Day 44, Year 1: Slogging Along
Date: Wednesday, November 30, 2005
Weather: S Winds, Rough Seas
Air Temperature: 70 degrees F
Water Temperature: 94.1 degrees F
Latitude: N 34 degrees 46.5 minutes
Longitude: W 71 degrees 56.2 minutes
Location: Passage from Norfolk to St. Martin, Day 4
As the weather reports projected, a front has started passing through and is currently sitting on top of us. The winds shifted more to the south during the night which allowed us to finally turn off the motor and sail in an easterly direction. In the early morning, the high winds associated with the leading edge of the front began and we have continued to have uncomfortable sailing conditions. Our advice from Herb on the weather net is to slow down or head southwesterly during the night. That will allow the front to pass and finally sometime tomorrow we should get the northwest winds. We thought that would happen today, but we’ll have to wait one more day. We are sleeping and are able to eat, so all is well. It really is difficult to do much else but we are truly hoping for a better day tomorrow. I know I said that yesterday, but we will just have to wait for the wind shift and what we hope will be smoother sailing.
Life aboard these days revolves around watches, sleep, eating, going to the bathroom, brushing teeth, “maybe” combing hair, and starting over. That’s about it. At 1430 each afternoon, Mark checks into the weather net and I try to write this log while he is on the radio. He sends the log and our position report to Yotreps, and receives and sends e-mail. He then goes to sleep until about 2030. We eat what you might call dinner, and then he is on watch while I sleep until about 0100. I go on watch and try to make it until sunrise around 0700 and then I sleep until about 1100. This is the routine that we have settled into for now. Last night during my night watch I broke out the “Joe Frogger” ginger cookies given to us by Claire Wiklund from Shipyard Quarters. I stored them in the freezer for just the right time and that was last night. I am most definitely a chocolate lover, but right now, chocolate is not appetizing at all. Those ginger cookies were great, Claire. Thank you.
I have been most surprised by our eating habits. Food is not high on the priority list, and since I have a hard time staying below long enough to brush my teeth, cooking is not on the radar screen. I’m certainly not going to win any gourmet recipe contests. Quick and easy is the determiner. The past two nights we have microwaved frozen lasagna I made before leaving, but I’ll have to be more creative tonight. Every morning we eat a boiled egg and a whole wheat biscuit. I boiled the eggs on the way out of the Chesapeake and am very glad I did this. I made biscuits before leaving as well, but we ate the last of those this morning. If we get a weather break, I’ll bake more as they make a quick and easy snack. Even cutting bread becomes a major chore in these weather conditions so keeping the biscuits in a plastic container on the sink counter is quick and easy. We eat lunch in two parts. First we have cheese, crackers, and apple slices, and then later in the afternoon, we heat up some chicken noodle soup. I can see that I should have made and frozen more casseroles. We have plenty of frozen meat and fish, but neither of us wants that right now. A one-dish meal is what you need. Even drinking water is a chore. I bought these great water bottles with screw caps before we left thinking we would keep those close by all the time. I chose not to buy the sport bottles with the sunction tops. Bad choice. The screw caps don’t work. The opening is too large and when you go to take a drink, the boat lurches and you inevitably get drenched with water. We have had to resort to using our finest crystal for drinking-a Sam Adams beer bottle is the drinking utensil of choice. It is kept in the cockpit and refilled as needed. Water is really the only thing I want to drink. I have had one Coke each morning thinking it settles my stomach, but I think that is my imagination.
We have also had to get accustomed to a new interior décor. I would refer to it as “soggy contemporary chaos”. In our v-berth, we have book shelves on both the port and starboard sides. I had carefully cataloged all of the books in an Excel spreadsheet indicating their exact location. Well, that location is now in a pile in the floor along with everything else that was on the v-berth. And I can’t stay below long enough to do anything about it. Then there is the “soggy” part of the new décor. We have these great air vents in the boat that we can open and close to control the air flow. On the outside, these air vents are covered with wooden Dorade boxes designed to keep water from coming into the boat and stainless steel cowl vents to catch the air. Well, the cowl vents also catch any water coming over the deck and the Dorade design that is supposed to keep the water from coming into the boat is just not sufficient for the amount of water we have had coming over. Before we got smart and turned the cowl vents around, we were getting a nice stream of water coming into the boat each time a wave went over the bow. What a mess! The one thing you don’t want IN your boat is salt water, but we are getting used to the new look and feel. We will just have to wait to do the clean up when conditions are considerably different. The one nice thing for now is that if you need anything, you can probably find it in pile on the floor.