I have recently discovered that there is no shortage of flying fish in the ocean. As we sail along at 6-7 knots, the flying fish think we are a predator and so they leap into the air to avoid us. They can glide several 100' and since we are sailing directly downwind they often land onboard. In the mornings we usually find 8-10 laying around the deck, in the kayak or under the cockpit cushions. It is like an Easter egg hunt every morning only much smellier. Last night I was slapped in the face by one as it flew past. These are big fish and average 8-11" in length; they keep you alert on the night watches.
We are now on our way back to Oregon. Today is May 10th and we are currently 10 days and 1300 miles into our crossing of the Atlantic from Cape Verde to Devil's Island in French Guiana. We are 487 miles from landfall.
Back in early April, we departed Spain and sailed a 2 day passage to Rabat, Morocco. The local marina had excellent security since the King's yacht was moored there, so we secured the boat and jumped on a train to go inland to the ancient city of Fez. Fez has been inhabited for over 1500 years; the narrow alleys are a maze inside a labyrinth that long ago abandoned any building or safety code. The streets are too narrow for cars and flatulent overloaded donkey is the preferred means of delivering goods. GPS doesn't work because you can't get a clear view of the sky and all street signs are in Arabic. Down one alley that was 2' wide and 5 stories tall we counted over 21 doors to residences.
Once over the formidable river bar in Rabat, we set a course for the Spanish Canary Islands. It was a rough passage with strong winds and seas on the beam. We were all glad when we arrived in Lanzarote where we could rest, have a good meal and get some ice cream ashore.
From the Canaries we then set a course for Mindelo, Cape Verde which was 900 miles away. This was again a rough passage as the trade winds were howling as we ran South. Arrival at sunset in Mindelo was intimidating because the wind was blowing 40 knots in the anchorage and all around the harbor were wrecked and overturned ships. For the next week in port, the wind never dropped below 20 knots. We loaded up with food and supplies and set out to cross over to South America.
Our goals once we arrive in French Guiana are to visit notorious Devil's island and then sail up the Maroni River to St. Laurent. Ever since reading the book "Papillon" I have wanted to visit this French Overseas Territory. The Maroni is one of the larger rivers in South America and forms the border between F.G. and Surinam. The kids are looking forward to a South American jungle experience with sightings of parrots, poison dart frogs, snakes, alligators and piranhas. I just hope that the local piranhas have not cross bred with the flying fish!
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
Wednesday, May 11, 2016
We are less than 300 miles from French Guiana and we expect to get there the evening of the 13th. The wind continues to move us along nicely, although it should shut down as we close the coast and we will most likely have to motor. We are starting to see ships around us as they move down the South American coast from the Canal area. We will have to start being a little more diligent about paying attention on watch. We've been spoiled with laying back, watching the stars and only once in a great while looking up. The stars have been amazing and in 12 days I saw my first glimpse of the crescent moon. It was up when it got dark and went down before 9:30 pm. Not much of a showing, and I'm glad I'm not relying on celestial navigation! Last night, in particular, we saw multiple shooting stars and between the bio luminescence, the star show and the fact that staying up on watch only requires a thin blanket to keep warm, they were enjoyable watches. I mentioned earlier that Zander takes a 2 hour watch between 5am and 7am every morning and that has really been a help. We are hanging in there and very much looking forward to the night of the 13th.