Passage to Barbados: Day 2

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)!

Passage to Barbados: Day 1

Day 1: 9 November 2016

After 18 months of working towards the Atlantic Ocean crossing, we finished all of the major items on our “to-do” list about 2 hours before the Farewell Party at Marina Mindelo in Cape Verde. We are not sure if that is just luck or attentive project management, but we are sure that it was the result of many, many hours of diligent and determined efforts by all members of the Siegel family!

Departure day dawned early with frantic internet scans to see who won the US Presidential election. Upon hearing of the results, Dorian asked if we were going to arrive back in Canada “before the wall was finished being built.” We weren’t sure which border he was referring to, but we assured him that everything would be okay.

The last few moments of time onshore were spent at the bakery picking up a few extra loaves of fresh bread (are 10 loaves enough?) and at the marina cafe spending the last bits of our local currency, escudos, while enjoying heaps of their amazing banana and Nutella crepes. The docks were abuzz with excitement as 33 boats in the Barbados 50 rally were preparing for departure. We said our final goodbyes and gave the many see-you-in-Barbados hugs to friends before jumping on Laridae and slipping the dock lines around 10 am.

Our exit from the harbour was swift as we were able to turn off the engine immediately and enjoy sailing downwind in the São Vicente Canal (the channel between São Vicente and Santo Antão). The channel funnelled the typical 15-20 knot trade winds into a brisk 25-30 knot hoot that allowed us to quickly clear the islands.

Other than the active sail handling exercises, we had a mellow Day 1 as we all attempted to work into our passage routines. The kids took a nap during the day, Angela cooked a delicious vegetable and ginger fried rice, and the evening concluded with a snuggled-up family reading from Harry Potter (book 3). Fortunately for all, everyone’s sea legs came quickly and we were all feeling well enough to enjoy “Cocktail Hour” (consisting of mocktails!) and a great dinner.

However, there was no way to escape the wind shadow and disruptions that the two large (and tall!) islands have on the steady trade winds. After blasting out of the São Vicente Canal with NE winds, we were met with calm winds and very confused seas. A short while later, we picked up about 15 knots of winds from the north for about 30 minutes, then the winds went calm again before picking up from the south at 15 knots. This lasted, again, for about 30 minutes before another period of calm and then another wind shift to NE winds, and then SE, and then NE again! We did a lot of gybes during this period.

The long extent of oscillating winds in the lee of the islands is (we think) caused by Von Karmen Vortices. This is the same reason that flags wave on a flag pole. You should Google it (we can’t at sea!). Eventually, about 60 miles away from the island (3 diameters for the physical oceanographers), the NE trade winds finally kicked in with a steady 20 knots. At dawn on Day 2, we set the downwind sails (genoa poled out to windward, staysail poled out to leeward) and started the downwind run to Barbados.

The total straight-line distance from Mindelo to Barbados is 2020 miles. This is a strategic departure location because it means that, just a few hours after departure, we were able to celebrate the important milestone of “only 1999 miles left!” The 24-hour total run was 130 miles.

Passage to Cape Verde: Day 6

Day 6: 17 October 2016

After sailing much of last night in slowly diminishing winds, we reluctantly turned the motor on at 0230 and started the final leg of the passage to the town of Mindelo, on the island of Sao Vicente, in the Cape Verde Island group. At dawn, we were again surrounded with glassy calm conditions.

Shortly after breakfast, we started seeing more flying fish. We have reported about seeing “loads” of flying fish on previous days, but now we really mean “LOADS” of flying fish. We would frequently see ten or more fish shoot out of the water ahead of the boat and fly in all directions trying to escape prey (or being run over!). The fish would be so close to the boat that we could make out the various colours in their shimmery skin. We would see big flying fish (maybe 25 cm long) and very small (baby?) flying fish (about 10 cm long). And then the dolphins came! They played in our bow wake for about ten minutes before journeying off to give another boat a post-breakfast show.

This was the first truly hot day of the passage. The sun was out in full force. The winds were about 5 knots from behind and we were motoring at about 5 knots, so there was no breeze over the deck or down below. The engine was like a hot furnace in the centre of the boat. It was about 30 deg C below with about 75% humidity – sticky and hot.

To beat the heat, we enjoyed cold foods; cereal with cold milk for breakfast and triple-decker club sandwiches (sliced chicken and cheese on the bottom layer, ripe avocado and crispy-fried chorizo on the top layer). We also served cold gazpacho soup – very refreshing! The cold, fruity cocktails were double-tall this afternoon!

The kids focused on a lot of school work so that they could spend more time exploring ashore upon arrival. Angela, creative as always with incredible teaching methods, designed a way to teach Dorian and Anneka’s math lessons with colourful artwork projects. They called the project “Art Math.” Angela was heard to exclaim “this is my kind of art”, and Anneka replied “this is my kind of math!”

At 1430 this afternoon, after 12 hours of motoring, we calculated that we could reach the shores of Mindelo at sunrise (17 hours later) if we were able to keep up an average speed of about 4 knots. Since we have been enjoying a 0.5 to 0.75 knot current in our favour, we only needed to keep a boat speed of about 3.5 knots. We knew that this was possible despite the light winds, so we very happily turned off the motor and begun our final (slow) sail to Mindelo. With the motor off and the winds crossing the deck and filtering below, we were relieved of some of the heat and excited with the prospect of making landfall the next morning.

At the time of writing, we are 23 miles from land and look forward to arriving shortly after breakfast tomorrow, making this 800 mile passage in about 6.5 days. The daily run for Day 3 was 117 miles (again).


Passage to Cape Verde: Day 5

Day 5: 16 October 2016

After starting the motor at 9 PM the previous night, we motored all through the night and emerged into glassy calm conditions at sunrise. Also emerging at sunrise were Anneka and Dorian to wish the on-watch crew (Eric) a happy birthday!

Somehow, during stolen moments when Eric was either on watch, or sleeping, the crew decorated the interior of the boat with bunting flags and a hung up a large handmade Happy Birthday poster. Chef Angela out did herself (again!) by making a pile of yummy crepes topped with homemade fresh apple jam.

We didn’t have any wind during the day, but the calm conditions allowed for a lot of flying fish sightings. Scared by the boat, or perhaps a hungry prey, the fish shot out of the water and flew for a hundred meters (or more!) across the calm sea. The kids truly thought that it was birds they were watching some of the time.

Facing a long day of motoring we arranged for a social swim call with the crew on Sameera just a few miles away from us. We agreed on a common waypoint and meeting time, and we both steamed towards the rendezvous spot. We met up at 2:30 PM and enjoyed swimming and bathing in the warm ocean waters (about 27 deg C). The crew on Sameera launched an inflatable swimming pool raft and lounged behind the back of their boat while some of their older kids swam to our boat for a visit.

Taking advantage of the calm conditions, and the additional kids on board, we decided this was a good opportunity to deploy the MetOcean SVP Iridium ocean drifting buoy. This buoy was kindly donated to Laridae by the manufacture (MetOcean Data in Halifax) as a scientific research and teaching tool. It has internal batteries, GPS, temperature sensor, and Iridium satellite communications so it can drift with the ocean currents, measure the ocean temperature, and report its speed, direction and position every one hour for several years. We are presently working on launching the real-time mapping page on our website, and we hope to provide a link to it shortly after we arrive in Cape Verde.

Just before pulling up the swim ladder and getting back underway, the crew of Sameera swam back to Laridae with a waterproof box containing a freshly backed German apple cake accompanied by a chorus of Happy Birthday songs. This was truly a special way to celebrate Eric’s 29th birthday (ok, so maybe time is counted differently while on long ocean passages), and we are sincerely thankful for the memorable experiences!

Shortly after we started motoring again towards Cape Verde, we were able to enjoy a very special cocktail hour with cold fruity drinks and warm birthday cake. As we were finishing the last sips, we were greeted by a showing of about five small dolphins playing in our bow wake. We have not been able to confirm the interpretation, but we think that their squeaks were also a happy birthday song, but possibly not in English or German.

We continued to motor until 9 PM when the wind filled in from the NE at a steady 10 knots. We happily turned off the motor after 24 hours and unfurled the sails. We are now making slow but again steady progress towards Cape Verde, and we are hopeful that the wind pressure will persist (although at the time of this writing, it has weakened to about 6 knots).

Our total run for Day 5 was 117 miles, and we are hopeful to arrive to Cape Verde about mid-day on the 18th of October.

Passage to Cape Verde: Day 4

Day 4: 15 October 2016

You may have noted that a theme of the passage updates for this trip have been the continual forecast for diminishing winds. We expected to have the wind diminish towards the end of Day 3 and we were sure that we would need to motor all of Day 4 and Day 5. However, we continued to have great sailing conditions through the night of Day 3 and into the morning of Day 4. We were pleased with each hour of consistent 12-15 knots of wind pushing us gently towards Cape Verde.

Shortly after sunrise, we were able to pick up a few close boats (Sameera & Jiyu) on the VHF radio. We were not able to see the boats on the horizon or AIS, but we knew that they were nearby (10-20 miles away) from our intended course and speed. The VHF conversation was focused on the numerous flying fish that we had all seen the previous night and the occasional crash-landing of a fish on the deck. Jiyu was hit by two flying fish; one landed on the deck and one entered the window and landed below! Since there wasn’t enough meat to feed the family, the crew of Jiyu tossed the fish back overboard. This discussion immediately encouraged Dorian and Anneka to scan the decks of Laridae, and sure enough, they found one fish on the port deck. Unfortunately for the fish (and for our breakfast plans), the poor choice of flight path was too long ago, and the fish was well dead (and partially dehydrated).

As you do with young kids on board, and plenty of time on your hands, we immediately started to dissect the fish and examine its stomach contents. After that short biology lesson, the obvious next step was to use the fish as a lure. After inserting a hook through its mouth, we connected it to our fishing line and tossed it overboard – thereby starting the next science lesson about the food chain. Dorian went into the common endless loop thoughts of an inquisitive nine year old and asked “what if a bigger fish bit the lure and then a bigger fish ate it, and a bigger fish ate it, and a bigger . . .?” Eliana was just happy that we had tossed the “lawyer” over the side to try to catch a big fish, and she asked us several times if we were still towing the “lawyer” behind the boat?!?!

While we are documenting cute Eliana phrases, it is worth noting that she has told us:
1. She does not like taking bus tours of volcanic islands because she is concerned that the volcano could “interrupt” her.
2. She is asking if we can find a “dock” halfway across the ocean so that she can rest and take a break from the rocking & rolling action onboard.

The next part of the morning was characterized by the deep, philosophical discussions that are possible when time is not counted the same as on shore. Anneka opened the discussion by asking “If you had the choice to live with small wings that would allow you to fly, would you want them?” We all decided that we would want to have the wings, but finding custom clothing to allow the wings to stick out from under our shirts would be a real challenge. Eric said he would need to find a different job because custom-fit suits (with wing holes) would be very expensive!

As forecast, the very steady wind of 12-15 knots slowly decreased to about 10-12 knots during the course of the morning. We took advantage of the diminishing wind and the stable weather to hoist the spinnaker again and keep the speed going towards Cape Verde. We enjoyed several hours of perfect spinnaker sailing — maintaining a wind angle of about 140-150 degrees with about 10 knots of apparent wind, and keeping up a speed of about 7 knots. The wind would slightly back, veer, gust, and lull over a period of 10-20 minutes, but a close attention to the autopilot allowed us to keep the boat moving safely and efficiently. Finally, after several hours of minding the helm in these nice conditions, Eric decided that the wind was plenty stable enough to go below for a short toilet break. Having not been down below for more than two minutes, the wind suddenly picked up to 20+ knots and Laridae was doing 10 knots surfing down the waves! With the crew rushing on deck, we doused the sail while the boat was roaring through the ocean with whitewater spraying up on both sides of the bow! Of course, as soon as the spinnaker was safely recovered (in fine fashion, I might add!), the wind resumed its previous 10-12 knot speed. . . for the next several hours! It is funny to note that those few minutes of 20+ knot winds were the ONLY occasion that we have encountered that much wind on this ENTIRE passage (so far)!

We continued to run before 12-15 knot winds for the rest of the afternoon and through dinner. Finally, at about 9 PM, the forecasted lull came quickly and within the span of about ten minutes we were left with light and variable winds. We started the motor to charge the batteries and begin our putt-putt-putt through this (hopefully) small high pressure zone to find more winds on the other side. We expect to be motoring through the night of Day 4 and much of Day 5.


Passage to Cape Verde: Day 3

Day 3: 14 October 2016

Our third day at sea has been similar to the past two days. We are lucky to continue to receive about 10-15 knots of wind from behind (NNE) and have not used the motor since the middle of Day 1.

We set two important ‘halfway’ milestones today. First, we are now halfway to Cape Verde. We crossed the 400 mile mark and now have less than 400 miles to go. More momentous is the halfway to-the-Caribbean milestone that we also have achieved today! We have traveled a total of 2500 miles since leaving Inverness, Scotland, and we have about 2500 miles remaining until we arrive in the Caribbean (400 miles to Cape Verde + 2100 miles from Cape Verde to Barbados). While we are halfway to the Caribbean, we are only about 25% of our time through the one-year trip (July-October). This means that we get to slow down substantially once we arrive in the Caribbean and really enjoy the numerous islands, anchorages, cultures, and people — without a lot of long ocean passages in between.

We decided to celebrate these milestones today with a nice lemon cake. We will celebrate in true fashion tomorrow with . . . showers! 🙂

Today was also a day of flying. We have passed loads of schools of flying fish. As the boat approaches, they get startled and fly, en masse, across the sea. They seem to usually head upwind and can fly above the surface for distances of up to about 100 m! So far, none have landed on the boat, but we will continue to scan the decks for a free protein addition to our meals.

We also flew the spinnaker for about three hours today. The wind and seas were just the right combination to give us the motivation to unleash the Happy Hippie (the 40 foot tall mascot emblazoned on the spinnaker). We were sailing downwind with about 15 knots of true wind (7-9 knots apparent) at an apparent wind angle of about 150 degrees. The 1.5 m swell was directly behind us and we were maintaining speeds of 6-7 knots and occasionally surfing the waves at up to 9.5 knots! It was a fun ride while it lasted, but we ultimately had to take it down and go back to flying the white sails as dinner and the SSB net (managed by Angela) approached. The spinnaker is still on deck and may be flown tomorrow again as the wind is forecast to be lighter.

After sailing 400 miles on a port tack since leaving El Hierro, we decided to do something adventurous – gybe! Based on the weather forecast and the winds, we gybed to starboard tack and started sailing on a direct course for our destination in Cape Verde. The is true ocean sailing where you can sail 800 miles and only need to turn once!

Still no fish today, but we lost another lure. We are hopeful that the more frequent sightings of flying fish, frequent lure losses, and therefore the ever-rising-cost-of-the-first-fish-we-catch (now estimated at £50/kg!) are good signs and we will continue to do our best to land a beast.

Night watch finds us sailing under a full moon and very calm seas with about 10-12 knots of wind behind us. While these conditions do not make for epic sailing stories, we are very happy to continue to glide effortlessly through the water at a speed of about 4.5 knots (aided by a 0.5 knot current!), have a comfortable ride, and enjoy the time together. The calm is occasionally interrupted by the sights and sounds of dolphins splashing about to catch their dinner of fresh flying fish.

The total run today was 126 miles. Tomorrow is forecast to have the wind slowly decrease and we expect to be motoring by tomorrow afternoon and possibly much of the 16th before catching a little wind for the final push to Cape Verde.

[cat passage]

Passage to Cape Verde: Day 2

Day 2: 13 October 2016

Day two dawned bright with a sunrise at about 0715 UTC after having a very, very nice night sail with about 15 knots of steady wind from behind (NNE). We didn’t touch the sails or autopilot all night — we just continued to sail at a nice pace, with fairly low sea state, towards our intended direction of Cape Verde.

We are happy when days pass “uneventfully” while hundreds of miles away from shore. Today was another happily-uneventful day! Or, perhaps, events are simply appreciated differently on a passage. Todays events were highlighted by deployment of the hydro-generator, a close encounter with a fishing boat, and — as usual — food!

We had the grand excitement of deploying the hydro-generator for the first time. This piece of kit came with the boat and creates 12V DC power when we are sailing. The good news is that it works, and that it is very quiet! We can’t hear it running, but it is steadily generating about 2-5 amps of power (depending on our boat speed). It’s hard to get an accurate reading, but it doesn’t seem to slow us down more than about a tenth of a knot.

About mid-day, we noticed a largish (~100 ft) boat about four miles away on the horizon. It wasn’t on AIS, and it seamed to be making random changes to its course. Slowly, it altered course towards us and ended up passing about a half mile behind us. While a half mile is another postal code at home, at sea, especially when virtually alone at sea, this felt quite close. We think that it was a fishing boat and it was tending nets or lines of some sort. It continued to make seemingly random manoeuvres as it moved slowly towards the East and the coast of Africa.

Food was another highlight of the day. We enjoyed ginger fried rice for lunch, Angela’s freshly-boat-made chocolate chip cookies for a snack, and pasta with fresh veggie sauce for dinner. Meal choices on a passage are opposite of meal choices on land. On land, we are inspired to cook based on what veggies look the freshest and most-appetizing in the store. At sea, however, we are encouraged to cook based on what veggies look worst and must-be-eaten-that-night-because-they-won’t-last-until-morning. Not to worry — we have loads of good food onboard and no one will be going hungry!

The kids continue to make good progress on their schoolwork. In math, Anneka is working on converting units of size, weight and volume in the metric system, Dorian is working on early geometry, and Eliana is working on letters (and cutting and taping everything in sight, as usual!). You can imagine Anneka’s confusion after living and studying in countries that use the metric system (grams), the Imperial system (pounds), and the Pound (£) for currency. The kids are allowed to watch a movie, in French (!), as part of their language studies. Today’s pick was Cinderella.

We enjoyed pre-dinner cocktail hour while listening to the Freakonomics Podcast about “How to win games and beat people.” The title sounds fairly aggressive, but it is a very nice story about a British mathematician who interviewed experts about many of the common games (from pillow-fights and skipping stones to hang-man, Battleship, and rock-paper-scissors) and determined the most systematic approach to winning each game. Fair warning — you do not want to bet against Angela when it comes to playing future games of Connect Four!

As we are writing from night watch now, we are enjoying another lovely evening under sail. We are starting to learn the star patterns and can see Orion over the port beam and Pleades directly overhead. The moon sets seem to be happening about 20 minutes later each night as they are now bracketing the watch change at 0400. The nearly-full moon has made nigh sailing brilliant. We don’t need a headlamp to check the sails. The only complaint, if it could be made, is that the bright moon is making it difficult to see the amazing trails of bioluminescence in our wake and with each cresting wave (or surfing dolphin). The hardships we must endure!

Our Day 2 twenty-four hour run was 121 miles, which puts us about 1/3 of our total distance traveled towards Cape Verde. The forecast for tomorrow is more of the same 8-12 knot winds from behind, then getting lighter for a couple of days before filling in again near Cape Verde.

Passage to Cape Verde: Day 1

Day 1: 12 October 2016

We departed El Hierro, Canary Islands at about 7 PM local time on 11 October. We were joined by three other kid boats departing at the same time (Sameera, Balenec & Kirikou). The passage from Canary Islands to Cape Verde Islands is about 780 miles and should take about 6-7 days, depending on the wind conditions. We decided to depart on the evening of the 11th to take advantage of good winds and to get another 60-100 miles further south (compared to leaving the next morning) as some fluky weather is forecast for the Canary Islands over the weekend. We were able to sail almost immediately after leaving the harbour and we relished the 15 knots of wind from the NNE (from behind us). Pushed along by the wind and a favourable current, we made good time all through the night until the winds became very light at about 9 AM on the 12th.

As our goal was to push southwards, we started the motor and steamed south most of the day in very light tail winds and fairly calm seas. It was a nice, but fairly uneventful day. The kids did some schoolwork, we fished (but did not catch — although one lure was missing, so that should be a good sign!), and cooked some good food. A breakfast of “birds nests” nourished the the hungry crew. Cocktail hour was observed with a mix of cold tropical juices and lemon soda, and topped off with large wedges of fresh limes. A dinner of “Laridae’s famous veggie chilli” concluded the evening. The kids pulled out their sea charts and started logging our (slow) progress towards the Cape Verde Islands with notes and drawings along our path. Our 24 hour run from 7 PM to 7 PM was 142 miles.

As the sun set, the winds kicked in a little, just as forecast. We are presently sailing with about 10-12 knot following breeze and are VERY happy to have the engine off after 10 hours of motoring. The forecast is for about 48 hours of 8-12 knot winds, then getting light again. More updates to come on Day 2! 🙂

Portugal to Canary Islands: Day 2

Day 2 (Friday 2 September):
— 150 total miles by 8am

Throughout the day, we enjoyed a steady 15-17 knots of wind from behind. We ran under poled-out genoa and the main for much of the day. As we moved further offshore, the water was blue, then bluer, and finally bluer yet! It was a translucent, indigo colour that only Crayola could properly name. The most memorable part of a fairly consistent day was sitting on the back deck with the kids and watching the waves.

Thankfully, with the consistent weather, the swell began to decrease. Over the course of the evening, the wind diminished as well and a dense fog set in. For a stretch, the visibility was down to roughly 3-4 miles. At least one 900-foot tanker passed within 5 miles of us and we never once saw it – aside from on AIS. We were very thankful for AIS and the ability to see the information about passing tankers and cargo ships. A few times, we gave the ships a call on the radio. It was great to hear that they could see us, and to learn of their destinations and intentions.

After the sun set, the wind dropped to 10 knots from behind and was causing a bit of a flapping of the sails as we rolled over the remnant swells. We took in the main and poled out the staysail so that we could enjoy a bit more quiet throughout the night. As the wind dropped down to 6-9 knots later that night, and our speed with it sadly, we were thankful for having down so.