Our first day passed peacefully and conditions remained constant allowing us to make 45 miles in our first seven hours. There were squalls everywhere on the horizon and we can see that each dark cloud drags beneath it a gray slant of heavy rain. None of them seem to touch us and we continue on in the sunshine. The island bird of Bermuda, the Bermuda Longtail, has
Thursday, July 14 2:00 a.m.
The ocean has been quiet since Tuesday. Our good wind only lasted that first day. Now there are no more than ripples on swells so long and big it is easy not to notice them at all. We have beenAnna Keranina and began The Wind Up Bird Chronicle. Max is reading The Wanderer by Sterling The Chronicles of Narnia. It really is one of my favorite parts of life at sea.
At 3:00 we stopped to swim in the big, empty ocean. The water was flat and looked like opaque cobalt paint. I had the feeling that as soon as I jumped in I would no longer be visible. Max thinks it's creepy to swim in a 1000 fathoms of water. He says it's like being atop the Empire State Building, and jumping. I jumped off the rail and found that the water was perfectly clear, every aspect of the keel perfectly visible, bright turquoise against the darker blue, with our bottom paint already coming off and the sacrificial zincs deeply pitted. When you look down at that depth
Excerpts from Max's journal...
Its July 12th 2016 and Laura and I are sailing on our own, en route from Bermuda to the Caribbean, exactly the way I have imagined it since we first found Tortuga tied to a cold and lonely dock in the Bronx. I can't help but feel surprised that our plan materialized so smoothly over the last two years. You would think with so much required foresight and so much opportunity for disaster, something would have derailed us by now, but it hasn't and I am cautiously optimistic that nothing will. On the other hand, I keep asking myself why I should feel so surprised. If you make a plan and follow thru with it over the course of a long period of time, the reward should be to achieve exactly what you envisioned. I find it ironic that had we decided on a week long vacation in Bermuda, and flown in and out via direct flights over the course of a few hours, it would hardly phase us or any one else. Yet restoring, creating, fixing, and laboring for every mile it took to get here feels surreal. Goes to show you how accustomed we have become to the luxury of instant satisfaction.
This project we are in the middle of right now has been the most challenging, dynamic, and enjoyable thing I have ever done. Its not just sailing but the process as a whole. From New York to Bermuda it was fascinating to watch every little component, modification, and invention perform or fail miserably at its intended purpose. We arrived in Bermuda thrilled with the boat's overall performance
I do expect the boat the settle down over time. As we discover and replace the weakest links in the chain, our role as boat restorers will gradually transition to that of boat maintainers, on the look out for links that have gone thru their natural life cycle of wear and tear. Regardless of our role, I do realize that we must always be vigilant. Ever since we motored down the Hudson, I have had a steady yet mild sense of paranoia. I can't help but investigate every new noise, bit of dirt, corrosion, or leak to assess its source and potential impact. I credit this ever present sense to my father, not because it's something I inherited, but because of all the years he lent me his boat and let Flying Fish. I hope some day I can pay forward that experience to someone else, but not till we make it safely back home.
3:00 am, Friday July 15
I'm on watch and Laura is sleeping below. I'm sitting above the cat walk leaning up against the folded up dingy which makes for a really comfortable back rest at 15 degrees heel. The boat is sailing itself on a close reach in 10 knots of breeze. I'm shirtless and the air feels warm and wonderful although it's the middle of the night. Laura would be mad at me being out here without my harness but it's too nice to cover up. I don't think I need my pants to be comfortable but I happened to have them on and I'm too lazy to take them off just to see, although the thought has crossed my mind.
There are more stars overhead than anyone could ever count, simply because the second you look away from one spot, more pop up where you were just looking. When you look back, most of them disappear again. The Milky Way is there too. We are sailing right along it as if it's the path of another vessel we are following similar to the phosphorescent trail we leave in our wake. Every once in a while there is a shooting star, but I always wish for the same thing. I wish for everything to keep going as well as it has been, for us to complete what we have set out to do, and for us to get home safely. I know you're not suppose to say what you wished for, but no one ever told me I can't write it down. Regardless, I'm proud of my wish. How many people can say all they want is for things to keep going as they are going? I honestly can, at least at this very moment. I know I can't always feel like this but I sure as hell can try. Even when we get back, even when I go back to work, I sure as hell will try.
July 14- Max Catches A Tuna
We are still motoring...another hot day with bed sheets hung in the cockpit for shade. The thin taste of diesel fuel in the air, the black coffee. I relieved Max from his watch at 8:00 and woke him up at 8:30 with questions. By nine he was trying to sleep again when the reel went off with a sharp hiss. I began hopping around the cockpit yelling Fish! Max ! Fish! Max!. I went to the to the reel and saw the line spinning out and then stuck my head down the companionway to see if Max was moving. Back at the reel I felt that I should take things into my own hands, even though it was Max's fish and I hadn't even looked at the reel to learn its levers and handles. The line was disappearing fast so I flipped a lever. An immediate silence followed and I knew I had lost the fish. Max came on deck and reeled in the empty line. He said that it was his fault,that he hadn't secured the wire leader properly, but I also knew that I shouldn't have flipped that lever. He turned to go back to sleep without rigging the line again. This was strange but I made no suggestions. He had been up since 4:00. Ten minutes later, after a failed attempt to sleep, he returned looking vengeful, with the tackle box in hand. He asked me to make coffee and I obliged, understanding that there would be no sleep until he caught a fish. He hates to lose a fish, but to lose the lure too, and possibly due to insufficient knot tying on his part, was just too much.
As he drank his coffee and sorted through the tackle box, he mumbled about how everyone else cathces fish all the time, that he has never caught one while sailing, and that each time one gets away, that's another $30 lure. I reassured him that all those other people were probably exaggerating, that he just had to keep trying, and that we would certainly be catching fish. I believed all this but Max was trying to chose a new lure, trying to think like a fish, and holding up the different lures pointing out how ridiculous they looked. It was true. In the box are all matter of brightly colored things. Wormy
Hours passed and we had forgotten about the entire situation when the reel went off again. I think Max's feet only touched the boat a few times before he was at the reel. It looked as though he flew right out of the heart of the boat. He let the fish take the line out and then slowly began tensioning it. He slowly reeled it in and told me to go get the gaff. Shit I thought, I am going to have to lean over the rail, gaff it through the gills and haul it in. What if it was huge? I realized that I was an integral part of the success or failure of the situation, and failure wasn't an option. I mumbled, I hope it isn't too big as I went to get the gaff. At the same time Max shouted with a huge smile that it was definitely big. I looked to where he was at the reel and could see his back muscles straining against it. Shit. I returned with the gaff and stood by the rail.
The fish appeared about twenty feet off the stern blindingly silver in the sun, fighting frantically. I could see it was a large Tuna, but also a perfectly reasonable size for us. A fish to be proud of but not too much that any would be wasted. Max reeled it to the rail and I dipped at it with the gaff, missing
We ate so much Tuna. For three days at every meal. Sushi with ginger and rice on day one, ceviche on day two, and then meal after meal of Tuna steaks. It was the best fish I have ever tasted.
The remainder of the passage...
The rest of the passage from Bermuda to Iles de Saintes became increasingly difficult. The winds stayed on our nose and we sailed to weather everyday after the first. The wind picked up but was
When it finally came time to make port, we decided to go to Iles de Saintes, and continue on to
And now, a treat for those of you who made it to the end, and let it be a lesson...sometimes you have to hold on with whatever you can.