To Azores Day 6

Sunday July 30

We did 96 NM yesterday in 24 hours and that’s a new record for this leg of the adventure. The sea-state is still very angry but moving us, for the most part, in the right direction so it’s still dealable.

1462 NM remaining on this leg.

Dena’s 1-4pm watch

1:50 pm: As soon as I came up for my shift, we decided to pull that second reef. We don’t need to do 6 knots in a building wind. “Reef early” may as well be on a needlepoint sampler when it comes to the great and powerful Cetacea.


After I pulled the reef and unclipped my tether to return to the cockpit (no lectures, jacklines are on the list), I saw a little flying fish on the deck. There was no saving it but I threw it back in the water regardless.

And then I saw it. A large fish, iridescent blue, green, and purple when the light flashed on it just right. James says it’s a dorado, same kind he saw stalking the boat yesterday. Or maybe stalking the flying fish.

I’m glad we did reef. We’re still in the 5 knot realm more often than not. A few days of good mileage will balance the slow start we got, but I’m at home on the boat and in no hurry to arrive anywhere. I’m sure I’ll be missing some very common foods by then (bread, eggs, cheese, for example) but if it goes well, we’ll stop to get what we want rather than out of desperation. And to see the Azores, of course!

The theme of being at home has been on my mind a lot, and it makes me think about the pandemic restrictions. James and I are so much more fundamentally fit to thrive in that kind of situation. Our lives aren’t wrapped around going-out type activities. Our friend groups are small and, since we’re always on the move, largely message-interfaced already.

I felt constrained mostly around grocery shopping, and that lasted quite a while. Masking wasn’t the end of the world but I stopped when I was allowed…except at the grocery store. It just felt like too many people, so many of whom flaunted bad masking and distancing practices. There’s also such a wide range of demographics coming together, some more vulnerable, some less likely to get vaccinated. Sigh.

Anyway, we established in fact that we are Just Fine, Dandy Actually when in each other’s company, with Beluga Greyfinger, on the boat, nearly all the time. Swimming and walking filled physical activity needs. Boat improvement projects served to let us feel useful.

Well, we’re doing some small projects but swimming and walking are out. This environment works the body in some ways and cramps it in others. But the company couldn’t be better.

I’m happy here, at home. A home which is currently surfing down the leading waves of a storm system we’re set up to miss, if the forecasts were right within a hundred miles or so of where they said it would be. Here’s hoping!

Dena’s 5-6 pm watch

After five hours today we’ve already hit 25 NM! By far our fastest day so far this side of the Gulfstream. The wind is fresh enough to drop that second reef but the boat is handling the sea-state and the run like a champ.

The dorado pacing us for a few days is harvesting flying fish by the boat-load all around Cetacea. I (James) tried to catch him the first day but all he did was swim next to my lure…cheeky bastard! Beautiful animals those Mahi-Mahi!

Glimmering clouds

Dena’s 9-midnight watch

11:06 pm: The sky and breeze keep threatening the storm we’re aiming to be south of, but then it settles down a while. When the wind increases, it would strain our mainsail without the second reef, but it’s ahem peaceful in the lulls. Oh well, I’d just as soon be in the band of uncertainty since the alternatives are doldrum and storm.

What I really dread is the gray shield covering the so nearly full moon and those stars that beam through the overwhelming moonlight. Makes for boring night watches!

Clouds in the dark

James’ 6-9 am watch

Then there was the overnight churn…

I somehow managed to wake myself up hitting my head on the portside cabinetry over and over and over again for my 9-12 pm down watch and it set me off all fucking night!

At midnight I went out on deck to a brightly ¾ moonlit Ocean that seemed to be angry specifically at me…I know… The Earth’s Ocean Cares Not…so I sit and stare at shit.

Big clouds in the morning

I’m writing this on my 6-9am watch. The seas haven’t laid down much but I can tell we’ve gone south enough overnight to put us in a calmer sea-state. I feel much better now that I’m not banging my head on the cabinetry in sloppy seas.

Anger is a human energy…I mean animals seem to get mad but my anger is the only kind I somewhat comprehend. When it goes off in a pitching sea, there’s a moment when I let it go because storing that much energy inside me seems so much more dangerous to myself then just screaming the word FUCK!


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