There to Here – Namibia and Across the Atlantic

There to Here – Namibia and Across the Atlantic

Join us in the never-ending saga of There to Here ... This week we visit Namibia, cross the Atlantic with a stop at St. Helena Island and then venture on to French Guiana. We think you'll enjoy the ride ... and you won't even get seasick!

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Lüderitz to St. Helena - Days 3 & 4

days 3-4
days 3-4

Day 3

Miles to go: 1080

Ahhhh...sunshine! Amazing what a couple of hours sleep can do for a body. I woke refreshed from a solid 3 hour nap and David, on his off-watch, did the same. The seasickness has passed and there were scrambled eggs and toast on the breakfast menu this morning. The passage soup went overboard. The bright sunshine does wonders for our demeanors. We've shed our first layer of clothes...our weather jackets aren't necessary in the cockpit, at least during the day.

We've seen a few birds ...a pair of gannets, some petrels and shearwaters and one fine albatross that swoops down to check us out every once in awhile. No dolphins, no whales, no flying fish...yet.

The wind has maintained at about 12-15 knots with 1-2 meter (3-6') seas..a few gusts into the 20s, but nothing uncomfortable. We're moving along at 5.5 knots on average and could probably eke out another half knot if we wanted to shake out a reef, but we're not in any hurry. Maybe later. Despite the cold, rocky start, it's good to be back on the sea again. Now that we can read again, the watches pass more quickly.

By mid-afternoon, a blanket of dense grey clouds obliterated the sun, and we were back to a bleak, overcast sky. We think the cold African coast waters meeting with the subtropical warmer waters might be responsible or ... it's just South Atlantic weather this time of year.

Day 4

Miles to go: 956

Rain? We haven't seen rain since we left Cape Town and it kind of surprised me. I scurried to get everything below before it got wet, but it was just a quick shower and it passed as suddenly as it appeared. It's been misty on and off, a nuisance when everything gets damp.

The night was another pitch black one...overcast, no moon, no stars, no light at all. David had to use a flashlight just to find the wind gen on the aft deck. On an up note, between the wind gen, the solar and the new prop gen, we haven't had to start the engine at all...a savings in diesel, engine wear and noise pollution. The solar, however, has definitely not been doing its share. We're looking for much sunnier weather in the very near future. The sun did peek out this morning briefly, but after one brilliant shine, it retreated behind a dense grey cloak of clouds, not to be seen again. Every once in awhile we spotted a small patch of blue sky, just enough to convince us that blue sky still exists above the grey.

We crossed the Tropic of Capricorn early this morning. We're officially in the tropics, but you can't prove it based on the temperature. It's still mighty chilly.

Continue on Days 5 & 6 ... bundle up!

Lüderitz to St. Helena - Days 1 & 2

st. helena 1325 nautical miles
st. helena 1325 nautical miles

Day 1

Miles to go: 1325

We got a late start because of check-out, but we were still off the mooring by 1130. The wind had lessened but it was cold. As we cast off our mooring lines, we saw our friend Andy waving goodbye. Liz sent a bon voyage SMS and Evaldine wished us a good passage on the VHF. Before we left the calm waters behind Diaz Point, we raised the main and gave Neptune his tot of rum. We were making 7 knots when we passed the last cardinal marker. The sky was clear and blue and the sun was shining.

Once outside the protection of the Point, the waves increased and so did the wind. We were on a broad reach, double-reefed with a little headsail; apparent winds were 30-35  knots. Despite the Stugeron, it didn't take long to get seasick. I heaved till there was nothing left, then heaved some more just in case a remnant of that last brotchen had hidden somewhere. My throat was raw and sore. David sent up paper towels and spearmint  gum. What else can you do?

We were dressed in layers ... t-necks, sweatshirts, fleeces, scarves, gloves, sweat pants, hats, foul weather bibs and jackets ...and we were still cold. It was the biting cold that gnaws at you, burrowing into your bones and penetrating the marrow. We were cold from the inside out. The cold ended up being more oppressive than the seasickness. During the day, it was uncomfortable, but during the wee hours of night watch, it was downright painful. On off-watch, we could snuggle into a warm bunk, but below deck was no place to be unless we were sleeping. Our only redeeming thought as we shivered? We're heading north and it'll get warmer by the day.

to st. helena map
to st. helena map

Day 2 

Miles to go: 1206

I'm dressed like a Muslim woman in a burka...only my eyes are visible and exposed to the cold. The day has been grey, bleak and overcast. The wind has lessened and the seas have calmed. The big pot of passage soup I made has gone pretty much uneaten. It's tasty enough, but our stomachs aren't craving soup at all. The captain has been eating pre-passage prepared PB & J sandwiches with mint tea and munching on coffee cake.  As for me, a cup of lemon tea and a piece of coffee cake had my stomach in knots again. I plan to live off my fat for a day or two till I'm feeling better. Don't feel bad, this will do me good!

By evening, we've begun to feel a slight change in the temperature. The bite has gone. It's still cold, but it's a bit more tolerable...less wind chill. We took 2-hour watches last night because of the cold. Tonight we're reverting to our 3-hour sched, affording the crew a bit more rest. The night is coal black. It's still moon, no stars. Even once my eyes become accustomed to the dark, I'm not able to discern the sky from the horizon. It's an eerie, discomfiting feeling.

It'll get better ... Check our Days 3 & 4 of this passage.