The following pages chronicle the journey of the sailing vessel Pelagic and her crew. We are a family of 5; Michael, Amy, Zander, Porter and Anakena, taking our 42' Hallberg Rassy as far as we can comfortably go in three years. We left Oregon in September 2014, participated in the 2014 Baja Haha, continued on through the Panama Canal, into the Caribbean, up the coast of the US to Maritime Canada and from there crossed the Atlantic. After an arrival in Ireland we toured Scotland, then sailed down to France, Portugal and on to Morocco. In January of 2016 we slowed down considerably and enrolled the kids in a local Spanish school in Sanlucar de Guadiana for a few months. In the spring of 2016 we crossed the Atlantic towards the Caribbean. We are now in the Pacific, officially on our way home, albeit via a very circuitous path. We are currently in French Polynesia and looking at weather windows to Hawaii before finally making landfall back in the Pacific Northwest.

Currently our exact location is not available. Our spot coverage will pick us back up in Hawaii towards the end of May, 2017.

Our favorite sailing quote:

"If anythings gonna happen, it's gonna happen out there boss!" Captain Ron






Saturday, April 30, 2016

Ready, set, false alarm.......April 29

My incentive to get to French Guiana

We had expected to leave today, to start our trip across the Atlantic, but unfortunately the stars were not aligned for that.  Yellow Fever immunization side effects are still taking their toll on Mike. Feverish and achy are not a good way to start a long passage! Hopefully he will be better tomorrow and we will be on our way.  

While we are still in the marina we are completing all the normal checks. 

  1. Fill up with water.  We’ve decided to try to keep the tanks half full so we aren’t carrying an extra 700lbs of water around.  We can always make water along the way, and if for some reason the water maker malfunctions we can survive on half a tank or 100 gallons of water.
  2. Fill up with fuel.  We can carry enough fuel to motor about 6 days if need be.  Preferably we won’t use much of it, but it’s peace of mind.
  3. Provision. Cape Verde is not the best place to provision, so we stocked up in the Canaries with non perishable items.  For fresh produce we are going to have to get creative with bananas, plantains, potatoes, squash and tomatoes. A favorite pre-trip activity for the kids is to make treat bags for each person for each day.  At noon each day, on a long passage, we get our treat bags and it marks the passing of another day.
  4. Stow, clean purge, laundry....fun, fun, fun. 
  5. Download podcasts, music and rent a few new movies.  I know, not really a priority, but super welcome about day 4.  Zander loves tedtalks and Porter listens to old time story tellers and although, it technically is more screen time, they aren’t physically looking at the screen, so I feel better about it.
  6. Complete all our land lord responsibilities before we leave.  Mike still has half a dozen properties he manages (as well as our home) and there are invariably details that we have to make sure are completed before we are out of touch for long periods of time.  Fortunately they are all great tenants and that makes life easier.
  7. Boat prep.  OK, this is Mike’s department and it probably deserves to be at the top of the list.  Mike spent hours going through everything on the boat in Sanlucar and again in the Canaries; checking and tuning the rig, he changed the oil, as well as all the other fluids, in the engine and looked it over from top to bottom, he dove on the prop and made sure the zincs were still good and he checked out the bottom of the boat for growth.  I’m not sure what bottom paint they put on in Mexico last year, but we’ve had very little growth on the bottom.  I’m sure it was very toxic and I don’t even want to think about it.......ignorance is bliss!  Yesterday, Zander jumped in the water and scrubbed the waterline so the bottom of the boat looks great.  Every quarter of a knot extra in boat speed is helpful.
  8. Weather check.  We checked several different weather services and it all looks promising for the first week or so of our passage.  After that, we get what we get, but historically the trade winds are favorable and moderate at this time of year.  We are able to get weather files with our SSB radio, in the form of GRIB files, so we aren’t blind out there. We are cautiously optimistic about this crossing. 

Now it is just a waiting game.  I can’t quite explain why the waiting is so hard once you are ready to go.  There is a lovely beach in Mindelo, the marina is comfortable, the wind has finally died down and we are enjoying the company of several other boats that are also crossing the Atlantic.  It is not a bad place to be. Yet, we feel trapped when our departure date gets postponed.  Once you are mentally ready to go, it is just so hard to stay put.  I think I only have a certain number of days of “readiness” before I chicken out and go back to looking at alternative exit strategies (5 hour flights to Boston sure are enticing at this point).  


14 days of goodie bags perfectly divided up and sorted, to the individual skittle. If it takes more than 14 days the crew may mutiny. 

Back in the blue after 8 months

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Cape Verde Arrival, April 25

Whew, made it into Cape Verde.  Apparently I didn’t do much research and I mistakenly thought that Cape Verde would have a cape and uh, be green!  Not so.  There is a point off of the mainland of Africa called Cape Verde and since these islands were at the same Latitudude they named them after the African Cape of the same name. Instead of the verdant lush peaks I thought I’d see, the islands are barren, volcanic and it appeared we had sailed to Mars on first glance.  

Regardless of their appearance, after 7 days at sea, we were ecstatic to see them on the horizon.  For the most part we had a good passage.  It started really calm with wildlife sightings and calm enough for the kids to play on deck, the wind picked up in the middle and we were happy with our progress and finally the last two days pretty much sucked.  The winds and waves had increased and we were making good time, but we were rolling gunwale to gunwale.  It was hard to sleep, it was hard to cook, miraculously the kids seemed to do fine, it was just the old feeble adults that were uncomfortable.  We arrived in 30 knots of wind in late afternoon, looking forward to anchoring in a calm spot behind the breakwater in Mindelo.  Not in the cards.  Although we were in the lee of the island, the winds whip down the slopes in williwaw style and the wind strength was actually stronger in the bay!  I didn’t sleep well the first night at anchor with winds gusting over 40knots, but our anchor held fine and by the second night I was sleeping like a baby.  We have 73 lb Rockna anchor which is the recommended size for a 65 foot boot.  It is the best of the best and way oversized for our boat, so we didn’t budge an inch. 

I spent the first few hours of our first full day on land researching departure strategies.  Do you know there are several direct flights to Boston a day from Cape Verde!  I really didn’t plan to get back on the boat. After a day of putting the boat back together, having a cold beer (or a few) and stretching our legs we started readjusting to the fact that we will have to get back out there in a few days.  Like childbirth, the bad memories of a passage eventually start to fade and you start remembering only the positives.  Anyway, I google searched markets in French Guiana and the abundance and beauty of the fresh produce there will have to be enough to get me back across the pond.  Last big one I keep telling myself.

Why am I not more excited to cross the Atlantic? The worry factor has raised exponentially  with all three kids on board.  What a difference from 15 years ago when Mike and I sailed 14 days straight to Easter Island from the Galapagos and then after a week exploring sailed another 21 days in those huge Southern Ocean swells to Southern Chile, with no hope for help (There are no boats down in that area), no Satellite phone, no spot tracker.  I was in my twenties, we were invincible and most importantly we didn’t have precious cargo on board.  Now I worry about every stomach ache......is that a swollen appendix?  Any signs of cobsitipation and I assume the kids have an obstructed bowel. Back pain and Mike and I are both simultaneously passing kidney stones!  Oh, and that is just the start of my worries.  What if we hit a whale, what if we hit a container, what if we hit some huge Amazonian sodden log.  What if a container ship hits us?  Mike reminds that if we hit something, we have a solid boat, we should be able to hit most anything and survive it.  It may not be pretty, we may have to pull out the epoxy or the crash mat, but we should stay afloat (remember we aren’t really traveling that fast).  We probably won’t get run over by a container ship considering they all have AIS now, which does give me a tremendous amount of peace of mind.  I also worry that if Mike and I will be too sleep deprived one day and we will make a mistake. Mike doesn’t worry about anything, so I have to worry enough for the both of us. Surprisingly I don’t worry about the kids falling overboard much.  They don’t leave the cockpit when it is remotely rough without being tethered in (even then they rarely leave the cockpit unless it is extremely smooth) and Ana has gotten accustomed to wearing her harness and tether even in the cockpit if it is rough.  When it is calm, the boys only go on deck if we are actively watching them. I don't worry about myself falling overboard........I do not leave the cockpit, ever, on my own. The person I worry about most is Mike.  I have nightmares about coming up to stand watch to an empty cockpit, and as you can imagine that doesn’t help my already sleep deprived state much (when did he fall over, how long to we backtrack to look for him......how crazy with fear would I be doing any of those things). On our last trip, Mike rarely wore his harness, even when I pleaded with him.  At some point I just had to come to the realization that if he wasn’t there one morning, it wasn’t my fault and I couldn’t check on him every 15 minutes while I was off watch.  Sounds cruel, but I really had to come to that conclusion.  Hey, I was young, I could find another husband easy enough and South America is a pretty big continent I could have found that on my own! Seriously, Mike is definitely more cautious than he was then, that said, there is still the occasion when he rushes up on deck without being tethered in and it freaks me out.  All it takes is one misjudged step.  For this next crossing I’ve threatened divorce (again) if I catch him without his harness on.  If you are reading this you can give him shit on his facebook page about endangering his family. He seems to be missing the guilt gene, so it may not help, but it’s worth being able to give him shit about something. 

I’m already getting ahead of myself.  We just got to Cape Verde and we have a few days to explore before I really have to get back into secret service duty. Time to find some beauty on this island and have a few more beers.


When your little sister is acting up

passages are awesome when it is calm

we ra into a pod of pilot whales traveling with bottle nose dolphins



tethered in and safe in the cockpit

have legos will travel

This little monkey gets the award for the least amount of laundry created; 7 days straight in her knickers

Creative schooling, that is my diagram of the heart, lungs and cardiac, pulmonary blood vessels


Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Post by Porter.......Are we there yet? April 24th

 We are finally there and I can see Cape verde, I can’t believe we made it after seven days at sea! So here is the lowdown, the first day out it was super calm and I was listening to music, dancing and climbing the mast (the big stick in the middle of the boat). On the second day it was a little rougher then the first but we put the fishing lines out and it wasn’t too bad. The second day always sucks, you’re not yet in a grove. The only thing very good about the second day was the lasagna, it was probably the second time we had found ricotta cheese and my Mom made my favorite meal.  It was good, good, good. On the third day it mainly the same but I got into a grove and I felt like I could go down stairs without throwing up and I was able to get some legos out and do some reading. Wow, on the fourth day I got a great wake up call. I woke up to a bunch of screaming and I looked outside to see if something happened and Zander was hanging from the bosuns chair over the side of the boat! it was awesome. I did it too, so fun! Fifth day same thing, read for 30 minutes, watch some TV, do some homework, do a watch (stay outside and make sure we don’t hit anything), put the fishing lines out, have dinner, read more, watch another movie, take the fishing lines in so we don’t catch a fishermen’s net and then we go to bed. Sixth day all the same again nothing special although we were getting excited because it was the second to last day. 

Finally, I see it, I see it, land! We are finally on land and it’s so exciting, no more rolling, no more not wanting to eat because you don’t feel good and no more wind!


 I have to go, too many things that I can do now that we can get off the boat!     

Friday, April 22, 2016

Nearly there, April 21, Happy Earth Day!

We are 300 miles from Cape Verde and all is well on Pelagic. The winds have been consistent, although the swell has been bigger than we expected for the 15 knots of wind. It took a little longer to get used to the motion of the ocean, but we seem to have it all down now. The kids are amazing, particularly Ana, the boat is home and she is so comfortable on it. She is part monkey and swings her way throughout the boat.
We just crossed the tropic of Cancer (23 degrees North) and tradition requires someone on the boat to be doused in seawater as a tribute to King Neptune. With the north wind, even though we are officially in the tropics, it is still not really warm. Porter suggested that we use hot shower water since technically it was seawater before it went through the reverse osmosis system. Done, check that box!
Fortuitously we've had the best moon on this trip; we are straddling the full moon and it is actually up for the full duration of the night watch. Unfortunately that means if we leave Cape Verde to cross the Atlantic within a week of arriving there we will be lucky to have an hour of moonlight an evening and at that only a sliver of light. Bummer! It is such a comfort to me to have a moon on watch. Star watching is great, but it requires sailing in a veil of darkness, and I prefer the moonlight for company.

Happy Earth Day from the Pelagic crew. From our vantage point in the middle of the ocean, we sure can appreciate the wonder of this blue planet.

N 20 43
W 021 27

Monday, April 18, 2016

Day 1, 2 and 3, Passage to Cape Verde

Things started slow for us. On day one the seas were oily flat and there was almost no wind. We expected to have fairly non existent winds for the first couple of days and then we expected to start to get into the trades later in the passage. The Canaries are caught between the trades and the North Atlantic high pressure system and the winds are not very consistent and generally light. We hope the further south we go, the better the winds will be. While we waited for those winds to fill in, it was very enjoyable aboard. The kids got to play on the foredeck; they got to swing from the stays, they climbed into the main sail bag to find a new reading place and Ana picnicked and danced on the bow. With flat calm conditions any wildlife was easy to spot. We had dolphin shows, watched pilot whales cruise by and snuck up on sleeping turtles. We ate well, we did some light schooling and in general it was an easy start.

Day two showed us some light headwind's, but we were able to sail with them, although it wasn't the most comfortable point of sail and we looked forward to the predicted wind shift. By the end of the second day the wind filled in nicely and we found the Canary Current and started really putting some miles behind us. It was fast, but we were still getting used to the motion of the boat and it was pretty exhausting. I swear during the fist couple of days of a passage it feels like gravity increases 10 fold and at the same time the oxygen content decreases. It is so tiring.

As I write this on the morning of day three we have consistent winds and we are reaching at about 5-7 knots. It is comfortable on board and we seem to all have gotten our sea legs. Life is good!

We have just passed directly west of Dahkla, Western Sahara and a possible stop on our leg south that we have made the hard decision to miss. Dahkla, depending on who you are talking to is either part of Morocco or Western Sahara. When the Spanish left in 1975 the Moroccan's promptly moved hundreds of thousand of people south and occupied the area displacing thousands of locals to refugee camps in Algeria. Some of these camps are still in place as the Saharawi are still a people without a home objecting to Moroccan rule. Generally speaking, and call me chicken, but I think it is a good rule of thumb to pass African nations by that have contested territory disputes. That said, we spoke to many Moroccan's officials that claimed it was perfectly safe due to the fact that it has a very strong military and police presence. Still not my first criteria for a good family friendly place to stop. The enticing part was Dahkla is located on a huge, beautiful lagoon that very few cruisers ever go to. Aerial photos of the area are amazing, and although there isn't much on the internet, the pictures that are on the web show Saharan dunes meeting the turquoise blue of the ocean, and white sand beaches in a pristine lagoon ringed by estuaries filled with flamingos and other birds. It sounded magical. Tourism isn't big there, but it has become a big kite surfing hot spot and the adventure tourism is starting to take root. I had even contacted the only sailboat that I could find that is in the area and traded emails about the safety of the region. It all sounded interesting and very safe until we found out that the lagoon itself is off limits and a militarized zone. We could hire a car and driver to tour the dunes and estuaries, but we would have had to tie up along a huge fleet of fishing boats a mile out of town along a dusty road. All of a sudden it didn't sound as picturesque and unless we had some trouble we decided we would save our family back home the grey hairs and skip it. It is tough to pass places by that you know would be an experience one way or another, knowing full well you will never be back in the area. The world is getting smaller and those off the beaten path places are getting fewer and further between.

We are plodding on and tomorrow we will be half way there.

Amy on Pelagic
N 24 40
W 17 38

More giggles and rainbows (I hope), April 18, scheduled post

I'm going to assume our passage to Cape Verde will be like this, all giggles and rainbows. Actually I've scheduled this post, so it is all wishful thinking at this point. We do expect some very light wind and swell for the first 2-300 miles until the wind fills in further south.  

Unless you hear otherwise we didn't get away from the southern most island in the Canaries until the morning of the 17th.  As we were sailing down the islands Mike realized all the charts he had downloaded disappeared from his iPad, seems someone had downloaded a bunch of pretty pony and nail salon apps before we left and used up all the memory.....hmm, who could that be? New rule, Dad's iPad is just for navigation! While we do have paper charts, I've mentioned Mike is a belts and suspenders type of guy, so we pulled into Fuerteventura to find some wifi and download all the charts and get one more good night sleep before the 900 mile passage. 



Saturday, April 16, 2016

Already missing the culinary delights of Spain, April 17

We are hoarders!  I've packed so much food on this boat there is barely room for us!  I have 25 liters of milk stored in the shower, an entire cabinet filled with chorizo from Spain, Mike has bottles of $2 Spanish reds and Portuguese Ports stuffed in the bilge (we will enjoy the wine after the passages are complete).  We are expecting to be able to get fresh fruit and veggies in Cape Verde, but otherwise we have provisioned for a month (which means Michael and I have both independently shopped for a month). We could circle around out here for 6 months and probably not starve!   When we bought the boat almost 6 years ago, we knew it would be a bit tight for our family of 5, but everyone said go when you can buy a boat.......if you wait until you have enough money for a bigger boat.....you will never have enough and time will pass and some life event will keep you from ever going; declining health of a parent, kids that are too big to want to go with you, etc.  You will always want a bigger boat! So, we took the advice and bought the boat we could afford, not quite envisioning how our three small children would grow.  Zander probably eats his own weight in food daily. Our then seven year old is now bigger than me and the baby is almost seven.  How did that happen?  Anyway we are making it work and we are going to eat fantastically for the first week just to make some breathing room on the boat.

This is chicken grilled on a thermal vent from the volcanic area on Lanzarote.


Thursday, April 14, 2016

Photos from Graciosa and Lanzarote, April 14

 We are hoping to be on our way to Cape Verde as early as tomorrow morning or the next day.  Porter informed us this morning that his tooth has been hurting.  Usually it is the weather that dictates when we leave, this time it will be the Dentist.  Anyway, we are prepping like mad, stowing food and making last minute arrangements (bought a new dryer for the house; outlet needs updating, gardener quit; need to find a new one......the joys of home owning from afar).  Anyway, there is always a flurry of activity before we leave the land of good wifi and strong bandwidth.  Cape Verde 900 miles south is our next stop.

I am attempting to connect our spot satellite tracker to my blog, but for some reason it isn't working quite as easily as the last time we did an ocean crossing.  If you would like to follow us, I hope this link will work. https://spotwalla.com/tripViewer.php?id=101f7570c319913f33
 

Montanas del Fuego, Parque National de Timafaya

Isla Graciosa


more Graciosa

Climbing to the highest point on Graciosa with another kid boat, Ros Alisther

Looking into the crater from the top

Looking over at Graciosa from Lanzarote
Normally this sight wouldn't make me so happy, but for the first time in 18 months we will have everything on the boat clean at one time!  Washers are few and far between and several commercial size near us on the dock makes me a happy boater!


Sunday, April 10, 2016

Letter published in Latitude 38 Magazine

For those that are not in the sailing world, Latitude 38 is the local sailing magazine in the Bay area.  It  has a worldwide readership and filled with fantastic sailing information about racing and cruising (two very different beasts).  Anyway, they've given us ink before, but below is the link to our latest letter that they published in the April issue.


https://issuu.com/latitude38/docs/l38201604/111?e=1997181/34590146




Friday, April 8, 2016

Arrival Graciosa, Canaries April 6


Bosun's chair fun while sailing

watching dolphins
sunset reefing



Z's favorite place under sail























OK, my description of the passage from Rabat to the Canaries was written a little prematurely.  The first two and a half days were fantastic.  On day three the kids took the bosun’s chair out and when we were on a port tack they were able to swing out from the side of the boat, dipping their feet in the water when a wave passed. They had a blast.  Late on the third day the seas that had been building now combined with a 20 knot wind and it got uncomfortable.  We were expecting high winds from the North to develop after we made landfall, but they kicked in a little early. They also had more of a westerly component than we expected and as we tried to make westerly progress towards the islands, they beat us up.  I say beat us up, but we were still going 7-8 knots.  At any point we could have slowed down and it would have been more comfortable, but we were happier to get there a day early than we were uncomfortable. At some point one wave hit us just right and we realized too late one hatch was not properly locked and we took in a huge wave over the top that made it’s way into the boat.  Ugh!  At the time both Mike and Zander were asleep on the settees (couch in the middle of the boat) and they had a rude awakening when gallons of seawater came cascading through the hatch on top of them.  The water slipped into the bilge and was pumped out and quickly disappeared but it left a wet wake through the salon of the boat.  Everything was wet; comforters, sheets, pillows, and the carpet.  I had covered the settee cushions so they didn’t get soaked and I was grateful for that, but we will have piles of laundry to do next chance we get and of course the whole center of the boat needs a good fresh water wipe.


Anyway, it was a long 15 or so hours but we are now anchored in Graciosa, one of the more northern islands, and we will stay here until the winds subside.  

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Fez Adventure, April 5



See my earlier posts for pictures of Fez.


I’m not sure what the incubation period is for most water born diseases prevalent in 3rd world countries, but a week out of Fez and I feel like we dodged another bullet!  I didn’t want to be the first person to have to write the words explosive diarrhea on their website! The food in the markets is just too fresh and tasty to miss out on.  We feasted on fresh clementines, strawberries, dates and almonds from market vendors.  We sampled savory Moroccan stews, tajines, couscous and grilled meats in marinades I’ll never be able to replicate.  Early in our trip planning we had this idea that we would try to expand our repertoire of meals by learning to make one local dish from each region we visited.  Simple meals without complex ingredients we would never be able to find again, just a new meal to integrate into our rotation of meals that over the years has gotten dull.  Mike has been more successful than I have.  He’s working on a Mexican Pozole, Shepherds Pie and he’s found an easy but tasty Paella. The closest I’ve come is stocking the cabinets with great curries and chutneys we picked up in the UK. A Moroccan dish would be nice to add since 4 out of 5 of us like Moroccan food. Note to self, next good wifi research a good tajine recipe.

When it looked like we would need to stay in Rabat through the week, due to the swell report, we decided to do an overnight trip to the Imperial city of Fez.  Fez is an old city.  The history is complicated with dynasties coming and going and hardships and boom times alternating. More, recently the Arab Spring took its toll on the tourism industry, but you get the feeling in Fez, that regardless of politics, government or world affairs, Fez will always prevail. It is the intellectual, cultural and religious crossroads of Morocco due in part to the fact that it is home to the one of Africa’s largest Mosques (holding 20,000 people) and possibly the oldest university in the world. It is an impressive place to visit!

On the way to Fez the kids got a lesson in third world travel by taking the second class train to Fez.  Needless to say, we chickened out and bought first class tickets for the three hour trip back. The difference between first and second class is about 75% less people packed in the same car. The seats are not remarkably better, the bathrooms are still just a hole on the track and the timetable is the same, but you have a reserved seat and you have some personal space. The price difference was only $3, but that small amount is completely cost prohibitive for most Moroccans. The market in Fez is amazing. Unlike Marrakesh, it doesn’t have a big central square where entertainers set up; to sing, charm snakes or perform a variety of other acts.  You don’t need to find things to interest you in Fez, you simply walk and observe life as it has been lived for a thousand years. Donkeys make up most of the transportation within the city gates and only in Fez could you find a district of the city called Fes el-Jdid (new Fez) which is only 700 years old! In Fez you can lose yourself for hours just watching the humanity go about their daily lives in a world very different from our own.  Random things we saw in the Fez market; a camel head hanging in a butchers stall (as well as every other conceivable animal organ being sold), a dog riding on the front of a moped, an 80 year old man pushing a 90 year old man up a hill on a bike, kids making a 5 foot wide alley into a soccer pitch, a stall selling recycled false teeth, a man sitting along the side of the street selling 10 radishes, a monkey on a leash, spices for sale by the bucket, and so many more things you just don’t see in our Western world.  The aromatic odor of spices and different herbs permeate the air, as does the smell of meat grilling and leather being tanned. The smell of fragrant perfumes and the lesser appealing smells of people not bathing or laundering regularly combined with the odor of rotting garbage and fragrant flowers. The smells are both intoxicating and revolting at often the same time.  It is an ancient smell of humanity packed together.

When I describe the markets of Morocoo I notice I want to use words like authentic, charming and exotic.  For me it is, but for many Moroccans it is a hard life and I try not to judge with first world eyes and appreciate how difficult life can be for them.  In Fez I saw a man teach his two year old how to kick a cat.  My first thought was poor cat and I wanted to judge this man unfavorable.  On thinking over it and trying to explain to the kids the difference in cultures I realized that stray cats are disease ridden, they have worms and they jump on table tops and steal food from your plate if you turn your head and let them.  As a parent, you don’t really want your two year old interacting with these animals.  It’s not animal cruelty, its simply survival. 

One of the iconic features of Fez is the leather tanneries that have not changed much over the millennium.  There are roughly 50 clay communal pools in the center of the medina, surrounded by balconies, where men work on tanning leather much as they would have in medieval times.  They still climb into the pools to work the hides.  They don’t use harsh chemicals, but they do use toxic ingredients as they historically always have; pigeon droppings, cow urine and ash.  It is a multi step process and none of it looks healthy, none of it looks easy and it certainly makes you consider your use of leather. 


After the claustrophobic streets of Fez we returned to the coast and the boat.  From there we readied the boat to sail south, provisioned with some fresh produce and completed the check out process.  Provisioning includes a little more work when in the tropics or in a third world country.  I hate to admit it, but we had cockroaches board our boat while we were in Mexico and it took me months to get rid of them.  In fact, I’m not sure I ever really did, we had to stay in a cold climate for the winter to really be sure they were gone.  In any event, I do not want to repeat the process and I am going to be even more diligent about keeping them off.  Nothing that comes on the boat is in cardboard (roaches like to lay their eggs in the cardboard glue). Every box of cereal, crackers or cookies has to be repackaged in either ziplocks or plastic tubs.  Any produce I buy locally, in a market or supermarket, I soak in a solution of vinegar and water.  I try to keep as much fruit outside of the boat as I can and inside fruit I pack in everfresh bags (they let the fruit breath but don’t let any critters out). It is a tedious process, but I am determined to keep it up. Yup, it would bother me to get them again, and probably in third world countries that would be the least of their concerns. Although roaches are high on the “icky” scale, they don’t actually carry anything that can harm you.  That cute cuddly cat I saw in the market probably carries more infectious diseases than any cockroach ever will! 

Monday, April 4, 2016

en-route to the Canaries

Four hundred and fifty miles from Rabat to our destination in the Canary Islands. It is not a long passage, but it is our longest since last August when we crossed the Atlantic. And really, the sailing is a piece of cake, it is entertaining the 6 year on board that is the hardest part. First days are always rough though and after leaving Rabat we weren't very productive. Meals were quick; pasta from a jar, boxed cereals and hastily put together sandwiches. We watched movies and read, we slept and waited out the day knowing the next day would be better. Sure enough, with the dawn of a new day our energy collectively returned, no one felt seasick and we were more productive. A little home schooling occurred, we made pumpkin cookies with some fresh pumpkin we found in the market, Mike made a creative Thai noodle dish that we all raved about and we got the fishing lines back in the water.

By the third day we were pros again. Zander has started taking his first watch, he gets up at 6am and stays until 9am. I'm not comfortable leaving him up there alone, but which ever of us is on watch at 6am, he relieves, and we simply sleep in the cockpit for a few hours. It has been very helpful so far.

We motor sailed much of the first day and into the second. Since we had to leave Rabat when the swell was low we weren't able to be as picky with a good wind window to leave it. No swell, no big winds or contrary winds and we had to leave or risk getting stuck for another week or so. Motor sailing isn't too bad. If the winds are light, but favorable we put up all the sails and the sails give us a 1-2knot boost and we can run the engine at low RPM's saving fuel, but most importantly it gives the boat some stability. By day two we had good 15 knots of wind and those have stayed into our third day. Hopefully they continue. We hope to be anchored tomorrow night.

The highlight of our first three days back on the water is the reoccurrence of dolphins. We've seen hundreds and they play around the boat for hours. Seeing them never gets old and the kids spend quite a bit of time on the bow watching them.

Amy and crew
N 31 10
W 011 10

Drone Pictures of Pelagic and the Guadiana

A friend on another boat took these ariel pictures of the Guadiana River on a sunny day and the second one of Pelagic at anchor from his drone.  Currently we are en-route to the Canaries (or at least I hope we are since this is a scheduled upload) and can't upload photos, only text.  Have I mentioned we are going to miss that place?



Saturday, April 2, 2016

April 7th, April Fools, it is actually April 1st, by Porter

 Did you ever think that you would see a dead camel head hanging from a wire in a market. Believe it or not I have! In Morocco! This paper is going to be about my trip to Morocco. So... where should I start? We pulled into Rabat marina after we left Spain. We stayed in Rabat for a while then we went on a train to Fez. We went in the market it is called the medina. The medinas are like mazes and we got lost several times. My Mom said we were exploring, but we were lost! You can buy anything in the market. That is when I saw a dead camel head hanging from a wire. When I was taking a picture a man tickled me and it freaked me out so much! He thought he was pretty funny!  All the lady’s in Morocco would touch my hair because I have blond hair and all the people in Morocco have dark hair, it was crazy! Then we got a hotel and in Morocco they don’t have normal hotels they have people who have extra rooms and make it into a bed and breakfast, it was cool. Well, thats all I have to say about that.
I'll take two!
  

In the maze of the market (medina)

Porter

Friday, April 1, 2016

I don't remember your name, but your Fez is familiar, April 1

We try not to be too conspicuous when we are traveling, and I hate to walk around the markets with my camera.  That said, I want desperately to convey the smells, the sights and the sounds of the medinas in Morocco.  Not possible with just a few quickly snapped photos taken when the frenzy is at a comparative lull.  Imagine the following sights, tiled walls, mosque entrances (non muslims cannot enter a mosque) and stalls around every corner in the markets of Fez.  It is literally a feast for the senses.  


Kairaouine Mosque and one of Africa's oldest mosque

small tannery; hides drying, men working in clay pits 

This is the big tannery that is being renovated (probably for the first time in a millennium). A man works in each pool working the leather in one step of the process.  
Before visiting the tanneries they give you a sprig of mint to sniff to mask the smells of the tanning process. They have used the same ingredients since medieval times; pigeon droppings, cow urine and ash!


More Market stalls
Nejjarine fountain
plenty of donkey's in the Medina








Bab Sensla (gate into the Medina)


We finally found a place that sells shoes in Z's size!