June 9 to June 11: Leaving behind land and discovering the blue ocean
As mentioned in our previous blog, the crew were split into separate watches and it took us a while for both of us to adjust to the watch system. Day 2 (June 9th) was a little bit easier for me as I was able to sleep for maybe 4 hours in total after my middle watch. Rob on the other hand had a rough night and was not able to get much sleep due to the boat motion and the heat in the cabin. The decision was also made at one point to turn the motor as we encountered very light winds. This of course added additional noise to the every moving boat. We ended up motoring for almost 8 hours before there was enough wind to start sailing again. This became the routine throughout the remainder of the trip with us trying to coach out as much wind out of the sails and then resorting to turning the motor on to keep moving forward. The main reason for this was that we were behind schedule leaving Key West two days late and we needed to get to Bermuda hopefully by the 15th to drop off some of the crew (basically us) and picking up additional crew in order for the boat to continue on to the Azores.
During Rob’s watch, he put out the fishing rod in the hopes of catching something and it was not until my watch during the day that we caught a small dorado/mahi mahi. Actually, Rob caught it while he was on deck visiting and was fortunate enough to see the line go. I guess it was a good thing Rob caught a fish as it was his crew’s turn to make dinner and they made a lovely ceviche, sushi rice and a nice bean salad.
Unfortunately, the skipper and I got sick later during the night following dinner and we both thought it was food poisoning or contaminated water but that would not have made sense since it was only two of us that got sick. We are still not sure what caused it that night.
By day 3 (June 10), everyone was getting into the routine of it all and everyone seem to be enjoying it and thoughts of turning this into a permanent lifestyle/work started to be discussed by some. Mind you though, the weather was beautiful with almost flat water and very little wind, so it is easy to say that you would want to do this for the rest of your life. As an example, the deck hand (Gavin) was in international development but he found that it involved more office work instead of getting out and meeting people. So when the opportunity came along he joined an eleven month Clipper Round the World Race, never being on a sailboat before and now he wants to do this as a career. Another example is that one of the crew members is doing this trip to figure out what they want to do with their future even though they just finished a degree.
Mid afternoon on day 3 brought us our first weather front/squall and the crew on watch quickly had to bring down the foresail and staysail and reduce the main sail by one reef. I’ll admit that I stayed below not wanting to see how bad it was. I’m still not used to big waves and still get nervous when we heel over too much with the boat but I’m glad we have people onboard that are experience to lead the way and slowly helping to build my confidence.
So far I’ve not seen much wildlife while Rob has seen dolphins, a whale, seabird and flying fish but by day 4 (June 11), I got to see dolphins swimming, seabirds, flying fish and a few mosquitoes. Yes mosquitoes and a few of us got bit!!! At one point during the night a seabird (I believe a tern of some sort) landed on the pulpit and for the whole day and night it hitched a ride with us. The bird must have been extremely tired if it never left the pulpit while we were raising and lower the staysail and letting out and bringing in the foresail.
My favourite watch is the morning watch as you get to experience the last bit of the night and then seeing the light change as the sun comes up over the horizon. Our watch also seem to get the good weather as most of our night watches were clear with either a partial or full moon. We also Venus (or known as Morning Star) as our guide while sailing each night as it appeared over the horizon a few hours before the sun came over the horizon.
Even though we have been on the boat for four days now, I found that we are all generally tired even though we do get to sleep as best as we can during our off-periods. The biggest thing I’ve missed so far is walking around on land. The only exercises we have been getting so far is waking up, go on watch, snooze, go on watch, make a meal, sleep, go on watch…I tried to fit in a few bench presses but seriously, the handle bars in the galley started to sag when I tried to do a few bench presses. Seriously, our boat is stronger compared to this steel boat! Oh well, I think sleep would do me better. ~Sophia & Rob