Day 2: 10 November 2016
Our first full day at sea, after reaching the trade winds, was a fierce initiation to a long ocean passage. The trade winds blew briskly from the NE at 25 knots, gusting frequently to 30. The seas were a little confused with 2 m wind-waves from the ENE on top of a 2 m swell from the NNE. When the wave patterns were separate, the ride was pretty nice. But when they intermingled (which was frequently), we saw nearly 4 m waves that would kick the boat around a bit. Neither the wind, nor the waves, were overpowering for Laridae… it just meant that the crew needed to hold on tightly to get around the boat.
The combination of the wind and waves provided for very good sailing conditions. We were sailing under poled out staysail to leeward and poled out (reefed) genoa to windward. We were typically seeing 8 knots speed over ground, and up to 12.8 knots while surfing the swell.
Sadly, our friends William and Jade on the boat White Ibis suffered some minor gear failures on the first day and decided to turn around to Mindelo to get things repaired before continuing across the Atlantic. However, we were treated to a special visitor – a White Ibis (or some type of small, white Heron-type-bird) decided to take a rest on the boat. Possibly blown too far downwind from shore, and not able to make headway against the 25 knot headwinds, the bird took several attempts at a landing on Laridae.
After a few near-misses at landing on a perch near the rapidly spinning wind generator (phew, for us and the bird!), the bird found a flat landing pad on one of the solar panels. However, the bird’s feet were not able to get a grip on the smooth, glass surface of the solar panel, so it started a very funny ‘running man’ dance impression while it tried to stay put on the panel despite the rolling motion and the persistent winds. Eventually, the bird found a calmer refuge downwind of the dodger on the coachroof of the deck. This was a great place for the bird, and a great viewing angle for us! The kids named the bird Jade after our friend on White Ibis. However, they threatened to change the name to William (also on White Ibis), if the bird started to poop on the deck. The Ibis stayed with us all day and throughout the night.
In a continous attempt to win the ‘Bread War’ (us consuming the 10 loaves before the mould consumed the loaves), we made bread-crust-pizza for lunch. These were a big hit for everyone, and allowed us to bring the count to 2 loaves us, 0 loaves mould.
To prevent scurvy, and boost the blood sugar in the afternoon, we serve cold/juicy/fizzy cocktails each day. Our tradition is to squeeze a lime wedge in each cup. Therefore, prior to departure, we stocked up on 18 fresh limes at the local fruit market. The limes looked great – they were large, unripe, and dark green. However, as they have started to ripen, they are turning yellow. Perhaps we purchased lemons!?!? At sea (and without a resupply of limes), if life has served us lemons, we will make lemon aid!
On a funnier citrus note, Eliana cracked us up with one of her four-year-old-tantrum-demands. She loves eating the oranges that we purchased (yes, they are oranges!). She asked if she could have another orange, so we asked Robyn (our friend and trusty crew) to pass an orange from the fruit hammock in the cockpit. Eliana was in a mood to test authority and said in a very firm voice, “I am not eating the orange if Robyn has touched it.” So Angela, holding the orange that Robyn passed down, replied, “Ok, than I’ll eat it.” A slightly frustrated Eliana, eyeing the juicy orange, compromised by proclaiming “OK, I’ll eat the orange, but Mummy needs to TOUCH IT A LOT!”
The bright spot of night watch was the huge Beaver Moon that will grace us for most of this passage. It light up the sky and allowed us to see the waves and adjust the sails without a flashlight. The only benefit of the moon setting at about 4 AM was the darker skies allowed us to see several shooting stars from the meteor shower.
The brisk winds and frequent surfing allowed us to tally up a total daily run of 168 miles (7 knot average speed)!