Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Back on land - We made it !

Wow - land and beer sure are good to be around! Rob even flew down to join us in Florida as we arrived. After skirting along the Bahamas for several days, including getting close enough so we could hold a Kindle high in the air and get the Mpls newspaper on wireless, we landed at Riviera Beach, Florida at 7 in the morning after 37 days and nights at sea. Yes, we are still friends. More about the homecoming below; first a little more about our voyage back across the ocean. The one thing we could not do with our "at sea" blog postings was include photos or videos, so here you go -

After a good night's sleep we were even happier!
Here are some fun, short videos that show life at sea. Some are narrated and some are narrated by the noise of the wind...

We had the wonderful pleasure of being visited by a group of dolphins for about 30 minutes one afternoon:

We wrote about being becalmed. Here's what that looks like:

Here is a clip from one lovely afternoon where we were flying the spinnaker and making nice progress. When Pat ordered the spinnaker he asked Rob to design the colored panels. You will hear Natalie Cole's Christmas CD playing in the background:

Of course, not every day was that nice! On the worst days, it was all we could do to manage ourselves and the boat. On the not-quite-the-worst days, we could shoot some short clips. Here is Pat hand steering us through a 30 minute rain squall. It rained so hard that I grabbed the soap and took a deck shower - no video exists of that - you will be glad to know:

Sometimes the wind came from mostly behind us. That made for smoother sailing and a more comfortable ride. We often found flying fish on deck in the mornings. This clip ends with a look at one:

And, some days we sailed mostly into the wind. That made for lots of waves and noise...

Some days were flat-out beautiful:

A couple interesting facts - we went 37 days and nights without sleeping more than three hours at a stretch. We both are good nappers and will find staying awake all day at work a challenge! Our days really only lasted from 10 a.m. till 7 p.m.. Someone was almost always sleeping from 7 p.m. to 10 a.m. as we alternated watches. Our favorite time of day was 4 to 7 p.m. when we cooked dinner, listened to music, talked and shared our feelings (!), and watched the many gorgeous sunsets.

Since dinner was our favorite meal - and our only hot meal of the day - here are some dinner shots:

The white brick is tofu waiting to be cubed.

We baked bread in a muffin pan to reduce the cooking time.
Here we have Thai coconut rice with tofu and chickpeas ready to serve in our beloved dog bowls.
Cleanup was usually just one pan and our dog bowls. Here they are set out to dry overnight.
Speaking of night, going out on deck was not a big deal, but going out on deck at night was always a little more tense. Here is Pat out clearing a fouled line under the glow of the overhead deck light.

 We tried to avoid rain squalls and their usual high winds but they moved at 30 mph and we could only go about 5 mph... Later in the trip when the boat was entirely salt encrusted we did look forward to a good rinsing rain.

Yup, that is rain up ahead!

We only saw ships in the early and late part of our trip. They usually avoided us but we did have a couple closer than we would like calls, including a cruise ship we had to motor around!

We are really glad we didn't hit this guy.

Even the best of friends run out of things to talk about after a month together.

Here is the information center in the back of the cockpit. The bottom screen is the gps and radar. The top left is the autopilot, next is the depth and speed, the round one is the remote control for the radio/stereo, and the upper right is the wind speed and angle meter.
Now, back to our arrival - after a night of cold, windy, rainy sailing we arrived in Riviera Beach, Florida. We were met by Rob, Mary, and Peggy with a silver banner and hot coffee! We unloaded the boat and did some other chores and then had a great seafood dinner with other members of Pat and Rob's family. The next day we had the boat lifted out of the water and later it will be shipped on a flatbed truck back to Minnesota.

The three sailors would like to thank each and every one of you who followed our trip and shared your thoughts, messages and energy. We loved the comments we got, the visits to the boat, and the help you gave us and our spouses back home. We owe a world of thanks to Michele, Mary and Peggy and will always be grateful for their support and forebearance...

Mother, mother ocean,
I have heard you call,

Wanted to sail upon your waters,
Since I was three feet tall.

Jimmy Buffet – A Pirate Looks At Forty

We hope that your dreams - and the dreams of others you help nurture - can all come true like ours did.

Rob, Pat, Tom

Friday, December 17, 2010

Welcome Them - The Sailors Are (Almost) Back

Remedios is sailing smartly toward the U.S. coast - expected to arrive under the (by now) expert sailing skills of Pat and Tom. They are expected to arrive in Riviera Beach, FL sometime Sunday morning.

Michele, Peggy, Rob and Mary invite all blog readers to send a message or post a comment to join us in welcoming them home. They have VERY much appreciated all the notes and support they received during the six months they've been gone. It truly made their trip extra special to know that so many family members, friends, and even people they don't know, cared so much that they have followed their Great Sailing Adventure.

Feel free to post a blog comment, or send an email to:

It will be fun to hear their personal stories about the 4+ weeks on the open ocean return trip. Check back to the blog for their reports. It certainly has been an adventure!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Really, We're Trying to Get Home!

We are 700 miles away from our arrival in Florida and had been making 120 miles per day. We knew that wouldn't hold for every day, yet we had some hope it could. We have been watching a big storm way to the north and it is getting bigger and starting to move.

The good news is that this gale is centered off North Carolina and moving east and a little north. The bad news, at least for us, is that the storm is so big we are catching the southern edge of it way down here. On the southern edge of a low the winds blow from west to east and that will be exactly on our nose. Bad for progress to Florida. This also won't change - this low pressure system is too big to just dissipate or get pushed aside by another system.

We expect the heaviest winds to hit us Monday and Tuesday and maybe part of Wednesday. We don't know how much progress we can make during these winds. They will only be 20 to 25 knots or so, no more than we have had several times this trip, but they will not be at our rear pushing us along, they will be in our face...

To get ready for weather like this we have moved our storm sails out on to the main deck from their storage locker below. We did a cabin review and made sure that anything that could be flying off a shelf or table has been tied down. I made some fresh bread this morning so we have some easy food in addition to our protein bars. We will put some of our extra diesel fuel that we have in a fuel storage locker into the main tank so if we have to run the engine to maneuver we won't run out in the middle of the night. Other than that it is just the old sailor stuff of "batten down the hatches and hold on!"

One thing to note is that if we were five days ahead of where we are now, we would be closer to the middle of this storm and it would be so bad up there that we would have to go into Freeport in the Bahamas and hole up for four or five days anyway! So, if we had made faster progress we would have been stopped by this storm anyway.

You can all be sure that we are doing our best to safely complete our sailing adventure. This Wednesday is the six month mark of our trip – we left Barker’s Island in Duluth/Superior port on June 15. Seems like a really long time ago. A really special, fun time - even with all the challenges.

For our Minnesota family and friends, we have great empathy for the incredible winter/snow/storm weather you’ve been experiencing. After all, we’ll be back soon to enjoy all of that with you!

Posted by Peggy, on behalf of Tom and Pat, aboard Remedios, Atlantic Ocean

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Life on the Ocean, After 3+ Weeks

Friday, Dec. 3, was a nice day of gentle winds, sunny skies and a couple oddities. We agreed that after Dec. 1 we could listen to one Christmas album each morning. So around 11 a.m. we put on Leon Redbone’s "Christmas Island" and got in the holiday mood.

I decided to bake some bread while the ride was smooth so I dumped some Italian seasoning into the flour and got my yeast mix going. I was kneading away on the galley counter and stopped to realize that I was baking bread, while listening to Frosty the Snowman, while wearing shorts and a tank top, while Pat was up steering with no shirt on, in the middle of the ocean, while it was 80 degrees and sunny, 1,500 miles from land. For two guys from Minnesota, this is a pretty odd run-up to Christmas! Maybe just listening to holiday music while wearing life jackets and harnesses is strange...

So last night for dinner we had Italian bread rolls, Dal Makhani with tofu and the Rat Pack Christmas CD for prep music. We just passed a time zone, so after dinner we have a couple hours together in the cockpit to listen to a couple shows from the Bob Dylan Theme Time Radio Hour as it gets dark. Last night the two shows we listened to were Hair and Food. The night before we listened to Water and Time - two subjects we have too much of at the moment. Bob talks for a few minutes in-between each song with some fun history about the song and/or the performer.

We get amazingly engaged when we see anything at all out here that isn't a wave. Last night we saw our third ship - it came within six miles of us before bearing away. Today Pat spotted a white thing bobbing in the water so we sailed a little closer and determined it was a buoy that had come loose from some fish or crab pot somewhere. I guess it doesn't take much to get us going.

Pat and I are worried that when we get home, once asleep we will jump out of bed after three hours and go sit on the front porch with a flashlight and binoculars for three hours, and then go back to bed. 35 days of never sleeping more than 3 hours at a time will be a hard habit to break. When this is over we can't decide if we will get an apartment together or never see each other again. We have resorted to topics like "Tell me about your first bicycle" to keep the conversation going!

A flying fish found its way into the dodger and behind some gear where made it stink like, well, a dead fish. BTW, a flying fish flopping under the dodger in the dark in the middle of the night is enough to scare big strong men.

And while we’re on smells, yesterday we found the source of an odd smell - a container of leaking gear oil and got all that cleaned up. This is too small of a micro-environment to have something stink. (That isn't one of us...)

We’ve certainly found it is possible to be deeply annoyed by the wind at both ends of the spectrum - too much and not enough, and then back again, in less than 24 hours. We can report that reading ceases to be fun at over 20 knots of wind speed.
Other random things to report:
You can actually do laundry while heeled over at 15 degrees in 20 knots of wind.

Our food got tossed off the upper shelf earlier today for the second time. First time, shame on the wind; second time, shame on us!

Pat has not had coffee for over 20 days. (And for those who know Pat, yes, that's true!) We each had our first piece of chocolate in 20 days two nights ago.

For those of you into garbage - we will hit Florida in a couple weeks with two small plastic grocery bags of garbage. We worked pretty hard at food packaging to make sure we didn't have a lot of trash to haul back. 90% of our garbage will be plastic packaging.

These are all among the many things we’re doing, and thinking about, as we focus on getting to Florida!!

Posted by Peggy, on behalf of Pat and Tom, aboard Remedios, Atlantic Ocean

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

It Really Is All About the Weather

With intermittent rain and wind squalls, winds 15 to 18 knots, we’ve have really been moving along in a good direction. Still the weather remains most challenging.

Tracking squalls is interesting. Most show up as black blobs on the radar which makes tracking and sometimes dodging them easier. It's the rain in the squall that shows up on radar. If it is just a wind squall, then the radar won't pick it up and the only warning is a sudden increase in the wind. And if it is a black watch, with no moon, then sometimes the only warning is that suddenly you can't see the stars anymore (big black cloud in the way....). Then it is time to grab a rain jacket and head back to the wheel to take over steering from the autopilot, if it gets too hairy.

Some nights there are no squalls, other times maybe one per hour. They are more prevalent at night due to a greater differential between the ocean temperature and the air temperature (Rob taught us that).

When squalls do hit, we are getting pretty good at “squall management.” Reef the sails, get ready, go through it, if it is 27 knots or less, and then run with it if the winds get to 30. They rarely last more than 20 minutes. Yet some do come up quite suddenly. I had one last night that didn't show up on the radar and then all of a sudden the winds went from 16 to 24 so I had to jump up, put on a rain jacket and get behind the wheel. Yet, it was over in 15 minutes. The day before we were hand steering through 30 knot winds and big, big rolling swells. That tends to focus your attention!

Thankfully, the weather changes. A lot, as you can tell! We’ve had a few great days now with lots of sun, medium winds and good progress. And - sorry - it’s been hot! We both went 10 days without ever putting on shoes - a new record.

We have passed the half way point in miles, days and psychologically. It is good to be in the home stretch!!!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

If You Don't Like the Weather...

One of the nice things about ocean voyaging these days is the vast amount of detailed weather information that is available by email and weather fax. We chose the word “detailed” carefully - we did not choose the word accurate. The ocean journey from the Canary Islands to Florida is often referred to by sailors as the ”milk run” because of its ease and predictability. Instead, what we got was a Milk Shake!

Not complaining here, but the day before yesterday we were sitting in our boat slowing spinning around in circles while becalmed, watching movies with popcorn and eating chick pea curry on rice for dinner while watching a beautiful sunset. In less than 24 hours we were watching waves sweep over the deck of our suddenly smaller boat while our stomachs churned in circles as we choked down a protein bar and the view was very much like a really bad movie in one of those motion theaters that were around 20 years ago.

It seems there was a low pressure system that was bigger than we thought, in a different place than we thought, moving faster than we thought with more wind than we thought, and containing more rain and thunder than we thought or wanted, really. At first we agreed it was kind of cool to have a good rain to clean all the salt off everything. Our grins faded quickly when the wind built to over 30 knots and coated the boat, and us, with salt spray and even insisted on sending waves down the deck at us just to remind us who the boss is out here.

We did shoot some nice video of Pat back at the wheel hand steering while sheets of rain obscured everything behind him. And in front of him for that matter. The worst of it lasted only (?) 12 hours. We spent a lot of that time weaving in and out of storm cells trying to dodge the biggest black spots on the radar.

It has been more than a week since we have seen a boat or ship out here. What do they know that we don't???

Posted by Peggy, on behalf of Tom and Pat, aboard Remedios, Atlantic Ocean

Monday, November 22, 2010

Killing time, but not the fish.

Boy are we going slow!  There is really minimal wind and we are only going at about one knot.  Think airport security line.  The only exception is when we are running the engine to charge up the batteries.  Normally, we don't engage the transmission when we charge the engine because then we use less fuel.  Now however, I put it in forward and we zip along at 6 knots because it is the only time we get any sense of progress toward home.  One consequence of this lack of wind is that for the first time on the whole trip, Tom and I watched a movie.  We fired up the computer and plugged in our iPod headphones and watched "The Hangover".  Total escapist guy flick.  We are ashamed at how much we enjoyed it.

I believe I have fully recovered from my trip up the mast yesterday, aside from an impressive collection of bruises on my legs and arms that will resolve over the next couple weeks.  We have heard of some of the increased security measures at the airports including more intimate searches and the fellow who protested, "Don't touch my junk!  Don't touch my junk!"  We assume T-shirts were available with that printed on them within 2 or 3 hours of the story hitting the media.  Anyway, while I was up at the top, swinging back and forth across the mast/stays/halyards, all I could think of was, "Don't crunch my junk! Don't crunch my junk!"  It was protecting myself that led to many of the bruises on my legs and arms.  Ironically, it is even too calm to use a spinnaker, so the replacing the broken spinnaker halyard block up there has been of no use to us yet.  The weather information we are getting from our ace weather guy, Robert, and the GRIB weather files we are downloading tells us that we have at least another day of this void in the wind.

Because we are drifting so slowly, fish are starting to gather around us.  We just saw three dorado, which are the same type of fish as the one we caught a couple of weeks ago.  They are quite beautiful, swimming slowly around the boat with the sun shining on their brilliant blue, green, and yellow bodies and fins.  We are not fishing for them though because we don't need the food and we can't stand killing the fish when we catch them.  Our attitude will change, though, if this drift lasts too much longer and we end up needing the nutrition!  No sharks...yet.  That is sure to disappoint my grandsons.

Speaking of nutrition, it is about time for me to start cooking dinner.  Tonight it is Red Kidney Bean Curry with Tofu and Couscous.  Between confessing to not wanting to kill pretty fish and that dinner menu it makes Tom and me sound just precious, doesn't it?

(Email from Pat to family. Posted by Christa)

Saturday, November 20, 2010


The one thing that we really never thought would happen has happened. It is 3 p.m. on Sat., Nov 20, and we are becalmed at 22 degrees N and 32 degrees W.

Did you ever read those old sailing stories about sailors going crazy when they are becalmed? The boat rocks back and forth. Items in the cupboards roll back and forth. The sun through the windows moves back and forth across the walls. The woodwork creaks and groans. Time crawls. The scenery outside doesn't change.

We are alone. There is no breeze to carry away the scent of madness and despair. I absent-mindedly keep flicking my switchblade sailing knife open and shut. Pat has his darkest sunglasses on - completely obscuring his eyes. I know he is staring at me as I type these words that no one will ever see if we succumb to our rapidly decaying thoughts and primal urges.

There is only one way out…

Pat does what he usually does in situations like this. He comes up with a task or chore for us to do! :-)

The other day when we were flying the spinnaker and the winds hit 20 knots, we thought something at the top of the mast broke - we found the sail hard to pull down. We were not sure what might be wrong and couldn't see well enough even with the binoculars to figure out what it was. Pat's best guess was a damaged block at the top where the spinnaker halyard goes through.

So the repair plan was to hoist someone aloft with some tools and a spare block to fix it. At the top of the mast. In the middle of the ocean. With the boat rocking and the top of the mast swinging through an arc of 20 feet. Pat really does relish doing things the hard way so of course we decided to hoist the heaviest guy up there - Pat. And, even though I would end up being the guy doing the hoisting, I thought it was a great plan!

So, I cranked him up (after making him go pee first) and the repair was made in about 15 minutes. When the swinging was at its worst, he hugged the top of the mast harder than he hugs his wife, Michele.

So, what is it like at the top of the mast on a rocking sailboat in the middle of the ocean? Well, Pat is asleep right now trying to recover so he can't tell you. I will just report that when he finally finished with the repair and his stomach let go, he managed to get one urp out at the end of a swing so it went in the ocean off to port, and the next one went in the ocean off to starboard.

Now remember, Pat was basically the end of an upside down pendulum and we all know that a pendulum crosses the middle of its arc twice as many times as it hits either end of the arc, so it was fitting that the third and final urp hit the deck. But, it was nothing that a couple buckets of water couldn't fix, and we certainly have enough of that around us. Dr. Courneya, after a proper inspection of the deck spew, also made a vow to chew his breakfast better starting tomorrow.

So, we will sit here with no sails for a bit until some wind comes up and then we will resume our westward trek. Why not just turn on the engine? Well, we have to save our fuel to run the engine an hour a day to recharge the batteries and also save fuel for a real emergency - not just to get us out of a boring day with no wind.

Very few sailors ever get to cross an ocean. We’re betting an awfully small percentage of those ever go to the top of a 60-foot mast to perform repairs in the middle of the ocean. You heard it here first!

Posted by Peggy, on behalf of Tom and Pat, aboard Remedios, Atlantic Ocean

Friday, November 19, 2010

Update Special - Reports from Two Sailing Days

Here's the latest from our sailors!

Thursday’s Report

We decided to get ambitious today after several days of lazing around reading and sleeping. (Which we still did today anyway.)

This morning we jibed to the SW as part of our tacking through the band of trade winds. We have been zig-zagging between 23 and 24 degrees north. We had light winds so we rolled up the jib and hoisted the colorful spinnaker. Then, time for food!

I went below deck and took out the ingredients for bread and got to work. Yeast, warm water - before you know it, a gooey mess on the counter that I could knead. It rose very well in the warm cabin. After an hour I popped the bread in the oven. I must tell you, baking bread in the middle of the ocean while flying a spinnaker is not for the faint of heart.

When the wind hit 20 knots the spinnaker had to come down. We stowed it and went back to using the jib.

The bread was done by then so I went below again and got out the eggs we bought in the Canaries. Do you know that if you buy eggs that have never been refrigerated they will keep for more than a month if you turn the carton over every two days? We learned that in our trip planning. So, fresh bread and eggs meant we had FRENCH TOAST with honey on it for a late lunch today. How civilized! How land-like! If only we had powdered sugar. They were great.

Afternoon time for Pat and I was reading and more short naps - remember we only get three hours of sleep at a time during the night. We each get two watches of three hours so a nap during the day makes it all OK. We may switch watches with Pat going from 7 to 10, Tom from 10 to 1, Pat from 1 to 4, and Tom from 4 to 7.

We are making good progress - today at noon we were 2,791 nautical miles from Port Saint Lucie, FL which means we got about 120 miles closer than yesterday. We also changed our clocks back two hours which means this is a 26 hour day! It feels like it will never end! Beautiful sunsets - we are taking a photo every day at noon and at sunset. Maybe we can make and sell Remedios flip books. We had a good sized sailfish on the deck today - it was about the size of a hot dog, and very dead by the time we found it. We have gone two days without sighting any kind of ship or boat. It is really deserted out here.

Friday’s Report - The Day of the Dolphin

Today, Friday the 19th around noon, we noticed a few dolphins next to the boat, the first of this leg. Pat tossed me a camera and I went forward. Pat has been working out, so it took him a few more minutes to get his vest cinched on to join me. What we saw was a pod of dolphins, 12 to 15 of them, playing in the front of the boat for a full 30 minutes. (Wish we could send the video clips we shot but our ocean email system is the equivalent of dial-up and only text is allowed.)

It was just amazing. They would gather right up under the anchors maybe eight at a time, swim there a while, and then head off to the side or under the boat. Several others would take their place right up front. We were afraid they would hit their heads on the anchor when the boat nosed down yet they missed it every time. What fun! A few of them were rather big and some were quite white on the bottom which we could see because some would roll over and swim upside down. We'll post the video when we get back.

Other news and updates:

We have not seen another boat/ship for four days. That really makes us feel alone out here.

Pat used the beard trimmer to cut his hair, so now we both have home-made haircuts and we look like escapees from the old TV show “Our Gang.”

We are exercising as best we can with our pull-up bar and rubber bands, and doing pushups in the cockpit with our feet up higher on the seat backs. No broken noses, yet.

The temperature is pretty nice - maybe 80 during the day and 70 at night - quite comfortable sailing.

We are doing pretty well. Last night as it got dark we were both reading our Kindles with our headlamps, looking like miners taking a correspondence course.

Despite enjoying the French toast, we just don't seem to have much of an appetite. That makes some sense. If someone put you on a teeter-totter for a couple days, nonstop, and then asked you if you wanted a hot meal, WHILE STILL ON THE TEETER-TOTTER, most folks would say no. Especially if you then had to do the dishes from the seat of the teeter-totter. This at-sea thing is a pretty good, if expensive, diet plan. Pat calls it Ocean Anorexia, I call it the Bouncing Plastic Prison Slim Plan.

Posted by Peggy on behalf of Pat and Tom, aboard Remedios, on the Atlantic Ocean

Monday, November 15, 2010

On the Ocean - Going Well!

A message from our sailors:

Today was a pretty good day, although the boat and sails needed constant tending. We had a lot of wind shifts that we had to deal with - nothing major but it means having to have one of us in the cockpit all the time and paying attention. We were going to watch a movie on the portable DVD player late this afternoon, yet decided not to since we don't want to sit below in the cabin for extended periods because the wind, although steady, keeps changing direction.

The temp is maybe 70 in the day and maybe 60 at night. We thought it would be warmer, yet what we have is certainly nice.

Partly cloudy skies, some periodic rain and wind squalls, but the rain is so light that it doesn't even wash the deck. Fortunately we don't have near as many waves smacking us as on the way over so we are not totally salt encrusted everywhere on the boat.

We saw two ships today. One was a buoy tender that came within one mile of us! It was fun to see something that close. The other was a freighter, we think headed for South America. It came within three miles of us. Big day with those sightings, yet no dolphins or other sea wildlife yet.

Every day at noon we measure the distance to Port Saint Lucie, FL where we are heading - today it’s 3,139 nautical miles to go.

Hope everyone is doing well!

Posted by Peggy, on behalf of Tom and Pat, aboard Remedios, Atlantic Ocean

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Heading back to the U S of A

We are tucked in at the island of Hierro, the westernmost island in the Canaries. We are right next to our friends Ted and Kay in their boat, Moorglade. Dinner tonight will be at 7, on their boat! Another boat couple caught a tuna and is sharing so there will be six for dinner.

We had an easy trip over from Tenerife - just one night at sea.

We toured around the island of Hierro today with Ted and Kay.
Here is our marina. It is also a ferry terminal which is why you see so much blacktop. Remedios is the middle sailboat tied up to the far wall. We have to climb a home made rope ladder to get on and off.
Here is an overlook on the other side of the island. See that object in the upper left corner?
It was this guy - he waved and hollered to us as he went by under his wing.
We plan to leave Friday, with Rob's blessing, and then Pat and I will be at sea for 25 to 35 days.

I know some of you are wondering about our compatibility - us being in a small plastic container for a month with no liquor, no internet, no Desperate Housewives, no medical journals. It will be tough but I'd like to introduce you to my best friend who will be along for the trip.
I can always remove one ear bud to listen to Pat
Pat has a best friend, too.
That's not Pat's hand, but I wish it was.
Kindle / iPOD - The world's best, most compact devices enabling men to avoid interpersonal communication and sharing while appearing to be engaged in something meaningful.

But, I digress. How will we get along? Here is a sample day for one of us.

Stand two watches alone = 6 hours total
Sleep (alone) for 8 hours - 3 and 3 and 2 = 8 hours total
Listen to iPOD = 2 hours total
Read Kindle or legacy technology analog paged book = 2 hours total
Cook dinner and clean up = 1 hour total
Personal time like in the head or grooming = 1 hour total
Boat chores and nav stuff and log updates = 2 hours total
Working sails, lines, steering, fixing stuff = 1 hour total
Personal cleaning time for self and laundry = 55 minutes total
Interpersonal sharing = 5 minutes

Pat says if we are pressed for time, he has devised a shorthand for personal sharing and feeling checks. If one of us is feeling fine - that person is 2F. All the other has to do is get the other's attention, ask "Are you 2F?" The other guy nods or maybe gives the OK sign - and we are DONE FOR THE DAY!  FOUR WORDS AND A NOD AND WE ARE DONE! We may never get off this boat.

OK, time for dinner and a good night's sleep. Tonight will be the last time for around 30 days that we will get to sleep for more than three hours - we intend to use every minute!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Island Life in the Canaries

We are really liking the Canary Islands - we have been to two of them and are headed for a third. Here is what our marina looks like right in front of Santa Cruz.
Here is 1/2 of our harbor on a sunny day
We call the building towards the left the Foshay Tower - just like Mpls!
Of course we share the marina with all kinds of folks. Some have small fishing boats and some have boats like ours and some of the folks here are not really like us at all. Here is a boat from Germany that appeared one morning next to us.

This gray boat looks very serious - it has a crew of 18 !
All these boats have what we call their "Toy Box"
These big boats look fun - but I wouldn't want to pay their gas bill, or their marina fees, or their payroll, or well, whatever.

We wanted to get to Grand Canary Island, and since it is not on the way to the US, we took the fast ferry. This thing goes 38 knots - here is what it is like inside.
Main cabin in the fast ferry

Each set of seats comes with two barf bags - ours went un-used...

Pat getting us coffee at the snack counter

I guess these have fallen over before...
Gee, they don't tie down these trucks!
I guess the ferry wasn't as exciting as we thought
After we got situated on Grand Canary, we visited the local rum factory. Hey Rob! - they had FREE, SELF SERVE SAMPLES!

Just like Coca Cola - only rum!
We spent all our money on rum at the factory shop and had to share a hotel room. It was only 36 Euros - a great deal, really. This will be one of the last nights we are asleep at the same time, hopefully.

Did you say something?
Back on Tenerife, we spent some time with Antonio and Delia (I hope I spelled your name right, Delia / Dehlia / Dahlia ). They are both from the Canary Islands (Lanzarote and Gran Canaria). Pat and Antonio have a mutual friend who suggested we get together and they were the greatest hosts! They took a whole day and showed us all over the island. We started with breakfast at a local place.
Everyone likes churros!
Next up was a drive up into the mountains to see the sights.

The views were gorgeous!

The hightest point in all of Spain - where we ended up!
We are 12,000+ feet up in the air at this point - you can see the caldera in the background
Thank goodness we didn't have to hike all the way up there.

I haven't been to the moon, but I bet it looks like this - minus the cable car tower
"Look over here." "No, YOU look over here!"
Do you think we are ready to cross an ocean?

No beach here so they build these neat tidal pools.
After all this excitement, we had to eat again.

Delia is a great listener - lucky for Antonio!

First corn on the cob since July 2009
 OK, that's it for now - tomorrow we are off to the island of Hierro - our last stop before our projected 30 day ocean trip. We are going to meet up with Ted and Kay from Moorglade for an evening of fun with friends, ocean stories, wine, travel tips, wine, more stories - you get the idea.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Tenerife !

We landed on the Spanish island of Tenerife, one of the Canary islands, after three mostly normal days and nights at sea after leaving Porto Santo. We are actually only about 200 miles from the coast of Africa but probably won't make it over there since Africa is the opposite direction of Florida - our ultimate destination.

Here is what Tenerife looks like to beer-starved sailors
Big rocky coast with Santa Cruz on the left side of the photo
Now that we are in Spain we have to learn all new words except for cervesa and vinho tinto which are the same - thank heaven!

We had some minor excitement on the way over. One night while on watch I (Tom) had ANOTHER squid plop onto the deck. I saw it flash by and looked around for it but we didn't find it until the next day - too late to save and too late to eat. It just laid there on the deck looking up at us with its big squid eyes ...

Then, the next day, I was cooking dinner and looking out the window by the galley and I saw something odd float by. I ran up and we looked at it and thought we saw a sign of life. Pat turned the boat around and we fished it out of the water with a boat hook. It turned out to be a honest-to-goodness sea turtle caught up in some fishing net and line. It was hopelessly trapped until we cut the netting away. He looked at us with his big turtle eyes and said thanks and Pat tossed him overboard where he promptly dove down and swam away.

Pat and the sea turtle - Pat is on the left
Tenerife is a good sized island with an island population of around 700,000. We are in a marina in Santa Cruz which is the co-capital along with Las Palmas, where we are going tomorrow for a couple days to visit our sailing friends at another marina there.
Our mast is in there somewhere!
A striking feature of the Santa Cruz waterfront is their municipal auditorium and concert hall - it is really a WOW when you are up close to it.
Is it me or are we in Sydney, Australia?
We visited this very old micro-fort but it seemed to be closed.
I hear you knocking - but you can't come in ...
It's always fun to make friends at dinner. Here is Rene, the owner of the Italian restaurant where we ate a couple nights ago. Among other things (Rene was a great talker) he told us how he came to own this restaurant. Rene is from Venezuela and on a visit to Santa Cruz he had to visit the Venezuelan consulate. This restaurant was for sale, he bought it, and the rest is history.
Our host - Rene Cotogno
This is all it took for Rene to own a restaurant!
Much like Portugal, Spain has lots of monumental architecture and a host of statues. We liked this one that we found one night while walking to dinner.

Plan B to Florida - wind - but no waves
Here we are at dinner a couple nights ago. We are usually among the first ones at all the restaurants and often have to wait for them to open. We like to eat around 7 PM and lots of restaurants don't even open until 8 PM! It is not uncommon for us to leave around 9:30 and the dinner crowd is just hitting full swing.
Is is me or does my head look small?
 We go by this square and fountain every time we come into the city - it's a great park and it's surrounded of course, by bars and cafes.
Santa Cruz at night - as if we haven't seen enough water ...
That's it for now. Tomorrow we take the fast, wave-piercing Fred Olsen ferry over to Gran Canaria for a visit.

This ferry goes 38 knots!   Hey Pat - can we take this to Florida???