WHEN: Monday April 4th (post written on April 5th)
WHERE: 08:13N 122:47W
MILEAGE: didn’t take measurements
On Monday (yesterday) we completed one full week at sea. During this week we covered the light winds area (Step 1 on this voyage) and got well into the Trade Winds (Step 2). We’ve had mostly great sailing, and a few hiccups – very few. We feel blessed. It’s been mostly positive to us, with its challenges as well. I will try on this post to provide a [written] picture of how life is/has been for us so far.
To start with, the days don’t really “start” and “end” here, like on land. First because we are always alert taking care of the boat, and second because as we are gaining a lot of longitude, sunrise and sunset have quickly “disconnected” from our watches back on Puerto Vallarta time. Today, for instance, sunrise was at around 10am, and sunset yesterday was slightly after 9pm. I could be adjusting our watches to the true “local” time, but thought it would be unnecessary complexity. Rather, we are anchored at the UTC (“gmt”) time for all weather and navigation stuff, and EST / Sao Paulo times for blog posting. Besides, it’s kind of cool to not have a “local hour” for a change.
From the above, the next topic that comes up is sleep. Forget those 7-8 hr nights of sleep. Here, one of us (Adri/ Myself) needs to be always on the cockpit watching the boat, the instruments, the environment, and surroundings. So, what we do is to rotate on watches. I know people who have set watch schedules, and can see the value of this system, but for us we noticed a more loose schedule works well. When I am feeling fit I relieve Adriana to get some more rest and vice versa. And when we are both tired, we decide who goes on watch according to the circumstances at times. What happens as a consequence is that you don’t take long sleeps. Rather, a number of 1-hr to 3-hr naps along the day (and night). And, at least to me, I am impressed at how well the body can adapt to this regimen. As soon as the brain notices the body is ready for a nap, I fall deep asleep instantaneously and wake up 1 or 3 hrs later feeling restored. However, as we have been learning the hard way, patchy sleep is very different from sleep deprivation. The last three nights have been very rolly, one in fact worse than the other. With Pesto’s wild movement, it’s been difficult to fall asleep. And now we started to feel really tired.
Ok, and when we are not sleeping, what do we do? Adriana and I spend most of our days in the cockpit. We rarely walk around on deck, for safety reasons. Only when a maneuver is in need. We normally have one to two maneuvers to accomplish every day (more in the last two days). Raquel also spends a lot of time with us, outside. Paulo is more of an indoors guy, and has been reading, watching videos and playing videogame. As the days go by, it has become more and more common for us to sit in the cockpit – all four – and have long conversations. From Paulo describing to us how he envisions a “floating city” to be built and serve as a pitstop for voyaging boats, to remembering passages and facts of our life together. One recurrent topic has been my mother’s and my mother in law’s culinary prowess. Memories of my in-law’s delicious cauliflower pasta or my mom’s signature Feijoada brought water to our mouths. Oh, we even discovered Raquel hasn’t had the opportunity to taste my mother’s exquisite Strawberry Cake yet – precisely her, who is an enthusiast berry-lover (mom, something we will need to fix upon our next trip to Ilhabela). Another activity that quickly gained buy-in is group reading. A couple days ago Adriana started reading a book out loud for Raquel. Paulo soon joined, and I confess I have also been trying to follow the story whenever I can. One activity that often highlights the day is Message Reading. From the many Messages in a Bottle that were sent to us before departure to the kind messages we receive by Satellite, we relish in reading the beautiful messages of support and love. THANK YOU!!!
We take three meals per day – breakfast, a hearty lunch, and a light snack after sunset. Adriana and I often grab mini snacks during the night watches. During this first week, we have eaten mostly fresh stuff: often a combination of salad, a vegetable, and quinoa, eggs or tofu for protein. We are taking minimal dairy, no milk at all, and just small portions of chocolate. Granola, nuts and oat bars have been a night-favorite. Starting this week (the second) we begin eating the meals we pre-cooked before departure. On today’s menu, for instance, there’s shredded chicken breast, slow cooked, with freshly made whole rice. Yummm!
With all this how about seasickness? To start with, we avoid things that trigger seasickness – dairy being one of them. Then there are the individual patterns. Paulo is super resistant to seasickness, and has suffered very little. Adriana often gets seasick when she spends long times in the cabin, but she has a notable capacity to recover quickly. Raquel and I compete for the most-seasickness-prone title onboard. But, as mentioned before, I am taking sturgeron and that has taken seasickness out of my system. Raquel, on the other hand, refused to take it and fell seasick on day 2. She lay in the cockpit for the rest of the week, eating and drinking very minimal amounts. We were growing concerned. Then, yesterday, precisely when we had the roughest seas yet, she stood up, a grin on the face, said she had “gotten in the groove”, said she was starving and went in the cabin to play with Paulo. She’s acquired her sea legs.
Now, some housekeeping. With no outside dirt coming in, the cabin has stayed cleaner than I expected. We are also keeping it reasonably tidy. Trash has been less than an issue than I anticipated as well. All plastic and carton leftovers are cleaned, then folded carefully, and stuffed inside large containers. All organic waste goes to the sea, as well as paper (all purpose-built biodegradable rating). Due to the constant movement, it is always difficult to move inside, and each of us have bruises from it. Adriana even probably broke a toe right on day one, when she tripped inside the cabin (it’s been treated and she is fine now).
Energy: we have been using a lot. Electronics, satellite communication, fridge/ freezer and the autopilot. Unfortunately the solar panels aren’t being able to do their best due to shadows, clouds and bird poop, and we are having to run the generator a lot more than anticipated. Something of a concern for the latter stages of this voyage, when having the ability to motor for long hours is a premium.
And how does it feel, in general? Yesterday morning I was talking to Adriana about it, and the short answer is that it feels great. Every day we take strong pride measuring our progress and watching our track get longer over the map. To watch the deep blue color of the ocean out here is a privilege we are very fond of. The little interaction there is with sealife is always a reward. Everyday we look forward to reading messages received from family and friends, and take great joy in knowing dear people are sharing this experience with us on the blog. There is also a strong sense of belonging. There are over 20 yachts doing the jump right now. We communicate with them over the radio and satellite comms. And, finally but perhaps most important, Adriana and I feel good to be providing this experience for Paulo and Raquel.
So, that’s it, my written picture of how it has been to us so far.
Have questions or curiosity regarding any of these or other aspects of our life out here? Send us a free message, and we will reply here on the blog. Instructions can be found at www.familygonesailing.com/links.
Have a great week!