Bye Bye Windward Islands – Hello Leewards

Ahoy there Boatbloggers ® 

Welcome back to the latest edition of theboatblog.com.

We have certainly been racking up the nautical miles since the last issue. We are no longer in the Windward Islands, but have headed North and currently are at anchor in Little Bay, Montserrat.

It was last Wednesday we bid a sad farewell to Grenada which had been our home for a few weeks. We actually had to stay that long, because the diesel hose for the generator had sprung a leak and we needed to get it mended.

But if you have to wait to get a leak mended, you might as well do it in Grenada.

Because this is where they make the CHOCOLATE.

Grenada Chocolate

THIS IS HOW CHOCOLATE STARTS – bet you didn’t know that.

…and the bananas.

Grenada Bananas

Not to mention the rum.

One day we went trekking through the rainforest…

Trecking

RAMBO

This will get cut

MRS RAMBO

..and ended up at a waterfall.

Grenada Waterfall

It would have been rude not to jump in…

Grenada Diving In The Falls

…so we did.

They have great beaches…

Grenada Beach

and walks.

Grenada View

But it’s not all just fun and games. There is still high powered business to attend to.

Grenada Ju

A HARD DAY AT THE OFFICE

We were pleased that when the Getty’s heard we were in town, they insisted on parking their boat next to ours. 

Taletha

TALETHA

Now that’s a pretty boat. If you want to charter it, it’s $380,000 a week (or you can have a week on Domini for a bit less.)

Anyway, time to move on. Our first stop was Carriacou, which is still part of Grenada and only about thirty miles north.

And then we left the Windward Islands, and set sail for Dominica. It was an overnight passage past all the Grenadines, St Vincent, St Lucia, Matinique until we arrived  in the Leeward Islands. I’ve no idea why they call them that. They’re a darn sight windier than the Windwards.

Dominica is delightful. Completely unspoilt by progress. Which is great when you want to see virgin rainforest, but not so good when you want to charge your mobile phone.

We rowed up the Indian River..

Dominica Indian River 1

..which is completely magical.

Dominica Indian River 2

Almost like a film set.

In fact it is a film set. They shot Pirates of the Caribbean here.

Dominica Indian River 3

They don’t allow outboard engines, so the only way is to row. Which is exhausting.

So we got Martin to do it.

Martin

MARTIN – Master River Guide

Dominica Birds of Paradise

PARROTS OF THE CARIBBEAN

Dominica Red Caves

They call it the Nature Isle.

Dominica

And it is. We were sorry to leave.

After Dominica, we sailed through another rainbow…

Rainbow

…to Guadeloupe, which is technically France, so they take Euros, speak French and take three hours to eat lunch.

We had a bit of a drama last night. 

We were anchored at Deshaies in the north of the island. Roundabout midnight, a storm hit us. 30 knots of wind, and horizontal rain. We got up to double check everything was alright, and that was when we noticed that we were now perilously close to one of the other boats. 

The anchor was dragging.

No time to lose. In the middle of this gale we weighed the anchor just in time to avoid hitting anything. But it was a close run thing. The French tend to anchor in the same way that they faites le camping. Right next to each other.  

But that was just the start of the problems. Now we had to lay the anchor down again. It’s hard enough normally, but in 30 knots, terrible visibility, and surrounded by other boats it’s a nightmare. 

Finally we managed to drop the anchor again. It appeared to be holding and all seemed well, so we decided to run an anchor watch and take turns to stay up and check that we didn’t drag again. It was all fine for an hour or two, but then on Ju’s watch a mega squall hit, and we started moving again. He called up Lyn to weigh anchor and start the whole process again, when suddenly we stopped.

The anchor must have dug itself in again!

Ha ha. Not so simple. It had caught on something, and was not budging.

Still, at least we were no longer moving. We decided to carry on the anchor watch and sort it out in the morning.

At long last the sun came up, and the storm died down. Ju dived down on the anchor to see what the problem was. We had snagged it on an ancient rusting bit of chain from a long abandoned mooring bouy, and it was not coming off without a struggle. It was about 8m down, so Ju took a deep breath and dived down with a piece of rope which he managed to slip around the rusty chain and bring back to the boat. What a hero! This held the chain up, so all we had to do was lower the anchor, then motor forward till it was clear of the chain and we could haul it up.

At least that was the theory.

And the theory worked!

Bon heureusements!

 

So…off to Montserratt!

This is a remarkable island.

Montseratt 1 Distance

In 1997, the volcano in the south erupted. You can still see  steam coming out of it now.

Montseratt 2 Volcano

The devastation is hard to comprehend. This is the capital, Plymouth.

Montseratt 3 Plymouth

 It looks like a nuclear bomb has been dropped; the houses all buried in ash and lava. It’s hard to tell in the photo, but the church is buried up to its steeple.

And it is from here, in the north of Montserrat  and about ten miles from the volcano, that we send you this blog.

But to finish, this issue’s arty fart prize goes to Lyn, for her study entitled simply. Coffee.

Arty Coffee

COFFEE

By the time you read this, we should be on the way to Nevis.

 

Bye for now Boatbloggers ® 

 

Ju & Lyn

The Grenada Regatta

Ahoy again Boatbloggers ® 

And greetings once more from sunny Grenada where, unlike our friends in the UK, we are sweltering in the heat. 

The big news for this instalment of The Boatblog ® is that Ju and Lyn are no longer just a pair of middle aged cruisers (or “yachties” as some prefer to be called, in the hope of sounding less sleazy). We are now officially racers, and have a nice red shiny cap to prove it.

Nice Red Shiny Cap

NICE RED SHINY CAP

Let me explain.

As luck would have it, we arrived in Grenada just in time for the start of Grenada Sailing Week. And not only that, it was all scheduled to start in Port Louis Marina, where we just so happened to be berthed.

This is the classic yacht, Galatea. She is an absolute beauty. Built in 1899 she has sailed all over the world. And when I say sailed, I really mean sailed. She does not have an engine. 

Galatea 1

She is owned and skippered by master mariner Judd Tinius…

Judd

JUDD

For our landlubber friends, I should explain the significance of not having an engine. Berthing (that’s parking to you) is one of the most difficult things to do with a boat, and is often a source of much hilarity for onlookers in the nearby bar. And that’s with an engine. Coming alongside, or up to a buoy under sail is virtually impossible, and something you only ever do in a dire emergency, or if you’re doing your Yachtmaster exam which is the same sort of thing. But of course Judd has to do it all the time, and just makes it all look sooooo easy.

Anyway,Galatea had come to Grenada to enter the regatta, and ended up berthed right next to us in the marina. And we would like to be able to say that Judd immediately spotted our sailing prowess and insisted that we help him crew his boat in the forthcoming race. But that wouldn’t be true.

(I know that at theboatblog.com we don’t normally let the truth get in the way of a good story, but in this case we know that some of the crew of Galetea will be reading it)

What actually happened was that he needed someone to help pull the boat off the dock with the dinghy (remember – no engine) so Ju stopped munching his bacon sarnie and offered to help.

And off they went for the first day’s racing, while Ju brought the dinghy back to the dock.

 Galatea 2

And they managed a very respectable second place.

On day two, Judd invited us to come along and crew for him, and of course we leapt at the chance. Unfortunately Lyn wasn’t too well that day, but Ju went along anyway.

Winch Monkey 1

WINCH MONKEY

It’s very exciting being on a proper racing boat, and especially a classic like this. You go incredibly fast…

Tipping Over 1

get pretty wet…

Rough Seas

…and tip over a lot.

Tipping Over 3

In the picture above those are Ju’s knees in between the two hatches. You can just about make out the camera in his hand as he takes this picture…

Tipping Over 2

Now that’s what I call tipped over.

From Astern

But it is all fantastic fun.

Holding On

Now, I don’t want to take all the credit but with me helping on the second day, Galatea managed to come in 1st place!

Just saying.

 

On the third day, Lyn came too.

Lyn

It was vital for us to win this day’s race if were to stand a chance of being overall winners.

Lyn at work

It was a really close run thing. All the way round the course, we were neck and neck with the other classic boats, Blue Peter  and Coral of Cowes.

The Race Is On

It was the second to last leg, and gradually we managed to squeeze into the lead…

Galatea 4

We put a couple of boat lengths in between us and Coral of Cowes….

When all of a sudden…

Disaster struck.

The mast broke.

Broken Mast 3

No one was hurt, so we pulled the sails out of the water and tied them down,

Broken Mast 4

..and were towed back into the harbour.

Broken Mast 1

The whole of the mast from above the second spreader had collapsed and broken in two.

Broken Mast 2

So that was us out of the competition.

 

 

 

OR WAS IT…

 

 

Nothing stops Galatea. Overnight, and against all expectations, Judd and the rest of the crew managed to  rig up a new forestay, and repair the damaged mainsail in time for the fourth day’s racing.

So off we went with a short mast, a deep reefed mainsail, and the staysail for a jib.

Repaired Mast 1

We knew we couldn’t win, but that wasn’t the point. We went out and we completed the course.

And overall we achieved a fantastic 3rd place. As well as an extra special award for Sportsmanship.

Woo woo!

So we’d just like to finish with a huge THANK YOU to Judd and all the amazing crew for making us so welcome on board, for teaching us so much, and for giving us such a good time.

Thank you Galatea.

We hope we meet again very soon.

Galatea 3

 

Ju & Lyn

Racing Sailors

Joe on Waterskis

Yo Boatbloggers,

We have just come across some extra photos of Joe waterski-ing when he was here with us in St Lucia, and just knew you would want to see them.

We were amazed. We had no idea he could do this.

So, a little later than advertised, here they are… 

1 Getting Ready

GETTING READY

 

2 We re off

WE’RE OFF

 

3 Looking Good

LOOKING GOOD

 

4 Go Joe

GO JOE!

 

5 One Handed

ONE HANDED!

 

6 Woo hoo

WOO WOO!

 

7 Going

GOING…

 

8 Going

GOING…

 

9 Gone

GONE!

Well done Joe!

 

 

Ju & Lyn

James & Emma come to visit

Yo Boatbloggers,

Greetings from Port Louis in Grenada and welcome back to another exciting instalment from the Windward Islands.

As the title suggests, my nephew James…

James

and his girlfriend Emma…

Emma

..came to visit for the last couple of weeks, and very nice it was too.

We met them in St Vincent, and then we took them on a whistlestop  tour of the Grenadines. James bought his Gopro camera and most of the photos that follow were taken by him, so you may see a marked improvement in quality from what you have been used to.

Selfie

GOPRO SELFIE

We spent a day on St Vincent, but it did nothing but rain. Warm rain admittedly, but we decided to move on and our first stop was Mustique, home to many A-list celebs and Wayne Rooney. It was beautiful, though as befits a millionaires’ playground, it is eye wateringly expensive. A loaf of bread and a couple of croissants cost over fifteen quid.

Macaroni Bay 1

MACARONI BAY, MUSTIQUE

Tobago Cays  The Cut

BRITANNIA BAY – MUSTIQUE

Not a lot of people know that Mustique is home to many dangerous creatures, such as the wild tortoise.

Tortoise

WILD TORTOISE

In the dark, it is easy to trip over one and give yourself some nasty injuries.

There are no ATM’s on the island, so after we’d shared an ice cream between us we needed to head to the nearby island of Canouan to get more cash. Besides, Wills and Kate were turning up, and we didn’t want them interrupting our holiday.

Sunset

SUNSET AT CANOUAN

Next stop was Mayreau, which is the launch point for the Tobago Cays, and famous for the beach bar-b-que at “Black Boy & Debbies.”

Black Boy  Debbies

BARBIE ON THE BEACH

James is a natural sailor and next morning he put on the captain’s hat…

Cap n James

…and helmed us over to the Tobago Cays…

James  Ju 2

THE CAYS

…where we swam with the turtles.

Turtle 3

…and stalked iguana.

Iguana

JURASSIC PARK

Of course, we had to visit an island called…

Jamesby

JAMESBY

Next stop was Clifton, on Union Island, which was actually a bit of a dump, so we only spent one night there before we headed of to nearby Palm Island – which rather boringly was yet another little piece of tropical paradise.

Palm Island

I’ve just realised, we haven’t had any pictures of Lyn yet, so here’s one.

Lyn

 

And then it was onto Bequia, just in time for the Bequia International Music Festival.

Bequia

BEQUIA

More nice beaches…sorry!

Bequia Beach

But alas, all good things must come to an end, and it was time for James and Emma to go back home to the cold, miserable English weather, while we set sail for Grenada.

But before we leave you a new feature on Boatblog. Yes, the much anticipated Boatblog Caption Competition.

What is the turtle saying?

Caption Competition

Answers on the back of a ten pound note to the usual address. Or I suppose you could put them up as a comment.

 

Yo man for now

 

Ju & Lyn

 

X

 

Caribbean Christmas

Welcome back Boatblog® Phanz (This Caribbean spelling is infectious.)

Indeed, I should say, welcome back to the award winning Boatblog site. Yes, my friends, we won the coveted prize for MOST VISITED BLOG SITE, during the ARC crossing. Alas, by some travesty of the system we failed to win “Best Blog,” but no matter. We got the people’s vote, and that’s what counts.

And Boatbloggers, that is down to YOU. (And in particular Alan who visited far more times than most, but that was mainly because he kept on getting cut off when he was trying to leave a comment.) So we accepted the award, which was pizza for two, not on our own behalf but on behalf of you ALL. Though admittedly we scoffed it by ourselves. 

And apologies for the long radio silence. This is our first blog since we arrived on this side of the Atlantic, and much has happened since then. We have had lots of visitors, which has made it difficult to find the time to write, and it’s hard to find strong internet connections, but I think the real reason for the delay is that we have embraced the Caribbean holiday lifestyle, and we are just too chilled to worry about this sort of thing.

Rasta Ju

EMBRACING THE CARIBBEAN HOLIDAY LIFESTYLE

Our first visitors were Rory, Joe and Alice who came out just before Christmas.

Marigot Bay

It’s quite strange seeing Christmas decorations out when it’s boiling hot and you’re sitting out on the beach.

Alice  Lyn

CHRISTMAS CRACKERS

This is where you get your Christmas fruit and veg.

Fruit Boat

THE FRUIT BOAT

Though we spent Christmas and Boxing Day in a hotel.

Christmas Posers

SANTA’S BEEN!!!!

Carribean Christmas

CHRISTMAS DINNER

After Christmas we set sail for Marigot Bay, a few miles south.

Marigot Bay Sunset

It really is the perfect tropical lagoon; palm trees, golden beaches, beautiful sunsets. All the usual cliches. And what’s even better is that it is right next to a thousand dollar a night hotel, and if you’re very nice to the security guard they’ll let you in to use the facilities. (Well it is Christmas.)

Infinity Pool

USING THE FACILITIES – IN THE INFINITY POOL

(I have no idea why it looks like our faces have just been stuck on to this picture. Rory was fiddling around with the settings on the camera, and this is how it came out. We were there I promise – we’re not just photoshopped on.)

It was here that we had problems with the halyard, and the halyard sheave again (that’s the rope and the little wheel at the top of the mast to you landlubbers.) In fact the halyard broke, so once again it was bravely back up to the top of the mast…

Looking Down

IT’S A LONG WAY DOWN

We may have given the impression that it was Ju that went up the mast. In fact, it was Rory.

Mast Man

SPIDERMAN

All repaired, we set sail towards Martinique for New Year. It was an easy crossing, but I think it is fair to say that Joe has yet to be bitten by the sailing bug.

 

The Crew

Joe has a need for speed, which doing 6 knots by power of the wind alone does not satisfy. Waterskiing on the other hand…

Joe Waterskiing

JOE GETTING HIS SPEED FIX

Martinique is an island north of St Lucia, and actually a part of France. So the food is fantastic. But they speak even less English than a Parisian waiter, so we had to rely on Ju’s Franglais.

And of course, being France they eat all the weird bits of an animal that no true Englishman would ever touch.

Pig s Noses

DELICACIES FRANCAIS

It is an absolutely delightful little part of paradise.

Martinique 2

LE TOWN SQUARE

New Year’s Eve was at a little beach bar…

CoCo

…which was fun…

New Year s Eve Party

…even though the DJ had too much rum punch and forgot to announce midnight, and by the time he remembered he couldn’t find Auld Lang Syne so he did a reggae version of Jingle Bells instead.

We went au supermarche.

Bringing Home The Shopping

GETTING THE PROVISIONS

But it’s not all been fun and games. There’s still plenty of business to attend to.

Taking Care Of Business

A HARD DAY AT THE OFFICE

…and it’s not always sunny.

Swimming In The Rain

SWIMMING IN THE RAIN

But alas time was against us, and it was back to St Lucia, so that Rory, Joe and Alice could get their flights back home.

Rory Joe  Alice

And here is a picture of Joe.

Joe 2 

JOE COOL

And here is this episode’s arty farty picture.

Arty Farty Door

UNE PADLOCK

James and Emma are with us at the moment, so look out for the James and Emma blog coming soon. Available exclusively to theboatblog.com

 

Yo Man

 

Ju & Lyn

The Atlantic – In Pictures!

Ahoy there, Boatbloggers.

Without too much ado, here are some photos of the voyage.

Now I know going through someone else’s holiday snaps is the most boring thing in the world, which is why we’ve cut them down to just 423.

Ready to depart

ABOUT TO LEAVE

Provisions

ALL THE FRUIT ETC GOES IN HAMMOCKS TO STOP IT BRUISING

A lot of boats

THE START LINE (VIEWED FROM THE BACK)

 

Big seas 1

IT WAS STRONG WINDS AND QUITE BIG SEAS FOR THE FIRST WEEK

Big seas 2

ROCKIN’ & ROLLIN’ (Thanks to Melike & Nejat on “North,” for these two pictures)

It rolls a lot

SO IT WAS A BUMPY START

 

Sunrise

DAWN

The view for 3 weeks

WE SAW A LOT OF THIS…

Rollin rollin rollin

AND WE WERE NEVER HORIZONTAL

Squall approaching

WHEN A SQUALL HIT, YOU KNEW ABOUT IT

Sailing through a rainbow

BUT WE SAILED THROUGH A RAINBOW!

Rainbow

TWICE!

Red sky at night

RED SKY AT NIGHT…

Pirates

PIRATES!

Night

ARTY FARTY SHOT OF THE MOON

Swabbing the decks

BUT IT’S NOT ALL GLAMOUR – SWABBING THE DECKS.

Laundry

DOING THE LAUNDRY

A nice day in the middle of the ocean

OCCASIONALLY WE WERE BECALMED…

Swell

BUT NOT FOR LONG.

Goose winged

WE WERE “GOOSEWINGED,” (A SAIL OUT EACH SIDE) FOR MUCH OF THE TIME

Catching up on sleep

THE CREW HARD AT WORK

Home made lemonade

HOME MADE LEMONADE!

The cruising chute went up

WE DID GET THE CRUISING CHUTE UP. BRIEFLY.

Sunset

SUNSET

 

Baby Flying Fish

BABY FLYING FISH – DECEASED

Land Ahoy

LAND AHOY!

Ju Lyn  St Lucia

GRATUITOUS SELFIE WITH ST LUCIA IN THE BACKGROUND

Nearly there

NEARLY THERE…

The finish line

LYN HELMING US ACROSS THE FINISH LINE

Arriving

ARRIVING AT RODNEY BAY

A great welcome

A GREAT WELCOME

Dry Land

DRY LAND

A Basket of Fruit

BANANA BOAT

That’s all folks!

The big question now is….what next?

Watch this space…

And we’d like to wish all our Boatblog fans a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

 

Ju & Lyn

 

X

 

 

 

The Atlantic Collection

Ahoy Boatbloggers,

For those of you who missed the blogs en transit across the Atlantic, here they are in full.

 

26th November – Day Three Begins

Hello again Boatblog fans,
 
I hope you managed to find us ok on this, our new little piece of cyberspace. I guess if you’re reading this right now, you must have done, so welcome back. Apologies that there will be no pictures in these latest editions, but they take too long to upload. The computer boffin from Mailasail did explain how I could do it by re-sizing everything but I’m still none the wiser. ( HIM:- “You send it as an in message, not as an out message, because there are no ins, only outs which collect the ins, so to get an in you need to send an out, which on the leg in, becomes a leg out, thought it’s really an in.” ME:-  So, you put your left leg in, your left leg out, in out, in out, shake it all about. You do the…”) You get the idea. It’s all very complicated unless you’re a Cambridge graduate or a child of seven, so I’ll just have to upload them when we’re back on terra firma.
 
Our plan for the start of the race was to keep out of all the mayhem on the startline and hang back and let all the racers go first. Not a tactic that would impress Ben Ainslee but it suited us. Unfortunately, everyone else seems to have had the same idea, so it was still like D Day when we actually crossed the line. I’ve never seen so many boats in such a small piece of water. Very exciting, and just a bit scary! But we somehow managed to not hit anyone and we were off. Just thirty minutes after the starting pistol.
 
The first couple of days of our transatlantic adventure have been pretty full on. As you no doubt already know the start was postponed for a day because of inclement weather, but it was still pretty hairy when we left. It was F6 gusting up to F8, which in landlubber terms means very windy with bloody big waves. We were bouncing around like an old sock in a washing machine. And that was before we hit the acceleration zone about ten miles south. For those of you that don’t know, an acceleration zone is where the wind is predicted to go from fast, to ridiculous. And the predictions were right. 
 
But Domini handled it all with grace and ease, unlike the crew who were hanging on tight trying not to be sick. Ju got drenched twice. As in proper drenched. The second time just after he changed into dry clothes. Doh! We live and learn.
 
Then, after all that, the wind suddenly dropped as we got in the lee of the island. In the space of five minutes it went from 30 knots to bugger all (another seafaring term). We bobbed about for a few hours (which if you followed our track is why we went round and round in circles for a bit,)  before we eventually gave in to the inevitable; with heavy heart we hoisted the iron mainsail and chugged merrily into the wind.
 
By now it was night-time, and I’m pleased to see that the ARC committee have arranged for more stars than usual, so thanks to them for that. They really are quite spectacular. And dolphins by the hundreds . Fantastic.
 
Day two was a lot calmer, and strangely that was when Lyn got seasick. Which is very rare for her. So she was completely out for the count, but I’m pleased to say she’s a lot better now.
 
And so my Boatblog friends, there I must close. It’s about 7 in the morning, and I am sat here in the cockpit, the wind on our tail and the sun peeping over the horizon. 
 
It is all rather magical.
 
Ju & Lyn
 
X
 
 29th November – Sailing at Night

Hello again Boatbloggers,

 
I’m not sure why they call this particular crossing, “The Milk Run.” We’ve just been hit by a number of squalls, with winds gusting up to gale force and horizontal rain whacking into your eyeballs. I think I’d call it “The Water Plume,” or “Cyclonic Irrigation.” Even “The Adrenalin Rush.” But Milk Run? Nah. 
But first of all we’d like to thank the ARC committee for the spectacular display of shooting stars that they treated us to on Wednesday night. Absolutely fantastic.

 
Quick quiz…

How big is the average shooting star?

Is it…

a)About the size of the moon

b)About the size of a double decker bus

c)About the size of a pinhead.

The answer my friends may surprise you. According to my Patrick Moore Guide to the Night Sky It is (c) about the size of a pinhead. Apparently a shooting star is little more than a particle of dust bursting into flame as it enters the atmosphere. Though how they figured that out I’ve no idea. 

Hope that surprises you as much as it did me. We here at theboatblog dot com seek to inform as well as entertain.

It’s hard to describe the feeling you get sailing in the moonlight, knowing you are following in the wake of Christopher Colon and the other great navigators on their epic voyages of discovery, with nothing to guide you but a compass and the light of the stars. Well, the light of the stars and the GPS of course. And the radar. And the electric plotter. And AIS. But it’s basically the same idea. You, your little boat, and the great big ocean.

But the night is also the time when things go wrong. Or more accurately, when things go wrong at night, they seem much worse. On Thursday night for example, just as Lyn as coming off watch, there was a loud bang and the autopilot gave up. Now, when you are only two handed, the autopilot giving up is a very big deal. It’s like losing a crewman. Actually, it’s worse than that, because you can pick a new crewman at the next port.  And this is the perfect crewman. This crewman doesn’t eat all the chocolate biscuits during his watch. This crewman doesn’t moan when it’s cold and miserable. This crewman just sits quietly on watch, steering the boat far better than you could ever do yourself.

 
And this crewman just died…
 
Ju quickly crawled out of his pit, and it was not too long before he discovered that the cotter pin that holds the bolt between the RAM and the quadrant had broken. Now those of you that know Ju and his infamous DIY skills will be amazed at this statement. You will be surprised that he even knows what a cotter pin is. He has been banned from any type of maintenance ever since he managed to plumb the washing machine into the gas main. (That is a true story.) 
 
Actually, truth be told it was Lyn that found the broken cotter pin. But that’s just a detail.
 
Now read on…. 
 
Quickly he got out his new set of Halford’s spanners and a monkey wrench, and set about replacing the pin and tightening up the bolt. As you read this in the comfort of your own home, this may not sound so difficult. But bear in mind that this is in a completely inaccessible hole at the back of the boat, in the middle of the night, at a 30 degree angle of heel, bouncing up and down like a fairground ride, and with the bolt moving every time the rudder turned. 
 
It wasn’t easy, but eventually he managed it. 
 
What a hero!
 
And so for now, touch wood, it seems to be working.
 
We have just sailed over The Tropic of Cancer. So I guess that we are now officially in tropical waters. 
 
Not that you’d know it from the weather.
 
 
Keep on trackin’
 
 
Ju & Lyn
 
X
 
30th November – Squall Alley
 
Hi Boatbloggers,

We’ve just been hit by a whole series of squalls, one after the other.

You know, when we talked about trade wind sailing, I always imagined us lounging in the cockpit, perhaps a sundowner cocktail in hand, with the smell of hot bread wafting up from the galley as the freshly caught fish sizzled on the bar-b-que.

And now here we are. It’s four in the morning, it’s cold and wet, and I’m hiding behind the sprayhood in my woolly hat and oilskins, nursing a mug of Cuppa Soup.

And right now, there’s nowhere else I’d rather be.

Ju

 
1st December – Flying Tonight
 
Last night, Ju was attacked by a fish.

 
He was just sitting in the cockpit, minding his own business, when all of a sudden he got whacked in the back of the head by a flying fish.
 
It was all very Monty Python.
 
Later Lyn saw hundreds of them, flying across the water together. At first she thought they were lots of little birds swooping over the water.
 
And then…we sailed through a rainbow!
 
Today’s quiz:-
 
Is it:-
 
(a)a shoal of flying fish?
 
or 
 
(b)a flock of flying fish?
 
 
Answers on a ten pound note please, to the usual address.
 
Keep on trackin’
 
Ju & Lyn
 
X
 
2nd December – Living at Sea

Hello again Boatbloggers,

 
We are often asked, what is it like being at sea. Not the navigating, and setting the sails and all that stuff. What is the day to day living like?

 
In a nutshell, it’s like living in a very expensive caravan during an earthquake. It rolls about. It rolls about a lot.
 
Which makes some tasks more difficult. Shaving for example, is particularly hazardous. So much so that Ju has started to grow a beard. For some time now, his hair has been sun-bleached; I guess it’s the outdoor life that he leads, but we were surprised to discover that his beard actually grows sun-bleached. By the time we get to St Lucia. he’s going to look like Uncle Albert.
 
Eating can also be problematic. With all the rolling, it’s like that Charlie Chaplin film, with the bowl moving from one side of the table to the other. It was suggested before we left that we eat out of dog bowls because they don’t tip up. Dog bowls indeed! It’s not that rough rough. (Ha ha. Geddit?!)  Now we may be at sea, but we still have standards to maintain. Though every time we have soup we come more round to the idea.
 
(A note from Ju: The food is great. I don’t know how Lyn does it given that it all has to be cooked at a 45 degree angle, but we have had casserole de poulet, beef au vin rouge, and cassolet de canard. When I cook we get chicken and mushroom noodles en pot.)
 
And then you have to remember that you are completely self sufficient. So you need to conserve your battery power, your water and your fuel. This means you can’t have a shower every day, and when you do it’s a naval shower (wet yourself, turn off the shower, lather up, rinse and repeat.) You boil just the right amount of water, and use a pressure cooker to conserve the gas. There’s no motoring when you’re becalmed, because you just do’t have enough diesel and so on.
 
It’s all very SAS.
 
Keep on trackin’
 
Ju & Lyn
 
X
 
 
 3rd December – Progress…
 
Hello Boatblog fans,

As you can imagine, the middle bit of the Atlantic chart is a fairly empty affair, with not that many landmarks.

However, it is still good to celebrate significant moments of the crossing, and we are pleased to inform you that we have just gone over a crease.

And a curious thing. Obviously we have been doing lots of ropework over the past week, and this has made our hands lovely and smooth. So much so, that the fingerprint recognition software on Ju’s Iphone won’t recognise his thumbprint!

Which leads us on to…

Today’s Top Tips

Criminals: fool forensics. Before your next major heist, sail across the Atlantic. Then you won’t need to wipe down the crime scene.

&

Ladies: save money on expensive handcreams and manicures. For beautiful soft skin, buy a piece of rope and rub your hands up and down it three times a day

Hope that helps

Ju & Lyn

X

 
4th December – A Long Way South

We saw The Southern Cross last night, so I guess we really must be a long way south.

The wind has really died overnight, so unless it picks up, I don’t think we’ll get very far today.

We’ll keep you posted.

Ju & Lyn

X

 
5th December – We Are Sailing

Ahoy there Boatbloggers,
 
Well the wind’s dropped, and the boat’s stopped, so what does a sailor do in this situation?
 
That’s right. Put the kettle on and have a cup of tea. And then….it’s time for a nice sing song to keep up morale.  
 
So we got out the piano, and this is what we came up with…
 
We are sailing
We are sailing
To St Lucia
‘cross the sea
We are sailing
Atlantic waters
In a boat called 
Domini
 
Spent a fortune
Spent a fortune
Four thousand Euros
At Rolnautic
Now we’re cruising
I think we’re losing
But we should be there
By Thursday week
 
Can you hear me?
Can you hear me?
Or has the sat phone
Gone down again
The autopilot
Gave up on Tuesday
And now the wind’s dropped
Till who knows when
 
We are sailing

We are sailing
To St Lucia
Come what may
Double-handed
But we ain’t lonely
There’s an ARC fleet
Not far away
We are sailing
To Rodney bay
 
The video of this unique event (possibly an ARC first) will shortly be available in all good record shops. To pre-order, please send cash to the usual address.
 
Keep on trackin’
 
 
Ju & Lyn
 
(But mainly Ju)
 
X
 
 
6th December – Cap’n Ju’s Atlantic Waters Shaving Balm

Ahoy Boatbloggers,

 
Today has been a day of slow winds, and little progress, but despite all that there have been a few firsts.
 
To conserve our fresh water supplies, we had our first ever salt water shower. Well, not so much a shower, more a wash in a bucket, but you know what I mean. We’ve got this special shampoo which is rather unimaginatively called, “Sea Shampoo,” probably because it is shampoo for the sea, and today we gave it a go.
 
And we’re happy to tell you it works a treat. Ju even had a shave using it, and it is actually better that a fresh water shave. The salt water heals all those little nicks and scratches before you’ve even done them. It’s brilliant. We’re thinking of bottling some and bringing it back home to sell.  Cap’n Ju’s Atlantic Waters Shaving Balm. What do you reckon?
 
And talking of bringing bottled water from the Atlantic back with us, that is exactly what we are doing on behalf of a couple of Dutch scientists. They are getting a number of ARC boats to collect water which they will then analyse scientifically.  They are looking for things called microplastics, which are microscopic bits of plastic, and it seems that this is going to be the next pollution nightmare. Basically, when plastic rots in the sea, it doesn’t just disappear, it disintegrates. In fact it never ever vanishes. It just gets smaller and smaller. So what’s the big deal? Well, these microplastics are getting into the fish, and therefore the human food chain. They don’t really know the effect of that yet, but it is killing the birds so it’s not good. 
 
Apparently, there are five big “gyras” sat in the middle of the major oceans of the world which are where the currents all meet, and they are like swirling municipal rubbish tips. They’ve got photos such as an albatross who died from eating a cigarette lighter. It’s all very sad.
 
We’re not preaching, sat as we are in our plastic boat, drinking plastic coffee from a plastic cup (all paid for on plastic) but if you want to know more check out www.oceanconservation.org.uk, and in the mean time, don’t chuck any plastic into the sea!
 
And today we got the “kite” out. That’s sailor slang for the spinaker or cruising chute in our case. it is a sail specially for light winds and it was a right old palaver putting it up, Eventually  on the third attempt we managed it. Just in time for the wind to pick up. So we took it down again.
 
It’s about midnight right now and it’s a beautiful full moon; it’s almost bright enough to read by.
 
Keep on trackin’
 
 
Ju & Lyn 
 
X
 
7th December – The world’s most boring blog…ever!

We had a lovely day sailing.
 
 
8th December – 1000 miles to go!
 
Ahoy again Boatbloggers,

Today is something of a landmark!

After thirteen days of sailing – unlucky for some, but not for us – here is our official noon boat position.

140,Domini,At Sea,1D,07/12/2014 12:00:06,15° 55.4′ N,044° 15.7′ W,974.56,5.9

The number to look at is the 974 figure. That is how many miles we have to go before we get to St Lucia. Yes my friends, it is under a thousand miles to go!

Surely a cause for celebration! Well, on the one hand yes, it’s the “1000 miles to go,” landmark. On the other, “Crikey, we’ve been going two weeks and we’re still nowhere near!”

For just such an occasion as this, before we left Lyn prepared a nice celebration lunch  consisting of unbelievably expensive Iberico ham with gourmet cheese and other little titbits from Las Palmas, with chocolate brownies to follow. Unfortunately, we ate it all on day 3. So we’re going to have a celebration lunch of corn beef sarnies instead.

We spent much of the morning trimming the sails, and in particular the mainsail trying to get all the telltales to fly properly. Try as we might we couldn’t get the middle one to stream out. After way too long, we realised it had actually fallen off. Doh! And that was when we spotted it – flying off the end of one of the spreaders. How on earth it got there we have no idea, but it is probably a tribute to one of our many sail mishandling debacles. Anyway, the good news is that it is streaming out horizontally at all points of sail, so the spreader must be set perfectly.

We have been a bit disappointed with the amount of wildlife we have seen. We thought we would see dolphins, and porpoises, and maybe the odd shark fin. Even a whale or two! But apart from scores of flying fish we have seen nothing. If this was a whale watching holiday we’d want our money back. Lyn did see some Lion’s Mane Jellyfish, but they turned out to be seaweed.

And one last bit of news; today we ran out of diet coke. 

So that’s the diet over then.

Keep on trackin’

Ju & Lyn

X

 
 
 
9th December – LEAK IN BOAT!!!
 
I thought that might get your attention.

 
I should be working on a tabloid, because while that headline is strictly speaking true, it does somewhat overdramatise the situation . But be honest dear reader; if I had put “Boat Has Leaky Tap!” which would more accurately reflect the true postiion, would you have even got this far?
 
But let me explain…
 
From early on in our voyage, we had noticed that the fresh water tanks were going down much faster than we expected. Tank No 1 went down to just 1/4 full in just over a week. We suspected a leak, because we had been quite careful with our water consumption, not taking showers, using the salt water tap which feeds directly from the sea wherever possible and so on, but a quick check couldn’t find anything amiss. So we though it was simply that we must have been using more than we should and vowed to be more careful in future.
 
We switched over to Tank 2, so that if that ran out at least we would know we still had a 1/4 left in tank 1. We were now super frugal in the water usage, other than the salt water tap, which of course we could use with gay abandon.
 
But even so, earlier today, tank 2 ran out.
 
There must be a leak.
 
Quick as a flash, Cap’n Ju grabbed his new Halford’s monkey wrench, donned his multi-purpose Leatherman and set out to solve The Mystery of the Disappearing Water.
 
But perhaps dear reader, you are ahead of me. 
 
Did you spot the clues?.
 
That’s right. It was the salt water tap whatdunnit.
 
When he followed the pipes through, he discovered that it could be set to feed from either the salt water, or the freshwater tanks. And guess what?  Cap’n Ju had it set to come from the fresh water tanks.
 
Doh!
 
The good news is that we found it in time. We still have 1/4 of  tank 1 which is the big tank. We have more than enough bottled drinking water, and so much Red Bull that we could probably fly to St Lucia.
 
But once that’s all gone, we’re down to champagne.
 
832 Miles to go!
 
Keep on trackin’
 
Ju & Lyn
 
X
 
10th December – Hats off to Sir Robin

Ahoy there, Boatblog fans,

We’ve just been reading about Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, and how at the age of 75 he recently came third in the Route de Rhum. An incredible achievement. Apparently, when he finished, they asked him how he felt and he said, “Fantastic. Never been better. It’s great to be at at sea.  I feel like a man of sixty.”

I’d just like to take this opportunity to echo Sir Robin’s sentiments. After two weeks at sea, I too feel like a man of sixty. The difference is, when I left Las Palmas I was only 52.

We’re starting to see birds again, so we must be getting close. We saw an enormous one earlier today, and thought it must be an albatross, but when it came closer we realised it was just a lost seagull trying to find its way back to Blighty.

691 miles to go.

Keep on trackin’

Ju & Lyn

X

 

11th December – Are We There Yet, Dad?

Hi Boatbloggers,

After a fast morning’s sail, the wind has dropped and we’re mooching along at about 4 knots. It’s hard not to get impatient when we are so close, and to avoid the temptation of looking at the log every couple of hours to see how many (or few!) miles we have done.

And we can’t wait to get to St Lucia. Not just for the obvious things like cocktails on the beach and so on, but all the little things as well…

• Standing up without holding on

• Sitting down without holding on

• Eating without holding on

• Cooking without holding on

• Washing without holding on

• Sleeping without holding on

550 Miles to go

Keep on trackin’

Ju & Lyn

X

 
12th December – I’m Sorry, I Haven’t A Clew

Welcome Back Boatbloggers,

People often ask us, “What do you actually do during those miles and miles of empty sea?” Well, no one’s actually asked us that yet, but I’m sure they will.

And our answer will be, apart from the thousand and one tasks that need to be done to keep everything shipshape, we play silly games in the style of I”‘m Sorry, I Haven’t A Clew.” (See what I did there?)

In last’s night’s game for example, the contestant’s were asked to come up with the names of films that they have seen which are connected with our transatlantic crossing. Here are just a selection…

• The Winches of Eastwick

• Shallow Halyard

 
• Reef Encounter
 
• Pinnochio  featuring Bimini Cricket
• Anchorman

• Full Metal Lifejacket

• Boom Raider

 
• About A Buoy
 
• Meet Me In St Lucia

• Ice Stanchion Zebra

• Ocean’s 14

• The Shawshackle Redemption

But the winner last night was Lyn with… 

• RADARS of the Lost ARC

We are doing  similar thing tonight with popular song titles. If you wish to join in, please send your entries to the usual address. The winner of the most original song title will get the opportunity to treat the Captain and Crew to a sumptuous dinner for two in one of St Lucia’s most exclusive restaurants.

Good luck.

To start you off here are a couple of ideas…

• Love Me Fender

• Scarborough Flare

428 Miles to go.

Keep on trackin’

Ju & Lyn

X


13th December – An Apology To Squalls

Dear Boatbloggers,

In our previous dispatches, we may have made reference to “squalls.” We now know that this was not correct and would like to apologise to our readers for misleading them. These were mere bagatelles. Triflings. Barely even a strong shower.

Because last night we were hit by a proper  squall. In fact several proper squalls. How can we describe it?

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh!

Only kidding. It wasn’t t too bad really. Though probably not a good time for Lyn to give it smoking.

But that’s all behind us for now. Lyn has just managed to rustle up a fantastic lunch of Canary Potatoes with Mojo sauce, Iberico hams and home made lemonade! All served with freshly baked bread. It’s from an IKEA breadmix, so it looks great when you’ve made it, but  the next day all starts falling to bits.

We’ve haven’t yet seen the entries for our “Song of the ARC,” competition, (in the style of “I’m Sorry, I Haven’t A Clew,”) but here are ours…

• Rollin’ Rollin’ Rollin’  Rawhide 

• Becalmed, Bothered and Bewildered

• Soggy Trousers by Madness

• Do Genooooo-a Where You’re Going To (Theme from Mahogany)

• Return to Fender

• Luff Foresail

• ARC, The Herald Angels Sing

• Dan(e) Buoy

• Born To Hand Gybe

• Vangs For The Memory

And those of you who are both fans of Sondheim, and know that the autopilot is traditionally referred to as George (after the chap who invented it) will appreciate the sheer genius of…

• Sunday In The ARC With George

281 Miles to go.

Keep on trackin’

Ju & Lyn

X

 
14th December – Woo Woo Woo – St Lucia
 
Well my Boatblog friends, it is about 2000 local time (that’s 8pm for the landlubbers) which is about midnight GMT, and Ju is about to go on first night watch. We are about 60 miles away from St Lucia, so all being well, by the time you read this we will be back on terra firma!
 
Woo woo woo!!!
 
And that means…
 
No more trackin’
 
(…for now)
 
Ju & Lyn
 
X

Postponed 24 hours…

Hola Boatbloggers,

Just a brief blog to let you know that the ARC has been postponed for at least 24 hours, because it is windy.

Now I know you landlubbers may than that windy is what a sailor would want, but this is premier division wind, or approaching gale force as we sailors call it. And that’s in the harbour!

This is a good decision by the organisers we think.

Hopefully we’ll be off tomorrow.

Ju & Lyn

Ready to go….

Hola Boatbloggers ®

Once again, thanks to all our readers, and especially to those who have made comments either on our blog page or on Facebook.

The race begins this  Sunday 23rd at 1300, weather permitting. And the forecasts are good. So this will be our last official Boatblog® till we get to St Lucia, hopefully sometime roundabout the 14th December.

However, do not despair. There are still many ways you can follow our travels across the world’s oceans.

First of all, you can got to the official ARC website, which is on….

http://worldcruising.com/arc/eventfleetviewer.aspx

You should get taken straight to the right place, but if you get an option on which rally to follow, select ARC 2014 (not ARC+ 2014). Our boat is of course “Domini.” If you’re looking to see where we are in the race, you’ll probably find us near the back.

If you prefer to follow it on a smartphone, you can do the same thing by downloading an app called Yellowbrick for £1.99.  Again select ARC 2014 when it asks you which race you want to follow.

 

There is a possibility that we will put up blogs on the World Cruising Club site. It all depends on if we can upload them via a satellite link which is not guaranteed. If we do, the way to read them is to go to…

http://www.worldcruising.com/arc/eventlogs.aspx

Then where it says “Search Boat Logs,” select Domini, ARC and year 2014

 

Another completely different way to follow us is to go to…

https://share.delorme.com/JulianRonnie

…which should show you where we are in the Atlantic, but won’t show you all the other boats. If you go to this one, you will have the advantage of being able to send us a message (Highlight  the tab saying “Julian Ronnie,” then click “message,”) Bear in mind that you can only send 160 characters per message. If you type more than this, it will send it as 2 messages, so think of it as more like sending a text than an email. Also, the tracking device only connects to the satellite for a brief second every ten minutes, so even if we are receiving and sending properly you will probably have to wait for twenty minutes or so to get a reply.

Don’t worry if you can’t find us right now. Most of it won’t go live until the race begins.

In the mean time, here is the news.

In the true spirit of showing off, which is most unlike Ju, here is a picture of him as The Standard Bearer for Great Britain at the Official Opening Ceremony of the ARC.

Official Flag Bearer

OFFICIAL FLAG BEARER

The selection process was rigourous and gruelling and was based on one of three things.

1)     Best Sailor

2)     Best Looking Skipper

3)     First PersonTo Put His Name On The List.

It’s hard to be sure, but I’m pretty certain it was one of the first two.

We are getting pretty exhausted, not from all the boat preparations, but from the continuous round of parties. It’s like a Club 18 – 30 holiday. Well, maybe a Club 50 – 80 holiday, but it’s still pretty knackering.

Mr  Mrs Baba

MR & MRS BABA

Fancy Dress

ARABIAN KNIGHTS. With John Vickers from AISLIG BHEAG. (Try saying that after a rum punch.)

Jeanneau even put on a dinner for all their owners (which was very nice of them, but makes us suspect we paid too much for the boat.)

Jeanneau Dinner

JENNEAU OFFICIAL OWNERS’ DINNER 

 Adios for now Amigos. Next blog from St Lucia!

Ju & Lyn

Viva Las Palmas

Hello Again Boatbloggers ®,

 

And huge apologies for the long radio silence.  The truth is, there hasn’t been much to blog about, and I don’t want to risk boring our huge numbers of adoring fan with trivial nonsense. But I have been stung into action by Alan’s blog comment, which for those of you who haven’t seen it, I repeat it here in full.

 

Hi Julian and Lyn,

So I promised to write more in response to the fabulous Rabat Blues and since it is now over a month since I promised that, it seemed appropriate to get on with it!

Clearly there has been something of a radio silence of late and of course this leads of all your blog followers to become a little nervous and apprehensive on your behalf Julian. After all there are many examples of intrepid travellers losing radio contact and the like. One just has to think of those orbiting the moon for example, or trekking to the poles and one is immediately reminded of the tense wait in between communications. So imagine my pleasant surprise just a few weeks ago when I was contacted directly by Julian. It was a wonderful moment and I felt truly special, honoured to be singled out for what was, in my mind at least, quite a tricky procedure. I know that these days modern communications have improved enormously since the days of Morse code and the like, but nevertheless as I heard Julian’s voice on the phone, I was impressed with the quality of the line. As he spoke, I imagined him grappling with the sheets, whilst the wind whistled Domini across the ocean waves. I have some experience myself of ship to shore radio transmissions (more of that in a moment) and so I was both pleased and relieved to hear from Julian. Imagine my surprise then, when in response to my enquiry as to his whereabouts, rather than some kind of nautical co-ordinates involving degrees and longitude, he said that he was in Acton. I’ll just let that sink in for a moment. Acton. Now Geography is not my strong point, in fairness nothing is, but even I could more or less point to Acton on a map and understand the relation between it and the Atlantic. Rabat for example is clearly on a coastline, indeed a coastline suspiciously close to the Atlantic, but Acton is West London and not a drop of ocean in sight. The Rabat Blues, so beautifully performed, gave all of we humble readers some sense of the frustration of waiting for just the right weather conditions for departure. But whilst hanging around in harbours of the world sharing seafaring stories with other old salts is surely a regular pastime of the hardened sailor, wandering up and down Acton High Road in search of The Guardian, hardly constitutes the spirit of adventure – mind you, then again, it is Acton. But look, I don’t wish to pour cold water on your earnest endeavours and I am willing to suspend disbelief. It may be that you are not just hanging out at home, waiting for your next sailing holiday around the Algarve. You may well be studying detailed charts in the library and wrestling with fathoms and plumb lines, but I think it may be time for another missive so we can remain truly connected to your holiday, sorry, adventure and so we can set aside any creeping cynicism.


I did mention that I had some ship to shore radio experience and I think you may have heard the story before, but since it comes from a time when I was AT SEA, it seemed appropriate. I had been aboard the luxury yacht, Lambda Mar only for a few hours and was trying very hard to settle into the lifestyle and forget all of my land-based troubles. With a gin and tonic in hand, I was approached by one of the many immaculately liveried stewards and informed that the Captain wanted to see me right away on the bridge for an urgent ship-to-shore radio call. “Who can this be?” I thought to myself. “An urgent call from the Prime minister perhaps, obviously for such an important person as I must be, aboard a luxury yacht, or most likely, an injury to one of our children”. They were staying with their Grandma at our house. My worst fears looked like being confirmed as I took the communication device being proffered by the Captain and heard the voice of my Mother-in-Law. She said she was sorry but felt this was a big enough emergency to have contacted the luxury yacht’s telephone. So what was it? A broken leg perhaps, or a car accident? No, the reason for the call was to ask me what she ought to say to the angry and disappointed parents who had been let down by the breakdown of our Postman Pat van and subsequent lack of party for 4 year old Chantelle. It wasn’t so much being bothered by the seemingly trivial matter by Grandma that upset me, it was more the complete bursting of any kind of illusory bubble that I might actually belong on this super yacht, rather than be the kind of person who was running Postman Pat parties for a living. As I left the bridge I bravely tried to laugh it off, as if this was simply one of thousands of such events I organised around the globe, but the Captain’s smirk dampened any last vestiges of delusion.


So Julian and Lyn, when the right conditions arrive and you really do get cracking across the Atlantic, just know that not only will I be thinking about you constantly, but I will also be awaiting your call.
Love to you both,
Al x

 

Now clearly there are a number of issues with this scurrilous article that I simply must address. In particular the erroneous use of the term, “sailing holiday,” to describe our intrepid expedition into the unknown, as though it were some sort of Sunsail jolly, or a Channel Ferry booze cruise. And yes while technically it may be true that we did return to darkest Acton for a VERY brief period, may I remind our readers, lest they fear that our courage may be waning, that even Christopher Columbus had a break occasionally. (By the way, did you know that Columbus in Spanish is “Colon.” We found that out  at The Colon Museum, right here in Las Palmas.)

 

So, what has happened since our time in Rabat? Or Acton, depending upon which version of the truth you prefer to believe. We sailed South – or more accurately motored as there was no wind – and ended up in Agadir, which is Morroco’s answer to Benidorm.

 

Agadir

AGADIR

The people of Agadir are quite charming, but unfortunately it takes a long time to get anything done, and security is quite lax. (If you’re interested, they key to the pontoon is under the flowerpot by the gate.) The Capitaniere apologised for the state of the marina, but they’d had a storm four years ago.

Agadir Pontoon

AGOHDEAR

And after a few days, we were ready to set sail, this time, across The Atlantic. Let me just repeat that incase Alan missed it. 

ACROSS (a bit of) THE ATLANTIC

…to The Canary Islands. Gran Canaria in fact. We had good wind and sailed all the way, which surprisingly for a sailing expedition, doesn’t happen very often. It was largely uneventful, apart from the rudder getting snagged on some drifting old net.

Rudder snagged 

Grrrrrrr….

Ju had to go over the side again to cut us free. Unfortunately, as he jumped in, he slightly cut his finger on the knife. Nothing too serious, except that this is shark country. And if I remember my David Attenborough documentaries correctly, sharks can smell blood from up to 48 miles away. Lyn didn’t helping by singing the Theme from Jaws.

So there was no time to lose, and soon we were free, and able to carry on our merry way. After about three days we arrived in Las Palmas. 

Las Palmas is the home of the ARC – The Atlantic Rally for Cruisers, which is the race that we will be taking part in, so we have been busy preparing the boat, kitting it out with safety gear, adding davits, provisioning and so on. As well as attending lectures telling us what to do if the boat goes upside down, or the mast falls off, or we get eaten by a whale.

ARC Flag

RAISING THE FLAG

Other than that, we have just been tourists. Gran Canaria is a surprising place. While the north of the island is quite sophisticated, in the south you feel a bit out of place without a tattoo on your forehead. The centre is stunning; like The Grand Canyon. Well….I’ve never been to the Grand Canyon, but it’s got lots of big mountains.

 

Lyn Mountains

GRAND-ISH CANYON

We’re just over a week away till we cast off our lines and start the crossing, so it’s all getting a bit hectic in Las Palmas.

Official T Shirt

OFFICIAL T-SHIRT

 

and here is a gratuitous selfie

Waving To Rory

 

 

That’s all for now Boatbloggers ® . Or “Avast,” as we sailors say.

I will be in touch before the starting pistol is fired with a link to “Yellowbrick,” which is a kind of satellite tracking device so you can see us as we go across.

Bye for now

 

Cap’n Ju & Lyn the Cru