Lüderitz to St. Helena - Days 11 & 12

google map of st helena Day 11

Miles to go: 252

A rip-roaring night of strong winds and big seas that tossed us around like a toy boat in a bathtub with a toddler making waves. A full moon gazed down on us from a clear, star-filled sky. Waves broke over the side, dousing the on-watch crew with ice cold sea water.  Down below was no place to be unless you were snug in a bunk. In contrast to the still, warm afternoon, these 25-30 knot winds were cold and penetrating. We recovered the layers we'd shed and bundled up once again.

On a broad reach, the wind smacked us hard in the face and our eyes teared up constantly. With a brilliant moon illuminating the seas, we could see the building waves coming at us, their frothy, white-capped crests rising and breaking, and then the loud, nerve-wracking thud as they crashed into the hull. Cups would hesitate and shudder for a moment like a boxer shaking off a well-placed right hook, then get back to her course. To add to the merriment of the evening, it showered off and on, BUT we were at last covering some miles.  And then a grey dawn broke and the wind settled down to 15-18 knots. The sea maintained its waves and chop till late morning, then it, too, cooperated in getting us on our way a bit more comfortably, though with a definite chill.

Much of our time lately has been consumed with long chats about our future because after getting across the Atlantic and eventually up to the Carib, we have no plans. This is unlike us. We usually have a zillion plans which admittedly change frequently, but we do have plans. Big world, so many things to see and places to go. We've considered heading to Europe...expensive and crowded, but it's Europe. Or maybe hanging out in the Carib for awhile...visiting Cuba now that it's legal for Americans or spending time in Central America. Of course, we could head through the Canal again and cross the Pacific, the easy way this time...on the Coconut Milk Run and end up in Asia. Or maybe just head up to the States for awhile and enjoy easy sailing on the East Coast and up to Maritime Canada. Then what? We're not getting any younger, but we're healthy and not feeling all that old. We're pretty blessed and we know it. There's still some sailing years left in us and in Cups. David said it so well the other day...sailing on Cups defines who and what we are right now. Closing that chapter on life isn't something we could easily do. So stay tuned...we'll figure it all out.

In the meantime, with any luck, we should be in St. Helena in two days.

Day 12

Miles to go: 139

A mild night  and reasonable progress towards St. Helena.  The full moon rose abruptly. One minute the eastern horizon was dark and the next ..boom, an explosion of light and there was the moon...huge and orange! It shone ever so so brightly, much to the chagrin of the stars that seem to fade in the ambient moon glow.

And not to be outdone, the sun made a spectacular appearance this morning, too, heralding its arrival with such vivid color that there should have been a regal fanfare to accompany it. WOW! The moon was still up when the sun appeared, but it scuttled down towards the horizon rather quickly as the sun rose higher, and soon faded from view. A pleasant day filled with chat and minor chores and a couple of jibes as the wind tended more southerly, then easterly. It's still quite cool here though we're only 17 degrees south of the equator. I know, I know...soon we'll be complaining about the heat and humidity. Bring it on!

At the captain's prompting,whenever it's been calm enough the last few days, I've been practicing my lassoing skills on the aft deck. There were no visitor moorings the last time we visited St. Helena, but there are now and we're required to use them. There are, however, no mooring pick-up pennants, so lassoing the big mooring ball is the way to pick it up and secure our lines to it. David, the Colorado cowboy, has been coaching me and I'm getting reasonably proficient at lassoing the deck box though I'd never make it on the rodeo circuit. We'll see how lassoing a live, bucking mooring ball works out.

One more night of watches ... St. Helena tomorrow!