Monday, 23 February 2009

From mid Atlantic

We are at the end of our 1st week and in 7 days we have covered 1155 miles of our 2600 mile passage. We've had F4-6 winds and 3/4m waves and made great speed; Irony is taking it in her stride. Temp in low 20s but feels colder. The first 2/3 days we were both feeling queasy, not actually sick but I really wanted to end it all! That's gone now and we are acclimatised to the constant movement and routine of watches. It's strange never to get more than 3 hours sleep at a time and not be able to get into bed together! Nic covers 10pm-1am and 4am-7am, I do 1am-4am and 7am-10am (crossed a couple of time zones but sticking to GMT). We also try to grab a couple of extra hours during the day. Having a shower is quite a challenge when being thrown around. The advance cooking I did has kept things easy in the galley. We still are enjoying lots of Gambian fresh fruit and veg.

We've been in radio contact with the Dutch couple we met in Gambia, they are 1000 miles south of us heading for Brazil, motoring for 5 days in the doldrums and extreme heat! Every evening at 8pm we radio "Herb", an amazing guy in California who's been helping yachts with their Atlantic crossings for decades, all for free. We give him our position and weather conditions and he tells us what's ahead and can warn of possible storms and advise on avoiding them. Incredible we can be in contact with land all the way out here.

We've had a few dramas...the vang (connects boom to mast)broke off the mizzen mast. Nic had to drill out the old rivets and re-rivet it on again. I've had to stitch up the bimini which was coming apart; it's taking a few waves over the top! Yesterday am, Nic woke me up from my precious 3 hrs because the autopilot had stopped working. I had to manually steer while he replaced the fuse which had blown after a couple of big waves hit us. We're relieved it was nothing more serious and we're not faced with being at the helm day and night for the rest of the passage; the autopilot gives us a lot of freedom. Other than that our greatest hazard seems to be flying fish which are constantly bombarding the windows, decks and cockpit.

We are now making for St Lucia rather than Martinique. We need some parts and there's a duty-free chandlery there, Martinique is euro zone and will be expensive for us. The call of those pina coladas on a palm-fringed beach is getting stronger.

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Saturday, 14 February 2009


They kindly gave us another 28 day visa on Thursday, it's tempting to head back upriver but the Caribbean is calling now! Now planning to leave tomorrow or Monday. Will post our position each day on (login with boatname: Irony and password: onboard).

Wednesday, 11 February 2009


Back in Lamin

We are now back at Lamin Lodge trying to get ourselves organised before we sadly need to leave on Friday (our 28 day visa has run out too quickly!) In addition to provisioning for our Atlantic crossing we have to refuel (600 litres by jerry can) and fill up with water (in jerry cans by donkey cart from the standpipe in the village). Getting money to pay for it all is a challenge - it is only possible to get 2000 dalasi or about 60 pounds out of the bank at one go, so we have to keep feeding the card in to get bricks of money. The largest note is only 100 dalasi and fuel is 32 dalasi/litre!

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Up the river

We haven't had any internet available since we left Lamin Lodge. We have been having the most amazing time along the river - only one more croc but millions of monkeys and baboons, chimps, hippos, an enormous variety of the most spectacular birds and, unfortunately, quite a selection of insects. We are feeling very in touch with nature, both sights and sounds. More detail and pictures to follow.