Returning Home….and What We Learned

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April 27

We finished dinner underway and discuss night watch assignments. As usual, we also went thru safety measures, set up our jacklines (heavy duty straps that we can clam into if we need to go forward in the night or in rough weather) and retrieved all the safety tethers and life jackets from below. It was dark quickly, and we lost our partially full moon a few days before. It was amazing that once our eyes adjusted to the darkness…there is some light. You can actually make out the waves and some of the horizon in general. It is comforting to be able to see that there you are not headed for any unlit obstructions. Again the hours pass on watch. This time is consumed monitoring the AIS (ship identification program) , radar and visual check of 360 degrees around the boat for other vessels in the area. We also monitor the engine and direction of the wind and speed. So we keep busy enough for a few hours.

As we approach the middle of the Gulf Stream, about 2:00 or 3:00 am in the morning we find that our speed with the wind and the Gulf Stream current reaches 8 or 9 knots! This is almost twice as fast as we usually travel and we are clicking off miles like a teenager with an allowance to spend at the mall. The previous watch can’t wait to tell the oncoming watch of the ship events and speed record.

 

 

Morning mid ocean awakens us with a few more waves and action. This is nothing Lost Loon can’t handle, just a little more caution required going below. We are thankful for all the handholds that make transit forward and back non-traumatic. Hot coffee is welcome in the morning along with whatever breakfast food we are able to manage in the current seas. And at some time during late morning of fishing, reading, or resting we realize, that with the acceptable time we have made thru the Gulf Stream current, we may manage to arrive 24 hours early! Of course this also depends on the weather holding in the direction of our heading this could be possible.

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That afternoon we celebrate the Abacos trip with one last Captains hour before our last night at sea, we are about 16 hours from landfall at St Simon’s Lighthouse and we discuss the educational aspects as well as highlights of the voyage.

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In no particular order…..

When pulling the fresh Mahi out of the water, slit the gills over the water, this prevents a blood bath on board and 2 hours of scrubbing and cleaning the bright work, canvas, lines and decking

A week in the Bahamas on a sailboat is not enough. The island chain is enormous.

Two Raymarine electronics that are SUPPOSED to work together, sometimes done….Neither wants to be the repeater, they both want to be the Master…as in life.

You cant depend on the wind, you need a diesel much of the time.

Navigation by GPS is awesome, AIS is the cat’s meow to navigating at night. (When the Master and Repeater decide to work together).

How liberating it is to live on a sailboat for a week!! Yet how nice it is to set foot on a deserted beach, explore the reef and ruins left behind by so many others whose footprints have since washed away.

Captains of 1000 ft cargo ships will re-route their ship so as not to run you over. However much trouble that may be, makes me feel safer they’re watching and not napping.

The painter on the dinghy need to STAY OUT of the dinghy Mercury prop in order to maintain forward propulsion.

Night shift sailing can be the most relaxing or the most nerve wracking.

Rubber protector tips on spear guns protect you, your gear as well as the fish , if you fail to remove before shooting. Just gives the fish a headache and provides fodder for jokes months to come.

Trust your instincts, as well as the professional opinion of the paid weather routers when making the decision to cross the Gulf Stream after days of delay.

Conch bites are better than conch fritters, but never as good as lobster bites in the Bahamas.

Unfortunately small birds don’t fair too well taking a bath in soapy dishwater, the do however provide hours of entertainment when they decide to catch a ride with on your sailboat across the ocean.

You can take all the picture in the world of sunsets on the ocean, but to capture the true beauty you have to be there and experience the changing intensity of color, the taste of salt in the air and the sounds of a light breeze passing through the halyards as night begins to take hold.

Stealing a quick swim at the marina pool or in 2000 ft of ocean water after a long day of sailing can feel like heaven.

Putting up the sails and turning off the engine is …priceless.

Ham radio operators are the kindest and sweetest when you are in the middle of the ocean trying to connect with family across the miles or obtain weather information.

At 545 AM in the middle of the Atlantic Gulf Stream you can have a night sky to port with a full moon and daybreak to starboard with a sunrise. Never imagined I would ever see that.

Returning home stirs mixed emotions…Like any vacation it wouldn’t be a vacation if you weren’t returning home. We look forward to this being our routine…someday.

 

 

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The night is fraught with thunderstorms surrounding us noted on radar, that luckily never come close enough to affect our travel. We follow a few cruise ships across the Stream, then realize they We arrive at St Simon’s Inlet in Georgia at daybreak.

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We are welcomed by shrimpers and fishermen heading out to sea for a days work. We pass container ships waiting in the high seas for daylight to head into their dockage in daylight.

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It is about an hour and a half trek from open ocean to Brunswick Landing and our slip on dock 15. We arrive by 9 am as the fog and clouds are lifting. We hear calls on the radio about the unfortunate loss of life the night before during the storm we watched from a distance out at sea. It is a small fishing boat that is turned over and 3 persons are missing. It is a strange feeling to know that we have come hundreds of miles in some of the deepest ocean and lives can be lost in local shallower waters on a whim.

 

 

Our final task on arrival, aside from cleaning out the boat and making preparations to close for the season, is to contact US customs. We make a call to the local authorities who indicate that they will arrive before noon. We begin clearing off the deck, taking down sails and organizing equipment. Customs arrives in triplicate. We have the cruising paperwork and passports ready for them. They inspect the vessel and aside from giving us a lecture on not bringing back fruits and vegetables (which we originally purchased in Jupiter FL) as well as opened cheese meats, we are cleared….back in the USA

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Thanks for visiting! I love your comments! Come back soon…Lost Loon adventures continue!

One thought on “Returning Home….and What We Learned

  1. Whitney

    Nancy, Your trip sounded amazing! Dave continues to talk about doing this and just checking out and sailing the seas, so reading this makes it even more desirable! Maybe we will accompany you two one day on your travels!

    Like

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