a less sizeable eatingexorsize than the 2 first, since it only weighed about 3 kilos. Thomas cut the fish in to filets (as he always does), so we ended up with some of the fish cut into dices, in addition to 2 nice fillets. The diced ones I put in a casserole with "Lofoten fiskesuppe" fish soup. While I fried the remaining fillets in the same frying pan which we fried egg and bacon with in the morning, and was duly peppered. It tasted superb. (perfect, beautiful!)

Day 8 
I was on watch from 03-06:00.
Got up this time, and am 

now sitting on watch. Time is now almost six o'clock, and I'm about to go off duty. Raymond on Helmax will take the next watch, then it is daytime. Has been a nice watch with 25 degrees, high winds, speed is of 5-6 knots. Today we have had fair weather, with appropriate mix of clouds and sunshine. We have also had visits by four large snow-white birds, looks like an egret, who flew around the boat an 8-10 times before it disappeared. They came very close, especially when we whistled. At its closest, they were only 4-5 meters from me, where I was standing behind the "pushpiten" to try to take pictures.
We altso got 2 Dorades today, which brings the number up in 5,

 of this magnificent fish so far on our journey. These were duly roasted with a little bacon for extra flavor, and a lot of onions and peppers, served with boiled potatoes. Fish for dinner 2 days in a row, and no complaints.

Day 9 
Guard from 06-09:00.
Helmax disappeared out of visual contact during my watch in the morning, I got a little worried so I turned on the radar, and found them in the direction I had seen them last, but much farther away. The radar showed that it was 3.5 nm away from us. Since this is an "uncomfortable" distance, I called them on VHF. It turned out that the genoa had wrapped itself around the forestay, and the boat had therefore lost speed. The genoaen was reset, and the boats were put on a intercepting courses. So within half an hour had passed, we lay in a more "comfortable" distance.
At seven o'clock last night, Helmax' spinnaker fell into the sea, with the result that the halyard was left hanging at the masthead. It had begun to get darker, so the halyard to just had to be left hanging until the next day.
So this morning Thomas jumped out in the Atlantic, swam over to Helmax to help hoist Raymond up the mast. At the top of the mast Raymond got hold of the halyard. He must have liked the view, because he gave clear expression of irritation at not having taken the camera with him. While this was going on, I had taken a temporary command of Vision, and sailed along with Helmax. Helmax went by engine with wind and waves from the stern to reduce the waves effect on the 18 meter high mast. After the work well done, we heaved too. Thomas, Raymond and Anne had a beer and enjoying themselves in the sun for half an hour, before Thomas holding a cannister with a loaf of bread and some rolls as payment, came back and took command of Vision. Thomas made dinner today, and it was in the best Thomas-style pasta. Raymond thought I was in a good negotiating position while Thomas was on board the Helmax, but I found it best not to utilize it. To trade a happy ship towards less pasta, would be a poor trade.
Thomas later threw the hook and line in the water. A little later we set the gennaker, and soon we're cruising  away with an average speed of 7.8 knots in the 25 knots of wind. Then there is jerk on the fishing rod and the line races out in a tremendous speed, Thomas tightens the brake when it began to get a little line again, calling up Raymond on vhf to tell that he has a biiig fish to bring up. The line still shoots out, He tightens the brake particularly good. Then, a sharp bang, and the fishing rod is halved, and the fish? (shark?) 
Away, says Thomas and curses into the VHF. Raymond the other end trying to stop the tirade, and says he have never heard Thomas swearing so much at one time, I have to agree. Later that day, three times, I think, we cross the 20' degrees latitude, and begins on the 19` end. A small milestone. Around six o'clock we take down the gennaker, and is sailing at 3.4 knots on a naked rig, while we wait for Helmax. They are far behind, and have been sailing with the genoa and mainsail.

Day 10 
Watch from 21-24:00.
I was told before I left, I had to take a lot of books, then the days would not be long during the voyage. It has not held true. I have been bored once, it was over in 20 seconds, and when it comes to books I've read half a book and some trip reports from other boats. I can not sit with my head buried in a book, for here's something happening all the time. Have otherwise had a quiet day, where both we and the genaker have been resting. But it remains to be seen, there are still 4 hours of the day, and much can happen.
I've just come down from the mast, the working light to the foredeck had loosened and had to be fixed in place again. I put on a harness and a 3 hook safety line. With a hook in the harness, and 2 which I alternately attached to the steps, I climbed up the mast. I got the worklight attached and climbed on to the spreader, where I was standing for half an hour enjoying the beautiful view. One can see so much more when one is 6-7 meters up from sea level, than from the cockpit, which barely puts your feet above sea level. From the spreader I could see the waves coming from a distance, they are 70-100 meters between them, and they are about 3-4 meters high. Waves coming across the starboard, while the smaller the waves come in stern, these are only 2 meters, but moves the stern in an lying down figure8.

Day 11 
Watch from 00-03:00.
Had a quiet watch, where even the autopilot have behaved well. I called up Raymond, he gave our course and average speed for the last hour, and I told him that the wind had picked up somewhat. I also asked him to keep a good eye on us, since the autopilot had not yet disengaged itself, something it usually does 1 to 2 times during an average watch. After this I headed for the bed. Well arranged in the bunk, I found the book about Ho-ho(Norways first pleasurecraft cicumnavigation) whitch I read. After a while I felt that the boat's movements were changed, and in almost the same moment a swift bang, as the genoa backed. I got my feet, and in 3-4 steps I flew through the salon. Then up the stairs as I am I cried to a sleepy Thomas; "autopilot ... I'll take it!" I rushed up through the companionway, kicked and tripped over the washboard, jumped up on the cockpitbench, grabbed the wheel and turned the boat toward west again. The autopilot was set and I got my whits about me. 
Then I felt something on the foot. I took the big toe and had something wet on my fingers. The first thought was that I had stepped in something like jam or jelly on deck. But when I got some light, I saw that it was blood. I looked on my toes, and yes there was a loose skin rag and plenty of blood. Thomas gave me something to bandage the toe with, then it was up and wash the cockpit. Meanwhile stood Thomas and laughed maliciously, and congratulated me with my first sailortoe. 
The clock was 04:00, I stood in the dark and was difficult to see the humorous side of the situation.

In the morning Thomas told me that this happened often with him, it didn't help!
Had a quiet day, has sailed with mainsail and genoa all day, and reefed in a bit tonight.

Day 12 
Watch from 03-06:00.
Had a quiet watch this night to. Stayed up to watch the sunrise, I did not go to bed afterwards. Was somewhat sluggish throughout the day. Thomas went to sleep a couple of hours in the morning, so I was sitting up since Helmax was far away. Later in the afternoon I sat reading the book "First command" by Patrick O `Brian. 
I was in the middle of the first battle, when I told Thomas that I want to go and lie down for a while, whereupon I five minutes later find him laying sleeping on the bench in the lounge. :( I cooked dinner at six o'clock, it was boiled potatoes and joikacakes(Reindeermeat).  After dinner, Thomas told me that the rule on board is: 
If one want some time to sleep, you have to take some time to sleep ! At eight o'clock in the evening I took my sleep.

Otherwise, it was yet another nice day with good breeze, and I have taken some nice photos of both sunrise and sunset. Have taken close to 400 pictures so far on the trip. Think I have about 800-1000 pictures before I leave the Caribbean.

Day 13
Watch from 06-09:00.
That is to say, I went on watch at 05:00 hours because the autopilot had disconnected itself, and stayed because we had several squalls around us. There were a few anxious hours, with many windchanges. At one point the wind turned 360 degrees in a short timeframe, and the boats were lying still since we have not had chance to ease, tighten, jib or turn in such a short timeperiod. Raymond witch was 1 nm further north, finally started the engine and motored ahead at about 3 - 4 knots. Later we found steady winds and sailed on, with a port broadreach. Something we have done well into day 14.
Raymond and Anne who had handsteered all night, went to lay down around 07:00, and since everyone was asleep, I was sitting on watch until they woke up at 12:00.
The day has been warm and nice, with lots of good wind. We put up the gennaker between 14:00 and 15:00 hours, and have kept an average speed of just over 7 knots.

Day 14 
Guard from 21-24:00.
The time is 22:15, the wind has been significantly deminished, and the pace has fallen by 2-3 knots.
We begin to perceive the outlines of a Squall that is being born. Kl. 23:05: it was 2 seconds; we sailed in 4 knotswith the wind on the port side and bang, in the 2 tiny seconds the wind turned 180 degrees and backed the genoa. I got slack starboard sheet and taken into port sheet. After a while we were back at 4 knots, now with the wind on the starboard side. We were pretty lucky, with winds that were no stronger than a strong breeze F4, and only 10-15 minutes of rain. But then we had to start the engine, go for a while before we got a steady wind and be able to continue our journey to the west. I took my sleep at around 13-14:00 hours.
We were called on the VHF,  Raymond had a message from Rachel that she wanted to speak with Thomas and that she would call again at 20:00. There was only one thing to do, on with the fins, mask, snorkel and a thin rope between the waterproof container and Thomas. We sailed us up towards Helmax and at 19:30 Thomas jumped into the water and swam the 3-4 boatlengths to the Helmax. What does one do not for the love ... .. or apartments of witch this call applied. I had insisted that Thomas took a waterproof strobelight I gave him. 
Within the time Thomas and Rachel had finished the the sun had gone down and darkness had come over our location in the midatlantic. I had taken a large fender and tie it on the end of an 8 meter long rope and threw it into the water. Helmax came in behind the Vision from the port, a few meters from the fender. Thomas jumped into the sea, but before he even got started swimming, the fender was 4-5 meters away. It was now dark and I was glad I had sent the strobelight with Thomas. Thomas who swam all he could, was still unable to reach the fender. I put the motor in reverse and began to stop our winddrift, then I called to Thomas that he could try again. This time he took the gap and when he got hold of the rope, he was not alone in breathing a sigh of relief, I can promise that.
Then we had only to unfurl the genoa and continue our voyage.

Day 15 
Guard from 00-03:00.
Had a good watch. We had a Squall, but it was all for the most part over when I went on watch. We have had good wind, but we had a wind shift as I was to go off watch. I jibbed the genoa and continued the same course.
We lost our wonderful homemade bait today. Thomas had spent much time creating a bait yesterday. Using remains of a pair of rubber gloves, some material from "The Millers ryebread", put together with some sailmaker twine, 2 hooks and 1 leadweight. It all looked like something a crow had pulled out the garbage bag. But it worked, for it must have is a great big fish that tore our expensive fishingline. 
It is the first day of Advent, which we celebrated with a "Milka Choco-Swing" chocolatebar. We had unfortunately run out of "A little piece of Norway"! Should have brought a whole box of the best milkchockolate in the world: "Freia Melkesjokolade".
Have had otherwise a nice day. I was reading more of P. O'brian's book "Master and Commander" today, when I came across this phrase:
"A journey whose endpoints were out of sight - a journey that was itself enough". It descibes well the way it feels to sail across the Atlantic, no sense of time pressure or rush, no sense of having to be somewhere. I do not even know what day it is today, and I do not care about me to know that either. What I know is that it is day 14, almost 15 and that my next watch is from kl.00-03: 00, that's all I need to know.
A sailors voyage that is itself enough - merely to be going along!

Day 16
Guard from 03-06:00.
Finally a worryfree watch. Stars, clear sky with the new-moon - almost full, as it mirrors in the sea just ahead due west. Finished the book last night, has begun on the next volume "Post Captain".
Thomas has baked bread today, there were two fine "Danish rye breads".
We have had a gray day with good wind, and the largest waves on the crossing. We altso noted the record for distance sailed through the 24 hours, with a steady breeze of 8-10 up to 12 m/s, we ended up with to sail 147 nm from kl.20 :00 - 20: 00, giving us an average speed of 6.1 knots.
We got one wave that was able to work its way up on the cabin roof, down through the hatch and into the lounge. We have been drying benchcushions and sticky tablecloths. I even had a shower in through the portlight when I was sitting on the toilet. I'll promise you that the portlight was shut with a bang. Meanwhile, Thomas was asleep on the bench in the salon, and I heard the ruckus that followed when he woke with half a wave in his lap. What noise! 
For dinner I made pancakes!

Day 17
Watch from 06-09:00.
Had a quiet watch. At 11.00 I made an omelet with bacon for breakfast and Thomas made a very successful "Brennsnut" a Norwegian speciality which means "burnt snout". 
We have had some sun and it was good. Both I and Thomas has spent most of the day to read Patrick O `Brian's books about Captain Aubrey and Dr. Maturin. Books Thomas and I can confidently and absolutely recommend.

Day 18 
Watch from 21-24:00.
Yet another quiet watch. We had a fantastic sunrise in the daytime, with a rich color spectrum, it was a great experience. I saw a flock of dolphins as well, it must have the pod of 15-20 animals that made a curve around the boat. But when I came with the camera they cut and run, I did not think the dolphins were camerashy.
Later in the afternoon, we furled in the genoa. then went for a swim with some rope and securing line from the boat, which were going about 4 knots just by the rigging in the 2-3 meter high waves. It was wonderful to cool down in the sea, but it was also good exercise. When the boat was going up a wave, we stopped in the water when the boat went down, we were rushed along at 5-6 knots. 
That evening we sat down to see the movie "Master & Commander", which is based on books I talked about yesterday.

Day 19
Watch from 00-03:00.
We set a new record in the distance sailed today, with 153.0 nm giving an average speed of 6.38 knots. This is sailing with the genoa set with the spinnakerboom. Otherwise, there has been very little happening today.
We talk with Raymond and Anne on vhf'en. A little small talk, a little sillyness and some nonsense. And of course that we the boat that is always ahead tease the ones who comes behind. Sometimes Thomas get a little impatient and start talking about setting some more canvas, and every now and then he gets his way.
We have waves from two different directions, making the sea and life aboard uneasy. The fact that we generally sail with the wind from behind, means that we do not have as much support in the sails, so there is some rocking about. Sometimes we get a bigger wave in at an angle which shoves the boat a 30-40 degrees to one side.

Day 20
Watch from 04-07:00.
As you may see, we have moved the watches forward an hour. The reason for this is that as we cruise to the west it gets dark later and daylight later. We look at our position on the chartplotter that our voyage will soon be at an end. The Caribbean islands grow closer by the hour. We have been lucky with the wind the last few days and have had high average speed, we have sailed over 6 knots  mostly of the time. We have also had some time to swim while we been waiting for Helmax

Day 21
Watch from 07 - 10:00.
At the end of my watch, it was time for baking. So today we had freshly baked bread for breakfast (read lunch). The first of two bread was gone before one o'clock.
We have had a fine passage, and we expect to arrive in Fort de France tomorrow afternoon. We will be in Martinique until December 16.

Day 22
Watch from 22-01:00.
I have my last watched miles of the Atlantic crossing now. I will call up Raymond and wish him a good last watch, then I go to bed. 

I awoke a little before elleven o'clock and just caught the sunrise. In the past twelve hours I have seen a setting and two uppings, it is pretty simple:
One sunset and one sunrise and in between these I saw a moonrise. A fantastic moonrise I must add. The moon began its dance on the sky around kl.23, about an hour after sunset. It was glowing red when it came into view under a cloud, but faded a bit as it rose. When the cloud came in front of the moon, it had taken on a more pink hue, before it turned over to the more familiar yellow and later white glow.

A little before twelve o'clock, I climb up to the first spreader and begin to scout for land. I can make out some vague contours of the clouds over havflata. Then I see land!
Anne and Raymond sings a birthday song for me over VHF'en and Thomas takes my hand and congratulates me with the day, I am 39 years old today!
Thomas fry up the last four eggs, and since there is a special day, he fryes a package bacon to each of us. 
We pass Roche to Diamond about two and a bit later we head towards a small bay on the south east of Martinique where we drop the hook for the first time in tree weeks. Were going swimming, with mask and fins and, splash out in the 27 degree hot the water. Here, at nine meters depth, I see almost no fish. So I swim out under the cliffs where I find rich life, with fish in all sorts of colors and toxic black sea urchins with long spikes are everywhere, you have to see where you are going, while snorkeling.
We've got ourselves an anchor dram and begin to think of shore leave. The sunset overtake us and before we come to the land it is dark. And land? Land is a tiny picturesque town with a small old church and a large open space at the beach. There is playing the carib music late into the night. We like Petite Anse de Arlet.

Day 22 and our Atlantic Crossing is now officially over and we begin our voyage between the islands of Karibhavet. We have had a fantastic discount sailing with many great experiences, a trip that can be recommended for the very warmest. A ride anyone can and should get along once in a lifetime.

"A journey whose endpoints were out of sight - a journey that was itself enough!"

The character "Stephen Maturin" in the book "Master & Commander" by Patrick O'Brian. 

Trond Hjertø

Ingen kommentarer:

Legg inn en kommentar

Hei, om du gir meg en kommentar eller en hilsen blir jeg glad.
Hi, if you give me a comment or just a greeting I would be happy.